Temple Dances

All are welcome to our 90 minute DanceWaves held on (most) Sunday mornings in the recently renovated Barn Temple at Heartward Sanctuary.

Once held at The Flowjo in Carrboro, this community has been developing this form through shared Ecstatic Dance practice since 2011.

If you’d like to be on the local email list for weekly updates, write Julia@HeartwardSanctuary.org.

We welcome absolute beginners and long-time practitioners to join us for our version of an ecstatic dance practice. Heartward Sanctuary Temple Dances begin with an opening circle to orient folks to the practice, offer a theme or intention and brief guidelines to co-create a safe and sacred space for improvisational movement. The score, or wave, is a carefully curated play-and-pray list that starts slow, builds in energy towards a peak and descends again to stillness. With no verbal guidance or conversation on the dance floor, there is abundant opportunity for presence, creativite expression and connection. After we dance, we’ll end with a closing harvest about the shared practice.

Through 13 years of continuous shared practice via Heartward Sanctuary (since 2020) and The Flowjo (our predecessor studio from 2011-2020) we have cultivated a rich depth of practice and multi-generational community.  After several pandemic transitions and displacements, our practice space has been successfully transplanted into a chapel-like, 100-year old, Quaker-built barn renovated with a sprung dance floor, and a lot of love. Since the space is subject to temperature variations, the times and dates can fluctuate a bit by the season. 

Our practice is influenced by Gabrielle Roth’s 5Rhythms, Ecstatic Dance, contact improvisation, yoga and other somatic practices. Practitioners are encouraged to welcome and follow the body’s impulses towards authentic, spontaneous expression which can conjure and express a full range of feelings from grief and anger to ecstatic joy and celebration. Ecstatic Dance can be a profound, empowering, playful and connective practice for people of ages, genders, sizes, skill levels, and backgrounds.

Please bring a water bottle and refrain from wearing scents or shoes.

Folks often stick around for shared snacks and conversation at the picnic tables.


Throughout time, humans have danced into expanded states of consciousness to connect with community, nature and the mysteries. Around the world, ecstatic dance practices have ushered people through rites of passage and supported soul-level healing at individual and collective levels. Ecstatic Dance is one of many modern conscious dance forms that reclaim this ancient, ancestral practice after centuries of suppression in many cultures. Ecstatic Dance can vary greatly depending upon region, facilitators, community and venue.


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