Circle dancing can be enjoyed as an uplifting group experience in its own right, or as part of meditation and prayer celebrations. It is a way to experience a fuller spiritual connection with others in the deeper meaning of the event being celebrated. Music, rhythm instruments or singing are all appropriate accompaniments.
I have choreographed these circle dances (the main instruction with variations) so the action changes every 16 counts. The number of counts can be adapted to the music or song used, to coincide with the end of a phrase. No dance or musical training is necessary; loose clothing is best and shoes are okay.
To begin, participants stand shoulder to shoulder, about 2 feet (60cm) apart, facing center, in a large circle.
A. All join hands - right hand up to receive the group energy, left hand down to pass it on. Counts 1, 2, swing arms up in front. Counts 3, 4, swing arms back down and slightly back. Repeat this sequence for counts 5 - 16. When arms swing forward look up, and look down as arms come down. While facing in and rocking arms up and back it is easier to balance if one foot is placed about one step in front of the other (as in the sculpture at right).
B. Still holding hands turn to the right slightly so all are facing someone’s back and move in a counter-clockwise circle for 16 counts. Step first on the right foot and bend just the right knee every time for accent.
C. Repeat B. except turn left to face the back of your neighbor and move the 16 counts in a clockwise direction leading with the left foot and the left leg doing the knee bend for accent.
D. Repeat A.
Repeat the sequences as often as desired to fit the music or song.
A nice ending is to stay in the circle, facing in, still holding hands for a few moments while enjoying the after-tones and group communion.
E. As a substitute for A. Hold hands and raise arms while walking forward to the center 4 counts; still holding hands and lowering arms walk backward 4 counts. Repeat sequence to equal 16 counts.
F. As a substitute for B. - continue to face center, holding hands, while moving to the right in a counter-clockwise direction. Count 1. right foot steps or slides to right side with a bent knee. Count 2. left foot takes a step or slides to meet it and both legs straighten. Continue in this way for the remainder of the 16 counts.
G. As a substitute for C. - continue to face center, holding hands, while moving to the left in a clockwise direction. Count 1. left foot steps or slides to left side with a bent knee. Count 2. right foot takes a step or slides to meet it and both legs straighten. Continue in this way for the remainder of the 16 counts.
The song “Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin With Me” by Sy Miller and Bill Jackson works well with the circle dance.
Music, song and dance are opportunities to express joy; their spirited expressions energizing body, mind and soul - truly meditation in action!
Article and photo credit in Emmen, The Netherlands - Susan Helene Kramer
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For offline reading
Meditation for Teens and Adults
More than 70 offerings, from guided meditation techniques to on-the-go stress relief and relationship meditations interspersed with verse, and a section of special occasion prayers. 114 pages.
Meditation for all Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.