The Dance of Souls is a closing ritual and ecstatic dance held at the end of the conference on Sunday afternoon. The Dance is about people bringing their focus and energies together for good intention. This modern primitive celebration is uniquely created through the energies of the voluntary participants present within a scaffolding of cross-cultural spiritual traditions that involve temporary piercing, drumming, chanting and dancing. The ritual is a closed private ceremony offering all Dance of Souls attendees the opportunity to participate in a variety of roles including pierced dancer, non-pierced dancer, drummer, etc. All activities are voluntary and there is no requirement to be pierced
This event was inspired by the work of Fakir Musafar, who from roots as a 3,000-year-old Savite Hindu practice honoring archetypes (deities), introduced the Ball Dance and Energy Pull to our Western culture in community group rituals beginning in 1998. Fakir’s first Ball Dance took place in 1987, and his first Ball Dancer was Cléo Dubois.
For a historical perspective on
the Dance of the Souls please read
the Dance Of Souls - Historical Background
Our piercers are trained to offer you a smooth experience with minimal pain. Together, both of you can decide which type of piercings, how many, and the locations of the piercings you wish to receive.
12-gauge steel hooks are placed in the upper chest and/or upper back. Dancers with hooks may choose to be tethered together in a large “energy pull” circle of other dancers, join with a smaller group or pair with another single person, dance freely, or they may simply choose to be tethered to a stationary post. Any one or all of these activities can help you achieve an altered state.
Balls and Bells
Ball Dancers may receive temporary piercings with 18-gauge needles. Monofilament is then threaded through the pierced skin and the participant may adorn their body with bells or other decorations that are brought to the dance. When dancing, the balls, bells, and other decorations tug on the flesh in a rhythmic manner and support transition to an altered state. Participants must bring their own balls, bells, or other body adornments (i.e. feathers, shells, medicine bags, lucky charms, etc.) as these items will not be provided at the event. For best results, we recommend 8 to 12 bells/balls, and that the items weigh about 1 to 3.5 ounces each (which is the weight of an egg or a lime, items that are traditionally used in the Hindu Thaipusam festival). Dancers with decorations are free to dance about the ceremony and are not tethered to other dancers.
Every Dance of Souls attendee is a participant in the ritual whether you choose to be pierced or not, but any additional participation is voluntary. Non-pierced participants are integral to the success of the Dance and we encourage you to make an active contribution. Participation can be achieved by simply being present and holding space for the dancers or piercees, by engaging the pierced dancers, or by providing spiritual support with prayers or chanting. All participants, pierced or not, are welcome to accompany the professional drummers with their own instruments. Drums, rattles, flutes, and zills are common.
WHAT TO WEAR
We suggest that you wear loose-fitting clothes. During the Dance itself you may want to wear a colorful sarong, wrap pants, or a belly dance skirt. Some dancers have enjoyed adding body paint. Nudity inside the Dance space is also fine, but please bring a public-suitable covering in case you must leave the space for any reason. Please keep in mind if you go outside or any other public area which is outside of the event curtains all piercings and hooks must be covered.
WHAT TO BRING
- A SMALL towel or cloth to sit on if you are nude. Please DO NOT use hotel towels and blankets.
- Those dancing with piercings and want weights need to bring their own: (1 ounce to 3.5 ounces each) in the form of bells* or balls with wire hangers, or fruit (such as limes) with wire hangers like the ones for Christmas tree ornaments (you may decide just before dancing how many of these you want to wear), or other such talismans or adornments.
- A bottle of water or juice and snacks. Water, fruit, and granola bars will be available.
- A SMALL personal after-care blanket. Please DO NOT use hotel towels and blankets.
- Drums and percussion items (tambourines, bells, rattles, etc.)
- Items for the Dance Altar (see next section below)
- A SMALL bag (tote bag size) in which to place all your personal effects during the dance. NOTE: Please do not bring large blankets, shoes, boots, suitcases, and other items into the dance. Space is at a premium. A bag check will be available.
There will be a non-denominational altar for all Dance Of souls participants where you can place items with a personal or spiritual meaning for the duration of the ceremony. This altar will be adorned with pictures of beloved community members, or fetishes or images representing Hindu~Jewish~ Christian~ Druid~ Buddhist~Islamic~Wiccan or other personal beliefs. You are welcome to bring something for the altar that is sacred to you or your loved ones. Please respect others’ sacred items by touching only your own belongings.
NO CELL PHONES OR PHOTOGRAPHY
CELL PHONES and PHOTOGRAPHY are prohibited in the Dance area. This will be strictly enforced and violators will be asked to leave the dance space. Attendees who use blue tooth enabled hearing aids need to contact a Journey Guide to have their phone camera lens covered with a special sticker.
EVENT TIMELINE (subject to change)
12:30 PM – 1:15 PM
All participants will be given a special wristband for entrance to the Dance. You must bring your ID and can only pick up your own wristband. Please check-in no later than 1:15.
12:30 – 1:15
Sage cleansing will be offered. No sage will be used in the Ballroom during the Dance Of Souls.
Doors open for Dance Of Souls. Use this time to place any items on the altar, and for meditation.
Doors to the Dance Of Souls closed to new entrants. All participants must be present by 1:30 pm. An opening ritual and breath cleansing will formally mark the beginning of the Dance Of Souls. This will be followed by piercing, drumming, and dance.
Closing Ritual. Piercings will be removed and cleaned on site by our trained piercers. Please do not return to your hotel room with piercings still intact.
FEES AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- $55 for all participants, pierced or non-pierced.
- Registration for the Dance is available as an optional event item through our Cognito registration system.
- Participants must pre-register for the Dance Of Souls before Registration ends on July 17th at 5:00 pm CT.
- Participants must have a Weekend Registration or a Sunday Day Pass.
For additional information or questions, please send a message through the Contact Us form.