When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.Acts 2:1-4
It is a time to rejoice before the Lord with your family and household. And don’t forget to include the local Levites, foreigners, widows, and orphans. Invite them to accompany you to the celebration at the sanctuary.Deuteronomy 16:9
This is the Festival of Summer—The Feast of Weeks associated with the circle dance, procession, and being taken over by The Holy Spirit. This is a celebration dance and trance dance.
In such festivities, we can engage in a number of group activities such as (1) Free Revelation Theatre; (2) Circle Dance; (3) Performance Spontaneously Arising in Liturgical March (PSALM); (4) Marathon @ Pentecost (see Space page).
Exercise 1: Receiving The Holy Spirit
The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.John 14:26
Gently reach upwards, as though plucking a delicate flower representing the Holy Spirit from the branches of a heavenly tree. Draw this precious gift downwards and reverently place it within oneself, symbolizing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in one’s being.
Gently stretch out your hand, sprinkled with birdseeds of love which beckons to the dove of the Holy Spirit. Welcome this dove into the embrace of your heart.
Variation: The dove is of fiery splendor, and as you grasp it, your hand trembles with its power. Carry this blazing dove and sweep it across every part of your being, setting your body alight with its purifying flame.
Softly extend your hand upward, as if to delicately harvest a ripe, golden plum that symbolizes the Holy Spirit from a branch of a plum tree from Eden. Lower this treasured offering and partake of its fruit with reverence, experiencing the Holy Spirit’s infilling as you do.
Extend your arms with a gentle and reverent motion, embracing the mist of the Holy Spirit, allowing it to permeate and be absorbed into your whole being.
The Holy Spirit here is likened to an assortment of shifting fruits. one begins by delicately harvesting a blueberry, which then transforms into a plum, smoothly transitions to an orange, followed by a grapefruit, and proceeds to a cantaloupe cradled in one arm, before evolving into a watermelon, and ultimately culminating in a large pumpkin. Absorb the big fruit into the body.
Exercise 2: Let’s Go For a Walk
We walk great passages from great passages.
Walking in The Light (1 John 1:17)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Walking in the Shadow of Death (Psalm 23:4)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Walking by Faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Walking with Beautiful Feet (Isaiah 52:7)
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.“
Following His Steps (1 Peter 2:21)
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
Walking in Love (Ephesians 5:2)
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Walking in Newness Of Life (Romans 6:4)
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Walking Humbly with God (Micah 6:8)
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Walking in Victory (2 Corinthians 2:14)
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.
Exercise 3: Freeze To The Lord
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.Psalm 46:10
When engaging in physical activity, especially rigorous, the guide may instruct that when a chime or stick is hit, the body and world immediately freeze not unlike hitting pause on a movie. In this case, when we freeze the world and ourselves over, our only thought and feelings are focused on The Lord.
This freezing is a similar concept to the cloud in the 14th c. anonymous English Christian mystic’s The Cloud of Unknowing and the dark night from the 16th c. Spanish Christian mystic John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul.
Exercise 4: Rising Up to Heaven
The exercise directly relates to an encounter with angels while dreaming. I was at a park and had spotted what at first I thought were ghosts, but upon closer inspection, I realized they were angels due to their whole body being like the iridescence of a dragonfly wing in the sun.
They had such splendor that I wished to join them yet when I walked past a certain point I was blocked due to still possessing “an ego.” Somehow, I did not care about this “ego” and shed it instantly in which case I was allowed to join them.
Then I found myself flying up with them toward a very beautiful white light. As I got closer to the light, my partner at the time woke me up very frightened. She said I had stopped breathing, though I feel I would have eventually continued breathing again, no big deal.
We can take inspiration from this experience by beginning on our back and very gradually rising up to heaven with every cell of our body. Then we are suddenly rushed back into our body. The process can begin again in a different way, such as only the arms and legs raising up to their maximum degree. Essentially, we keep repeating raising up but we do so in a different manner every time.
Exercise 5: Holding The Dove
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:5
The dove is a symbol not merely of the Holy Spirit, but also of the virtues love, peace, and purity. As one takes a gentle and measured stroll across the floor, one holds a dove tenderly near one’s heart with cupped hands.
Video Clip Example: In the Theokinesis piece A Living Sacrifice from 18:52 to 19:15, one engages in an ash walk of holding a dove near the heart and gradually extending the arms toward the people in offering.
Exercise 6: Narrow Road
Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.Matthew 7:13-14
One slowly travels along a narrow pathway that compels the body to wriggle and compress to get through it. At the path’s end lies a narrow gate. Upon passing through this gate, one will partake in the dance of redemption and liberation.
Slain in the Spirit
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 John 4
The following is spontaneous and subtle movement that is the result of being moved by the Holy Spirit. Yet though we may enter into a trance, we do not completely lose our discerning ability because the following are movements that are possible with both the Holy Spirit but also out of any negative spirit possessions. Always ask internally if it comes In The Name of Jesus or from The Holy Spirit.
Here are the potential movements: (1) vibration (micro & macro shaking); (2) sway; (3) wave; (4) twist (squirm); (5) shock (impulse, flick); (6) expansion/contraction; (7) collapse (falls, micro falls); (8) death (surrender, stillness).
Aside from these movements, fits of laughter and other foolishness may occur. We can use de/reterritorialization or water-to-wine to transform the laugh, for instance, into a silent laugh or one where only one part of the body is “laughing.”
Ripped Veil @ The Holy of Holies (Prophetic Dance)
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way opened for us through the curtain of His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.Hebrews 10: 19-22
Prophetic dance may occur when one enters the Most Holy Place, the veiled area in the heart of the Tabernacle’s inner sanctuary. With the crucifixion of Jesus, this veil was torn, granting access to all through Jesus Christ.
The felt presence of God can take the form of theophany—communication with The Father, Jesus, or angels or theorama—visions from The Father, Jesus, or angels.
This place creates mystics and visionaries. This is the realm of synchronicities or theoincidences and miracles. There is no bigger treat than to be here within such presence of God.
Honor Father & Mother
As we gather to celebrate with our family and household, what better opportune moment than to reflect on the significance of the fifth commandment—to honor our father and mother? Regardless of whether our relationship with them has been harmonious or challenging, it remains essential to pay them due respect. Even if only for the reason that their influence is already ingrained within us, we must reconcile with the circumstances that the Lord has bestowed upon us during our earthly journey.
Exercise 1: Dance Your Mother/Father
Kazuo Ohno in his famous dance My Mother danced the spirit of his mother. Likewise, dance the spirit of your mother or father.
Exercise 2: Mother/Father Role Play
One participant is selected to act as mother or father. This individual is in ash walk while the other communicates what one wants to say but via the body. Remember to cloud the body.
Love Your Neighbor
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.Matthew 18:20
We gather in love, in respect of neighbor, both local and foreigner.
Exercise 1: Dance of Neighborly Hands
Laying of hands or anointing forms a golden cord from ones hands to God to neighbor. Hands can form a gradient/synthesizer knob going from hidden skin/body heat (surface above the skin) to bone, which translates to the lack of pressure and the transition to more pressure on the body. This gradient can also be thought of as going from hidden skin → skin → fascia → muscle → bone. For obvious reasons, one must be careful with resonance at the bone touch level (deep touch).
Sign of Peace
The part of the Catholic Mass where everyone shakes each other’s hands is known as the “Sign of Peace.” It usually occurs after the Lord’s Prayer and before the Communion rite. During this time, the congregation expresses mutual peace and goodwill by exchanging a handshake or other appropriate gesture with those around them. The intent is to symbolize the peace and unity that comes from sharing in the Eucharistic celebration.
While the group walks in space, everyone shakes the hand of whoever passes. Find a group flow. Sometimes the shaking misses and people shake hands with the air. Extend the hand shaking motif to all directions and levels. Play with the qualities and speeds.
Variation: high fives which naturally will become low fives and air fives.
Between Touching and Not Touching
When interacting with a partner, one is a constantly shifting the state between touching and not touching.
Dancing To Nurturing Touch
Someone dances while one or more participants keep their hands in some nurturing places such as the heart, forehead, head, solar plexus, shoulder, neck, or spine.
Moving Other via Skin (CI Instructor Otto Akkanen’s Exercise)
With the subtle movement of the skin in some direction (think in 3d directions), the participant moves. Think of the old laptops where the mouse pointer moves by the little sensitive finger knob in the middle of the keyboard.
Pressure Against Fingers (CI Instructor Otto Akkanen’s Exercise)
This is a group exercise where people surround the center participant and place a finger on different parts of the center participant’s body. They can change the location of the finger at will. What needs to happen is that the the center participant needs to push against all the fingers at the same time.
Pressure Against Fingers Network
Inspired by the exercise before, now everyone can place fingers on anyone else forming a network where everyone must keep tension. Everyone freely changes the fingers at will.
Exercise 2: Live Statue Your Neighbor
- Ten minutes are taken for a group of artists to locate objects that resonate with them in and around the space. These objects are then put into a pile.
- The artists mold one or more neighbors into statues to venerate like saints or holy fools.
- Once the unique shapes are formed, the artists decorate the space from the objects in the pile. Don’t forget to document the final art piece.
- The sculptures then begin their performance among this scenery.
Exercise 3: Dance of Intercession
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.1 Timothy 2:1
The following are dances for intercession—prayer for others. Within the dance, the gestures of outstretched hands (orans) and flicking as if sprinkling holy water or casting seeds are potential movements.
For One(s) Absent
Prayers for others are engaged in solo, duet, or group.
For One(s) Present
One or more offer a dance of intercession to a body present. If it is a group, then the one receiving the intercession is at the center of a circle or clump. Group can engage in laying of hands/anointing.
Exercise 4: Unity Building (Mirroring)
We can mirror one another, engaging our mirror neurons. The initiator is the leader and the followers are those who mirror. The most basic mirroring exercise is to mirror each other front-to-front but there are various kinds of mirroring exercises. The mirror/reflection may be: (1) Clean; (2) Warped; (3) Broken
This is often done in improvisational dance. It is composed of a scattered group of dancers who mirror one leader in front of them. The leader is always in the front and the chest/torso is also facing the front. If the leader turns, then there may be a new leader. Also, a leader can jump to front to be the new leader.
Shifting Mirror Loop
Two or more participants begin with looping their own personal movements and then eventually come to a middle ground where they are looping the same movement in a mirroring fashion.
Strong to Weak Body
The idea behind this exercise is that there is a line of participants mirroring the individual before them, but the mirror degrades more and more the further behind the participant gets. The person at the head of the line is the creator or initiator and the mirroring gets downgraded the further down it goes, making the individual last in line the most reduced body.
World Filter Mirroring/Flocking
One can mirror and pick any number of worlds or filters to add to the ones who are copying, e.g. they are copying but as a cloud, a bird, or a clown.
Exercise 5: Unity Building (Non-Mirroring)
The following serve to link everybody together in a symbiotic relationship.
Grab your neighbor’s hands in a circle. The circle rotates, and people are free to step back, forward, and around without letting go of the hands. Knots can for with this exercise.
Puppet to Autonomous
One volunteer is blindfolded and another one or more manipulates the body of another in whichever way that resonates. The resistance of the puppet can gradually go from 0% to 100%. Once 100% is reached, this is a dance solo.
Threads of Intercession
The exercise emphasizes symbiotic relationship within the group. One long thread connects everybody together, crafting a haphazard web. Nobody breaks the thread. Each dancer has one or more threads of intercession connecting others. These are prayers for others.
The same exercise can then be repeated with imaginary thread. Move accordingly.
Everyone moves in the space. When one person stops, everyone stops, and when one person resumes moving, everybody resumes moving. A variation of this exercise which was shown by Imre van den Bosch, a site-specific theatre director and educator, is for the entire group to stop at the same time. The feat seems nearly impossible, but when the group forms a good enough connection, magic happens.
Everyone clumps together without touching. As everybody moves in the space, all the arms spread out try and touch only the empty spaces.
Front, Back, Side Following
This exercise was given in one of Özerk Sonat Pamir’s workshops which he references Anita Saij, founder of the Nordic School of Butoh. Everyone walks throughout the space and are given a series of instructions:
- Keep one person to your front at all times.
- Keep two people in your view at all times.
- Keep one person to your front and one person to your side.
- Keep one person in your view and another outside of your view.
- Other Variations can be played with.
Exercise 6: Sacred Jams
The last physical activity of a session is often a Quaker Theatre or Free Revelation Theatre where one can freely dance in front of a class audience. Anybody can enter or exit the space. Audience placement will vary.
We take inspiration from the Quakers, a lesser known Christian denomination. In a Quaker meeting, the congregation sits in silence, creating a meditative atmosphere, waiting for any moment of God to prompt them to speak (in our case, to move).
A good rule of thumb to follow for group improvisation work is to be aware of who is (1) shepherd (2) evangelist (3) follower.
The shepherd is an originator of a world. If somebody enters that same world in some way, that person is an evangelist and part of a duet. Anyone else who joins is the follower and now part of an assembly.
Marathon @ Pentacost
This is a very long (6 to 12 hours or more) dance jam led by the Spirit of God where even lunch and dinner (if happening in the day time) is incorporated into the jam as performative.
Street Preacher Resonance
The Street Preacher Resonance (SPR) The jam incorporates a street preacher. The dancer resonates with what is being spoken.
Street Intercession Dance
Street Intercession Dance (SID) is a prayer on the street and incorporates audience interaction. Can also incorporate the homeless.
Exercise 7: Seventy-Seven Times
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”Matthew 18:21-22
Is there somebody that hasn’t been forgiven yet? Dance their being. Dance any emotions that may come up. End with a dance of forgiveness.
The Spirit of God in Nature & Animals
But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.Job 12: 7-10
There are profound teachings conveyed in nature regarding God’s wisdom, power, and providence. In every living entity, we discern a trace of the divine craftsmanship. We can move beyond the superficial aspects of the natural realm and discern the profound spiritual revelations it discloses.
In our practice, we resonate with the things of nature—trees, animals, weather, all as a gift of God. We are being moved by all the endless worlds (qualias) instead of thinking we are doing the movement. All these worlds will be lovers of God, their architect.
Exercise 1: Devotional Worm
And worms have learn’d to lisp Thy Name.Issac Watts (1674-1748)
Get inspired by this Issac Watts line from this Eternal Power! hymn. Enter into a becoming-worm but one who lisps Lord Jesus Christ and reaches up with all its might in worship despite being a worm.
Exercise 2: Festival of Creation
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”Revelation 5:13
We enter into a becoming-Creation, embodying all of the animals around us that worships its Creator. How does a bear worship? A mouse? A blade of grass?