If you follow me on Social Media you will know that I love to dance. Most often with a hula hoop.
My only real training before starting to flow with a hoop 11 years ago was on countless dance floors. OK, I did wobble across a stage in pink lycra once for a Jazz Ballet concert. I still remember the costume but don’t remember a single dance move. When I picked up a hoop at age 30 I was catapulted into a world of body undulations and hip thrusting, free moving ecstatic dance.
I had heard people talk about a Kundalini Awakening. Just as they describe, the dormant serpent at the bottom of my spine was kicked into action shaking up every part of my life as I knew it, rocking my consciousness awake and my hunger for life on overdrive. Everything changed but I had no real idea of the trajectory I was being sent on at the time, I was up for anything, and that serpent energy gave me the courage. I was alive and in full power.
When I hit 40 I started to disconnect with some of that surging life force, I fell out of practice with devotional dance and let the misconception of aging take over. I felt heavy in my body, mind and heart feeling lost. You may have listened to one of my earliest podcasts called The Void, I spoke about the struggle of being in a holding pattern waiting for life to happen again. One night as I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram I saw an ad for a women’s erotic dance workshop. You know when that voice inside says “this is it” I booked it immediately. I spoke about this workshop and the magic that happened in a previous podcast called >> Trust: Where the real magic resides I expected it to be a fun weekend of booty shaking and delight, it was, and it was so very much more.
So what really happens in an erotic dance class?
If I am honest, I have been conducting my own one-woman erotic dance classes since the 80s when Madonna writhed around on a bed telling me she made it through the wilderness, somehow she made it through. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about but I had all the dance moves. Or in the 90s when Prince would sing to me through my headphones as I rolled around on the living room floor. Twenty-three positions in a one night stand. I was 15, the only positions I was interested in were job positions at the local supermarkets.
What is an erotic dance class? If you Google it you will be met with a whole range of options. Sexy pole dance, sassy striptease, risque burlesque, funky twerkshops. Yes, I said twerkshops and yes I’ve done them all. Every kind of sexy, sassy dance class, I have signed up. But the kind of erotic dance class I am talking about in this podcast is a conscious journey, not a choreography of sexy dance moves. We are talking about exploration into the light and shadows of archetypes, a melting pot of sacred sexuality, tantra and unlearning the layers of build up around the feminine and masculine energy in us all. Reclaiming our wild feminine. reconnecting with our soft maiden energy. Moving through it all.
What it is not. No, it’s not an orgy. There is generally no touching at all, maybe a grateful hug here and there or a knowing hand squeeze after eye gazing. The practice and journey are all for you, what makes it so powerful is that you are surrounded by other women who are all on their journey too but with a shared sense of presence in the room. A safe space to explore. It is also not about just getting naked and dancing around like a wild banshee, although that is totally an option if it feels like that expression is taking over.
Let’s examine the word “erotic” . Devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire. Hmmmm I had never felt sparks fly in pole dance class, performing my sexy moves up on stage in a tiny piece of lycra or in twerk class. Even though I was getting my kundalini on and igniting sensuality it often still felt surface level, I was still in my head and not attaining full embodiment. Was there something deeper that could be accessed? Of course, I had to find out.
Last year when I spontaneously signed up for a conscious dance journey, you may have heard me refer to it in previous podcasts. A weekend of erotic embodied dance with a group of divine women. To say it changed my life is an understatement. The ripple effect from that weekend shifted my relationship with myself, with others and altered my path in many ways.
Now, of course, I could have just shown up to that workshop, gone through the motions, did the activities suggested and left without much change but as with most things in life I chose to do the work, go deep and drop into the depths of the change that was facilitated. As a result of finding the courage to show up in that first workshop I have experienced some of the darkest shadows and highest highs of my life; all of them welcome and mind-blowing. It also urged me to explore the archetypes, shadows and light even more and led me to more workshops and courses that stripped back the layers. And it continues.
If you are willing to surrender to the journey of these classes here is what might happen for you:
You might fall in love with yourself
Many of the experiences that you will have in an erotic dance journey will invite you to witness yourself, all of you. You will come face to face with your shadows, your fears, the feelings you have about your body, the connection you have with your emotions, sensuality and sexuality. Pain from the past and how you truly wish to walk in this world. It all might rise up.
I know that all sounds like a big experience, and it is, but on the other side what you are likely to feel is a new sense of self, a love for your experiences and who you have become.
It was my experience dancing for myself and for the other women, being facilitated to meet new emotions and stop hiding from the old ones shifted a huge amount of physical and emotional weight for me. It is like so much of the stuff I had been holding onto, the hang-ups, the learned loathing dropped away and I was left feeling lighter, sexier and more confident in my body.
2. Others might notice a change in you
These classes reminded me how much I loved to dance for myself, for others and for pleasure. How seductive it felt to move all of my body through time and space freely. I also had a new framework to dance with moving through the archetypes. Because of all of this I reignited my devotional practices to dance, kundalini, tantra and self-pleasure. With all of these in the mix of life you cannot help but start to see physical shifts and energetic shifts. A friend told me yesterday, “I don’t know what you are doing but whatever it is keep doing it, your vibration is so high recently”
When we fall in love with ourselves and our life we inspire others to do the same, they notice changes and shifts, they see what you are doing and they want more.
Side note: sometimes others might be confused by changes. I have heard stories of partners or friends who are not so encouraging about the new changes and practices that might be ignited. In these situations, we have the opportunity to invite them to grow with us.
3. You might get turned on
Aroused. Lit up. Ignited. Provoked. Awakened. Wet. Tantalised. Yes you might feel all of these things. And not just in your body, but in your mind, your energy, your soul, your vibrations, your emotions. You might feel deeply what it truly is to be yourself, all of you. This delicious hunger for life might ripple out into other parts of you, how you speak, how you relate, how you go after what you desire in life.
4. You might ask for what you need
The examples of other women in the classes have been truly inspiring to me. I will never forget when one dancer asked for something that she needed, something that might have been seen to be interrupting or disturbing the group and the facilitator looked her in the eyes and powerfully said, “thank you for asking for what you need”
Why don’t we always ask for what we need? Too scared to speak up. Too frightened to take up space. Too worried we will be in the way of others.
This simple yet powerful interaction in one of the classes really put a spotlight on areas of my own life where I was not asking for what I needed. Asking for what we need while being conscious of our relationship to others is a courageous act, it can feel uncomfortable at times, but speaking up and being heard is a liberating experience and a powerful reminder to ourselves that we are worthy.
5. You might move through some dark times
Last year I embarked on an 8-week journey, a course exploring the feminine archetypes. Each week we would journey for 3 hours, moving through various expressions and feelings of the one archetype. The activities and work that we were asked to explore each week started bringing up serious questions in my life. Illuminating areas that had been hidden, shamed or left without care.
I often found myself processing these feelings by laying on my couch crying, texting my girlfriends in tears and deeply feeling parts of me that had been left uncovered.
This might sound like hard work but what came about from peeling back these layers was more light, more connection with my shadows and dark emotions, no more holding back and hiding all parts of me.
You might encounter new feelings about your self and others or parts of your life. The greatest help to me was to know that I could speak to friends and partners about this. Also to have the support of the other women in the classes and courses made all the difference and many of them have become like sisters to me.
6. You might do things you have never done before
When I went to my first erotic dance workshop I was nervous but also had a sense of confidence from all of the dance and movement experiences I had been through. It wasn’t the dance moves or group activities that were new to me, it was the feelings that arose from them, the deeper layers I was coming face to face with and the spectrum of emotions that I would continue to process well beyond the walls of the dance studio.
7. You might make connections you never thought possible
I remember at the end of one of the weekend workshops I attended we had to do a striptease for another woman while they witnessed us without judgment or critique, simply watching and witnessing. Then the roles were reversed. As I peeled back all of my layers nervously through dance I realized I was peeling back more than just my clothes. The stranger I danced for went on to become a huge part of my life after that weekend, we traveled to India together, experienced new ways of life and love together and showed our deepest wounds and fears. I never imagined when I walked into that space last July that my world was about to be shifted so wildly and beautifully.
Many of the women that I have met through these workshops have become incredible friends and support sisters. It is like something magical shifts when we take off our masks and become truly vulnerable.
8. You might become curious about different aspects of your life
Bringing you in touch with your feminine energy and your body’s natural wisdom you may become curious about many other aspects of life. When we are aligned with our own wellbeing and pleasure we naturally begin to seek more of that, more of what brings joy and energy to life.
Many of the women in the classes began to experiment with more healthy ways to fuel their bodies, more enjoyable self-care and self-pleasure practices, other journeys or healings that might support them, new relationships and new opportunities in life.
If this all sounds like something you might be interested in trying you could start by looking for conscious dance classes, sensual dance journeys or you may even like to dip your toes in the water with ecstatic dance or kundalini dance.
The workshops that I have most recently gone to are ShivaShakti in Byron Bay, Dancing Eros in Brisbane and other tantra dance or conscious dance journeys. I also had the pleasure of experiencing a HEartbeat workshop with Kate Shela last year, not an erotic journey but definitely a deep dive into the light and shadow through dance.
The body knows it holds wisdom, pain, trauma and love. I believe when we dance we set healing in motion.
Other podcasts I referred to in this episode:
Trust: where real magic resides >> listen here
The Void >> listen here