Since the beginning of time, people from all cultures have danced. Dancing is fun, of course, and it provides mental and physical benefits like sharpening fine and gross motor skills
and memory. But there’s more to dancing than just having a good
time. Dance is the earliest art form that allows expression beyond
rational thought. It delivers more of an embodied experience of
Spirit than either reading or speaking sacred teachings. No wonder
almost every spiritual tradition has incorporated some form of
ceremonial, sacred dance designed to bring on mystical experiences.
As an academic specializing in this topic, I coined the term
theodance to describe any dance that provides a mystical
experience, helps us realize our oneness with others and with
God, and allows us to expand our meditative practice to cocreate
our good. While dance may not be prominent in sacred texts, it is
In Christian cultures, some denominations throughout time
separated the sacred from the secular, accepting music instead of
dance. Secular dance (at nightclubs, in ballrooms, and at parties) is
fun and freeing, providing release and connection—and points to
the loss of control some Christian leaders feared.
Because of the same fears, some scholars say references to dance
were often removed in translating sacred texts. In Aramaic (which
many scholars believe is the language of the New Testament), the
Sacred mystical dance is finally
getting its due as divine.
By Carla Stalling Huntington, Ph.D.