Open the Heart through Movement and Harmony
From the beginning of time, sacred movement, song and story have brought people together as part of everyday life and life passages, and in daily renewal and meditation. Sufi Dances of Universal Peace are part of this timeless tradition. Come join us; breathe in harmony, chant the sacred phrases, move in rhythm and feel your connection with all of life.
- Fourth Friday every month
- 7:00 – 8:30 pm
- Austin State Hospital Chapel, 4110 Guadalupe Street, Austin TX 78751
- Enter at 4110 Guadalupe, follow signs to the chapel. Go right past the main building, then first left, then left into the parking lot.
No experience is necessary, and all are welcome! Dress is casual. You don’t need a partner, but bring friends.
Contact: Ata’allah Bill Meacham, (512) 291-4300, firstname.lastname@example.org
What are Sufi Dances of Universal Peace?
The Dances are an uplifting group spiritual practice to cultivate inner peace and harmony, which in turn foster outer and world peace. They are simple circle dances. We set sacred phrases from the world’s religions and spiritual traditions to music and we dance using basic folk dance movements.
As a moving meditation, or body prayer, Sufi Dances of Universal Peace reveal the unity of all spiritual experience. We gather to embody Spirit, to praise and give thanks, and to offer our prayers for Peace, Love, Harmony and Beauty.
The Dances were founded by Murshid (teacher) Samuel Lewis and are based on the teachings of Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan and dancer Ruth St. Denis. They exemplify the principle of the Unity of Religious Ideals.
The Dances are taught by a dance leader. They are easy to learn, meditative, joyous and open to all. No experience necessary! There are neither performers nor audience; old hands and new join to form the sacred circle. As Samuel Lewis, the originator of these Dances, said, “Let us eat, dance and pray together.”
Why are they called “Sufi” Dances?
The term “Sufi Dancing” was the earliest popular name for the dances known formally as “Dances of Universal Peace.” It is an appropriate term for several reasons:
- They were brought into being by a Sufi teacher, Murshid Sam Lewis.
- Murshid Sam occasionally used the term “Sufi Dancing,” although he referred to them more often as “Dances of Universal Peace.”
- Murshid Sam’s Sufi teacher was Hazrat Inayat Khan. The Inayati orders (The Inayati Order, Sufi Ruhaniat International and Sufi Movement) are unique among Sufi orders in that they are not exclusively Islamic, but honor a great many of the world’s religions. Thus the eclectic nature of the dances, that they honor many religions, is specifically Sufi in the Inayati tradition.
- Doing these dances is a Sufi practice designed to lead one to an experience of mystical unity.
Where else are they done?
All over the world! Any place you go, look around for “Dances of Universal Peace.” Regular dance meetings are listed on the Dances of Universal Peace web site (see link below).
How can I find out more?
Here are some links to more resources.
International Network for Dances of Universal Peace. Find out where Dances are held around the world.
Videos of the Dances, a large and growing collection.
Ruth St. Denis and the Dances of Universal Peace. Ruth St. Denis, noted modern dancer, was a mentor of Murshid Sam Lewis, founder of the Dances of Universal Peace.
Wahiduddin, a dancer in Colorado, has lots of information on the Dances, including some unpublished dances, photos of dance camps, and downloadable audio files. Scroll down to the bottom of the menu on left.
ONEness Project, in Montana, is a foundation dedicated to the Dances of Universal Peace.