Christianity shares a long history of dance: with Judaism most closely, but also with other religions. From the beginning of time, sacred movement, song and story have brought people together – at times of seasonal ceremony and celebration, as part of everyday life, in rites-of passage, in daily renewal and meditation. The Dances of Universal Peace are part of this long tradition. They provide a joyful, multi-cultural way to touch the spiritual essence within ourselves and others.
Across the world these dances are offered in a variety of ways, such as ongoing evening sessions, day workshops, longer residential retreats, and dance camps. They are used in churches and other places of worship in other faith-traditions, schools, colleges, prisons, hospices, residential homes for those with special needs, in holistic health centres, and many other places. The Dances can also be part of life celebrations such as weddings and burials, peace gatherings, healing rituals, earth caring, and ecumenical worship.
Here at Cowley St John the dances are danced on the third Saturday of the month (from 2pm to 4pm) in the Church of St Alban the Martyr. New people are always welcome. The dances and singing are simple and repetitive. There are no prima donnas in such groups – just ordinary people enjoying the good things which unite us in our community in East Oxford and across the world. There are refreshments as we gather, and half way through. The pace is gentle, meditative and supportive.
For the history and philosophy/theology of the dances and for more information on the dances at a national level see: dancesofuniversalpeace.org.uk