Elements of Mastery
Learning to lead the Dances involves much more than simply getting to know their movements and melodies. This may be the starting point, but there is much more to be experienced and assimilated before one can masterfully lead Dances from this body of work.
As prospective dance leaders we all begin with strengths and opportunities for growth. We manifest mastery in dance leading by devoting ourselves to this path and effacing ourselves in the Dances and their associated practices … and by study. There is no end to this process.
The Elements of Mastery listed here can be studied in depth to further one’s development as a dance leader and mentor. The descriptions offered only begin to touch on these topics. Nor is this a linear process. These foundation elements are developed simultaneously, rather than sequentially, with each both standing alone and informing the others. All mentored leaders are invited to participate in an exploration that goes far beyond what is alluded to here. References are given throughout for deeper study and practice.
The Dance Lineage
The Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Concentrations were birthed through the being of Samuel Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti or Murshid SAM), who became the Spiritual Director of the Sufi Ruhaniat International. He taught and transmitted direct experience of the Divine as manifest through all the qualities, the Beautiful Names of God. The Dances and Walks came to him in dreams and visions, and moments of synthesized inspiration, as a way to transmit and embody direct spiritual experience.
Murshid Samuel Lewis, whose root teacher was Sufi mystic Hazrat Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan, was also a student of several other spiritual teachers and mentors. They include Swami (Papa) Ramdas, Mother Krishnabai, Roshi Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth St. Denis. These beings form the living strand of the Dance lineage.
Murshid Wali Ali Meyer tells us that Murshid SAM consciously transmitted his spiritual awakening in how he conveyed the Dances and Walks to others. Murshid SAM trained his students to follow in his footsteps after he left the body, and to continue this transmission of blessing. He would tell those whom he had empowered as teachers of the Dances and Walks that before the meeting they should simply remember his presence and his energy, and then come from the same place. This ever-present lineage stream has enabled the Dances and Walking Concentrations to carry his living blessing, and to be precious vehicles for spiritual realization.
In a sacred apprenticeship relationship, self-discipline, consistency, willing surrender and service are the key themes and prove the existence of genuine growth, attainment and ultimately the ability to carry the magnetic-love current called transmission or lineage in various traditions. … The “source” in the area of the Dances and Walks, is ultimately the heart of God. The essential nexus or connection to it [this heart] is the being of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis and his successors in this line. There is no transmission in this area without a genuine connection to this being, …albeit his personality … is only a doorway to an attunement with his ongoing, living presence… Ultimately organizations do not and cannot hold spiritual authority for a transmission; only human beings can, and do. This is a consistent theme of Murshid Samuel Lewis’ writings and life. (Saadi Shakur Chishti, 1)
The transmission of the Dance and Walks lineage is entrusted to a Guidance Council, a Mentors Guild, and a Leaders Guild, with the Pir of the Sufi Ruhaniat International serving as Spiritual Guide. Great care is taken in the training and mentoring of Dance leaders so that the blessing stream of the Dances of Universal Peace that originated with Murshid SAM continues to spread around the world, hand to hand, heart to heart.
Today the teacher brings living presence into the midst of disciples. The Teacher animates them with spiritual fervor. They are drawn to the Teacher and to one another by sacred love. They become a compact unit, which can and should act as a unit in all things. This is the ideal pattern after which other lesser patterns have been made. And it is thus that Hierarchy operates upon the planes above and below, with the seen and unseen beings. (Samuel L. Lewis, 2)
Experience, Assimilation, Transmission
For leaders of the Dances and Walks it is essential to develop an attunement to the blessing stream of Murshid SAM. His Original Dances (see Foundation Dances and Walks Manual) are one of the cornerstones on the road to mastery. His writings are a profound source of inspiration and wisdom. Walking in the footsteps of experienced Dance and Walks teachers is an intrinsic element towards deepening in this attunement.
We can only share with others what we have experienced and mastered in ourselves. If we assimilate what we have experienced and begin to transmit from our own understanding and realization, we will develop our own, authentic style. Dance as often as possible. Work with accomplished teachers who are attuned to this spiritual stream. Develop your inner connection to the living blessing stream of this lineage. Trust your own experience.
We have these words in the prayers. We have these teachings in the literature. But we do not always have accomplishments. There is a procession of spiritual vitality, passed from soul to soul, so to speak, in what may be called dharma transmission on one hand and procession of Baraka [blessing] on the other. (Samuel L. Lewis, 3)
So the Walks become a world, a realm unto themselves. They offer us a whole course in spiritual development: concentration, breath practice, centering, self-effacement, attunement and devotion, which is the whole picture of a path. (Wali Ali Meyer, 4)
The Walking Concentrations are a form of potent spiritual practice in motion. Spiritual practices which previously have been done in static meditative postures were transformed by Murshid SAM into embodied walking practices. They are practices of concentration, self-mastery and realization.
The Element Walks are practices working with the elements, Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether. Center Walks focus on the energetic centers of the body: Feet, Hara, Heart, Third Eye, and Crown. The Planetary Walks use the language of astrology to develop the capacity to tap into various aspects of our intrinsic energy body. The different walks, breath and spins attune one to the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. An advanced practice includes walking combinations of the planets, which may specifically unfold one’s personal walks (i.e., Karma and Dharma walks). Divine Attribute (Wazifa) Walks are walking practices and body prayers that invoke and embody the Divine qualities of the One Being (the 99 Beautiful Names of The One). Tasawwuri Walks are attunement and embodiment practices in which one literally imagines the teacher or realized being in front of or within one as one moves and breathes. (See Foundation Dances and Walks Manual.)
Mastery of these Walks aids in the development of the whole personality. They are practices that help develop the ability to master internal energy and to shift consciously between various energetic states. While it is not essential that one regularly lead the Walks with others, it is essential for development as a dance leader that one master them in one’s own being.
The breath can be used inwardly in meditation and outwardly in the walk and dance. It becomes the channel for blessings, and all the forms of magnetism discussed in the teachings. (Samuel L. Lewis, 5)
Rhythm is the principal thing to be considered in breath, as it is on the rhythm of the breath that the working of the whole mechanism depends, and the chief reason of irregularity of the beats of the heart or head is lack of rhythm in the breath. (Inayat Khan, 6)
Breath is not to be confused with air. Develop awareness of the breath as energy, as life force itself. The breath is the channel for many kinds of magnetism. Increase your understanding of the breathing process and how it affects everything you do.
Simple rhythmic breathing, with balanced inhalation and exhalation, is the basis of all development. Watch the breath and learn from it. Develop awareness and control of the flow of breath. Practice rhythmic breathing and the Element Purification Breaths (see Foundation Dances and Walks Manual). Refine your breath. Breathe the sacred phrases of the Dance in rhythm. Tune yourself to the swirling and flow of the breath of the whole dance circle dancing “On the breath!”
One cannot lack energy and magnetism if one’s breath is full of energy. Therefore, before developing any other means of healing, the power of the breath should first be developed. (Inayat Khan, 7)
Those who have found [their] center of being in the heart obtain the most joy in dancing. (Samuel L. Lewis, 8)
The heart is more than simply a physical organ. Mystics and some scientists maintain that the heart is a sensory organ and a sophisticated center for receiving and processing information. The heart generates the body’s most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field. Through the heart one can develop and refine one’s feelings, intuition and will.
When you sing, feel the sound resonate in the heart. As you breathe in rhythm, feel the awareness in the heart. Breathe sacred phrases with the concentration in the heart, for instance “Bismillah” or “Toward the One.” Walk with concentration on the heart center. As you dance, center your awareness in the heart. Notice the effects in your being of all these practices. Notice the differences in feeling when you do not focus in the heart.
Erasing each undesirable impression from the heart in time enables one to purify one’s heart, “to polish the rust from the heart,” as the Sufis say. The heart can become a clear mirror for reflectivity of the Divine Essence. In this line of development one is awakening one’s own heart and awakening the hearts of others.
The first and last instruction for the spiritual guidance of dancers is that they find the center of their own being. This is in the heart, but as has been explained, this heart is really much greater than the physical heart. The dancer can benefit greatly by concentrating upon this heart center in all aspects. For instance, there is the physical aspect of regarding the heart as the center of gravity in movement. There is another physical aspect of regarding heart as above the center of gravity and using it as a center of attraction to elevate one. There is the use of heart as center of feeling, and most of all, as center for intelligence. (Samuel L. Lewis, 9)
The watcher is the prayerful devotee, but the dancer becomes divine. (Samuel L. Lewis, 10)
The Dances are meditation in action. The discursive mind is not involved. We may rest in pure awareness and sense what is actually taking place. How is our breath moving and how is our body moving? What is being expressed through our movements? Do our movements become more refined? Do our mudras (arm and hand postures) feel expressive of devotion? This is an opportunity for self-witnessing and self-awareness. How do we bring devotion and wisdom into form?
The Dances and Walks make possible the embodiment of spiritual states and spiritual blessings. Feel and embody Joy … radiate this out to the whole dance circle. Feel and embody Peace … radiate this to the dance circle. Feel and embody Mary, Quan Yin, Tara, Krishna, Rama, Moses, Murshid SAM, Hazrat Inayat Khan -- or another being or teacher to whom you feel an attunement. As a dance leader one needs to learn how to shift effortlessly between such states and, through one’s own embodiment, create the space for the dancers in the circle to enter through those doors. Allow yourself to be a channel for the bestowing of blessings.
Rhythm is of utmost importance in our lives. It is born of the earth and brings us the strength and qualities of earth. It characterizes our respiratory and circulatory systems which respectively bring and hold vibrations and forces from the external world, perhaps from the internal world also. When there is defect in rhythm, there is a lack of balance, and then, whatever movements we may indulge in, produce loss of psychic power. (Samuel L. Lewis, 11)
To regulate rhythm one must first understand rhythm. We make use of music and dancing and breathing exercises for this purpose. (Samuel L. Lewis, 12)
Life itself is based on natural rhythms. For a dance leader a good sense of rhythm is an essential prerequisite. Learn to cultivate rhythm in all aspects of one’s life … in one’s spiritual practice, in one’s daily habits, between activity and repose. In the activity of one’s mind, in the Walk and in the Dance learn to unite thought, feeling in the heart, and body movement. Especially develop rhythm in one’s breath. Developing rhythm and balance in the breath may be the starting point. Maintaining this balanced rhythm under all circumstances is the goal.
The work that a Sufi considers his or her sacred work has nothing to do with any particular creed nor with any particular religion; it is only this simple thing which I have just said: to be in rhythm with life’s conditions and to be in tune with the infinite. (Inayat Khan, 13)
The voice has all the magnetism which an instrument lacks; for voice is nature’s ideal instrument, upon which all other instruments of the world are modeled. (Inayat Khan, 14)
So from heart-cultivation is life-cultivation, and what is voice? Voice is expression of life, and the more life one has the more variable the quantitative and qualitative aspects of voice, the more word-control, breath-control and self-control. Then one can use voice; one can employ sound for the fulfillment of life’s purpose and for the expression of the divinity from within. (Samuel L. Lewis, 15)
The articulation of the sacred phrase with the voice is a primary component of the Dances. Voice is breath amplified. The voice is the indicator of one’s inner weather. At the very least, as a dance leader one needs to have or develop the ability to sing in tune and to hold a tune on one’s own.
Spiritualize the voice. Place the voice in the heart. Develop the tone of voice. Round off the rough edges of the voice. Feel the vitality. Deepen the resonance. Explore the various qualities of the voice, Jelal (power) and Jemal (beauty). Rediscover the natural voice. Through regular practice one’s voice will evolve.
When one sings and thinks of what [one] is singing, be it a single note, [one] can hold it much longer. Then [one] can put power and magnetism into it, convey [one’s] sentiments thereupon and not be so fatigued. (Samuel L. Lewis, 16)
Magnetism and Atmosphere
The great work of the initiates henceforth will be to spread Baraka [spiritual magnetism]. By so doing they will purify the general atmosphere, and by that the Message which belongs to the sphere itself will gradually touch the hearts and minds of all who pass through it, who breathe the air or go to the places where the seeds of Baraka have been sown. Thus is the selfless propagation of the Message. (Samuel L. Lewis, 17)
The Dances can create sacred atmosphere wherever and whenever they are done. The whole atmosphere can become charged with magnetism. As a dance leader one is the conduit for that magnetism. Learn to develop magnetism in your being. Through your breath and heart become a channel for baraka, that love-magnetism-blessing power.
Magnetism is also in a sense a giving of permission to dancers to experience the Dances with one's entire being. Through the radiance of the breath and heart to the whole circle one creates the optimum conditions for spiritual experience. It also involves the principles of attraction. The resonant heart is able to tune others to the same frequencies.
Creating sacred atmosphere is a tuning of the space, a weaving of all the elements present. That one dances is important, but so is where one dances. Learn to clear the space before you start if it is necessary. Some dance spaces lend themselves immediately to the dance experience; in other spaces one has to work at it. Clear the inner space and attune to your guidance and your teachers. If you are distracted or not in full health this will be felt at some level by the whole circle.
We are finding that repeating the Names of God, whether referring to essence (Zat) or attributes (Sifat) becomes most helpful. The devotees who repeat these names find changes going on in themselves, they begin to realize the divine attributes, they become absorbed in the attributes and in the blessings thereof and from this comes an ever increasing magnetism at all levels. (Samuel L. Lewis and Moineddin Jablonski, 18)
In spiritual concentration, the whole consciousness is focused upon heart that it may be awakened and its living qualities flood the personality. (Samuel L. Lewis, 19)
Some form of training in concentration practice will develop the ability to stay focused and centered under any and all circumstances one might encounter in the dance circle. The secret of concentration is in having steadiness of mind and the development of relaxed focus. Develop the ability to focus your energies fully on the activity in the moment to the exclusion of everything else.
Practice of Fikr [a sufi practice, breathing sacred phrases in rhythm with the natural movement of the breath] is of great assistance to concentration. Also to keep the heart and mind on “Toward the One” with each inhalation and exhalation (Darood). This should be continued until all inhalations are equal and all exhalations are equal and there is a balance between inhalation and exhalation. Although this seems very simple it is one of the most important factors in the process of concentration and its very simplicity often causes it to be overlooked. (Samuel L. Lewis, 20)
In the terms of Vedanta, life is likened to the sea, where there is a continual rising and falling of the waves. Every man by nature seeks peace and in peace alone is his satisfaction. But often he seeks it wrongly, therefore instead of producing peace he creates more struggle in life. (Inayat Khan, 21)
Meditation stills the mind and helps one build capacity. When one dwells in awareness, one can begin to distinguish the difference between thoughts and the process of thinking … not trying to stop the natural process of thinking, but able to lay aside the content. Gradually, one learns to determine what actions are valuable and important, purposeful and beneficial. Mastery of self in repose can lead to mastery of self in action.
Choose a practice that works for you and study with an accomplished teacher. Development of the inner life will enhance one’s dance leading capacity significantly.
The basic purpose of spiritual training is to free the individual from this self-created “self,” so to speak, and let them live as a God-created “self,” which was the intention of creation. (Samuel L. Lewis, 22)
Open our hearts that we may hear Thy voice which constantly cometh from within. (Inayat Khan, 23)
Create the conditions in your life for outer silence and cultivate inner silence. Can we find space between the thoughts? Can we enter into the world of direct experience, rather than being distracted by the stories we tell ourselves about our experience? Dwell in pure presence. Savor the silence at the end of a Dance.
Peace is the positive condition under which life can be experienced without discord. There are two aspects of it, the silent life and the life of activity. These conditions are not so opposite but are the reverse of each other like the inside and outside of a bag. One can look into the kaleidoscope and see forms and movements and activities and not be affected by them. So is the silent life, one in which one sees all the life within and yet is not affected by it (Samuel L. Lewis, 24)
Attunement – Tasawwuri, Fana, Effacement
So by attunement one learns to walk like the teacher, to obtain his or her rhythms and then to apply them otherwise. But this takes away neither freedom of mind or of spirit. On the contrary it adds to them. One becomes a living light, not a mere shadow. It may look like imitation but this is just the winding. And in that way the spirit of the teacher may work through the disciples. (Samuel L. Lewis, 25)
The willingness and ability to attune and surrender to the blessing transmitted through the Dances is the single most important aspect of dance leading. Ultimately, most mentors regard this as the ability to efface one’s ego-personality (even, and especially, when the personality is still present) in order to let grace flow through. It cannot be over emphasized that when working with the Dances “externally” they will have “internal” effects.
Devotion and pristine attunement with transparent ego will transmit an experience beyond small variations of form. (Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz, 26)
The science and art of tasawwuri is to enable the devotee to follow a course of elevation and nobility established by the illuminated souls who form the embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance. This refers alike to personalities on earth and to personalities who have left this sphere. The greater the evolution of a [person], the greater [their] ability to impress the atmosphere and surroundings where [they] have lived. (Samuel L. Lewis, 27)
The science that existed in the time of the ancient Vedas was the science of the elements. The five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) are constantly working in nature, and in every person one element is especially dominant.
The Element Breaths and Walks (see Foundation Dances and Walks Manual) help us to cultivate an embodied understanding of the influence of the elements in our being. There are many aspects to be considered (such as the sound, color and vibration of each element). We are shown their nature by attuning to the elements with breath, movement, rhythm, and direction. The quality of Earth is to spread out in every direction, covering surface. The nature of Water is to flow downward, around all obstacles. Fire rises and excites. Air is a zigzag direction in its flow. Ether is no particular form; all forms originate from it and return to it. (For further details see Inayat Khan, 28)
Through the Element Breaths and movement concentrations, we awaken to an understanding of the corresponding influences in our being and on consciousness, energy and life itself. This teaches us the ability to intentionally move from state to state, rather than being unconsciously impacted by the energies of the elements.
Through our conscious experience of the Element Breaths we become aware of which elements dominate at different times and how this affects the way we feel, act and lead. We also begin to notice this in others. A deeper dimension is added to our dance leading when there is awareness of the element(s) that may be predominant in us in a given moment, and how the different elements manifest in the Dances and in the dance circle.
The concentration and practice of the
these elements is of tremendous value in the training of body,
and mind. When mysticism is taught as a science, as the
Sufis would have it, the student learns to employ these elements
and thus one perfects one’s own nature and helps others.
(Samuel L. Lewis, 29)
Making a commitment to dance leading and deepening in one’s spiritual path naturally includes the refinement in one’s ego personality … cultivating emotional balance and developing any missing interpersonal skills. Shadow potentials in one’s self and others must be understood and acknowledged. A dance leader needs to be able to be skillful when natural sensual energies arise, and know how to mediate when tensions are present in the dance circle.
Mastery in any field needs persistence in overcoming rejection and setbacks. Develop the necessary self-confidence and self-reliance to persevere.
Enjoy the journey!
Working with Energy
There are two aspects to be considered in the study of electricity: capacity and potential. Capacity is the ability of a container to receive energy, and potential is the ability of a conductor to carry it. These same two principles appear in the human body.
Capacity is increased by meditation and, in general, by heart action, by maintaining the rhythm of the heart-beat, by feeling the consciousness in the heart, by directing all activity from the center to the circumference and by maintaining unity in feeling, thought and action. It is connected with inspiration.
Corresponding to electrical potential or motive power is what the mystics also call power. This arises from the control of the breath and the ability to apply and utilize the breath. All the mysteries arise from these subjects. (Samuel L. Lewis, 30)
There is an ocean of breath in which we live and move and have our being. Through the Dances we create certain patterns of energy. Life energy comes to us and through us all as we dance. The skilled dance leader can learn to weave this energy for the upliftment of everyone in the circle, through intuition, increasing refinement of one’s own breath, and listening to the Spirit of Guidance.
We live and move in a realm of psychic forces, and they move in and through us. The aura changes in size and luminescence according to our emotional condition. It appears to react to other influences and to expand in moments of exaltation … and cosmic love. Indeed as our outlook expands, so does it expand. When we fall into self-pity, it contracts. As our thoughts tend toward the earth, it [the aura] assumes one colour, and as they rise toward heaven, it takes on another colour. Emotions also affect its hues.
The aura is not developed by direct means. It follows us, not we it. As we change physically, emotionally, mentally, morally, or spiritually it becomes altered. When our development attains to a certain height, it becomes as a lamp of pure light. Then even a sensitive will recognize it. And many who are not clairvoyant can, in a sense, feel a developed aura. (Samuel L. Lewis, 31)
[K]nowledge of the emotions is most valuable; and if [one] controls and directs the emotions through the breath and thought, [one] becomes able to convey life itself through music. … [One] benefits most by feeling the life within the heart; and [one] can also gain by some proper mystical training in singing and dancing. The ability to concentrate, the faculty of feeling and the knowledge of sound vibrations are all most valuable... (Samuel L. Lewis, 32)
Instrumental accompaniment is not essential to the Dances and indeed some Dances may work better without it. Yet instruments such as guitar and drum can create the rhythmic and melodic foundation for a Dance and help hold together the different components of a Dance.
To play for the Dances, it's helpful to distinguish between the outer techniques of playing the instruments (different rhythms, notes, scales, chords) and the inner techniques of attunement (concentration on the sacred phrase, listening, focusing on the breath and heart, being mindful of the energy of the circle).
Dance musicians who are called to cultivate and participate in this concentration more deeply are invited to take a mentor for that purpose. This is a "walking with path". In this case the mentoring process focuses on deepening in dance musicianship and attunement rather than dance leadership, and does not necessarily lead to certification.
A [guitar] player, for instance, in addition to becoming acquainted with all the complications and nuances of style, melody and rhythm, must also acquire the psychic power in [the] fingertips and [the] hands and also feel a close attunement to the instrument as if the instrument were to become part of [one's] very being, so to speak. (Samuel L. Lewis, 33)
Working with Musicians
Ideally, dance musicians will have experienced dancing the Dances before they begin playing for them. Dance musicians serve the Dances. Choose your musicians carefully. They are asked to set aside personal styles of playing that draw attention to themselves, and that end up wandering from the heart of the Dance.
Musicians should emphatically resist going off on their own. The sacred phrase must be uppermost in their concentration. The music should accentuate the natural rhythm of the sacred phrase. (Wali Ali Meyer, 34)
The choice of musical instruments beyond the guitar (for melody) and the drum (for rhythm) may enhance or detract from the integrity or experience of the Dance. These are considerations that the Dance leader works out with their musicians.
Dance leaders need to develop rapport with their musicians. Leaders expect musicians to focus their attention on the Dance and attune to them. Be clear with your musicians. Instruct them to watch your feet; coach them in the different dynamics of a Dance; have them watch and listen to you for directions, including non-verbal cues. Leaders may want to include their musicians in practice sessions with them, especially in the beginning stages of playing for the Dances. This is beneficial for the new Dance musician who is learning to be attentive to the leader, become more familiar with Dances, and be present in “heart space” when playing for the Dances.
Group Facilitation Skills and Leadership Qualities
When leading the Dances one leads a group of people. Learn to communicate clearly and effectively. Be polite and considerate to everyone. Put people at ease. People in the group will notice if you are coming from the heart or the head. Be authentically yourself. Notice how the group responds. Notice whether you are reaching the group.
The Dances are a form of experiential learning. Develop an understanding of group dynamics. Learn to guide the group process. Watch the group synergy. In the first few Dances of a session see, hear and feel where people are. Are they in their bodies? Are they fully present? Do they move in rhythm? Are they singing fully? Are the voices coming from the heart? Are they open or closed to each other? Do people listen? Are they attuned to you?
Effective leadership is about service, not status. Leadership is inspiring people to willingly do what you ask them to do. Development of such qualities as integrity, wisdom, openness, assertiveness, fairness, sense of humor, vision, dedication can help one in this role. Put the ego to one side, but at the same time allow yourself to become a strong leader.
A Leader should lead. By that I don’t mean that he or she should necessarily say something profound, I mean that the leader should be in a positive state of heart magnetism and transmit this power without a lot of self-consciousness and in a voice that is sun like. (Wali Ali Meyer, 35)
Knowledge, Experience and Understanding of a Variety of Spiritual Traditions
Whatever their faith, the wise have always been able to meet each other beyond those boundaries of external forms and conventions which are natural and necessary to human life but which none the less separate humanity. (Samuel L. Lewis, 36)
Murshid Samuel Lewis studied and gained realization in a number of different paths including, Sufism, Zen Buddhism, Bhakti Yoga, Jewish and Christian Mysticism. As a result of this lifelong exploration he offered the Dances as a way for others to taste the universality of spiritual experience.
Your roots will perhaps be in one spiritual tradition of the many streams, but ideally you will have direct experience and knowledge of a number of the major paths. Studying the different spiritual traditions is key to developing breadth and depth in the Dance work, but all doesn’t come from books or the Internet. Make connections with practitioners of various traditions in your area. Experience for yourself the sacred in a variety of forms. Create opportunities to join in the spiritual practices and ceremonies of different spiritual streams, and experience their way of doing things.