Cynthia Winton-Henry is co-founder of InterPlay, an international not-for-profit organization with locations in over fifty cities on five continents which teaches people to unlock the wisdom of the body through movement and creativity. She is the author of two other books. This is another volume in SkyLight Paths' The Art of Spiritual Living series.
Dancing was at the hub of life in indigenous cultures where it arose as an expression of collective spiritual life. It also plays a role in Jewish ritual and Christian tradition. Yet, according to Winton-Henry, there remains a deep distrust of the body and in dance. This is obvious in four persistent myths:
1. It's too embarrassing to dance.
2. There is no connection between dance and spirituality.
3. The body is Pandora's Box and not to be trusted.
4. Dancing isn't important.
In response to these, the author offers her own four encouragements and then writes: "Dancing activates the living waters within us. I know this from personal experience and from witnessing it. Dance can help us find God, access wisdom, and recover our souls."
Winton-Henry begins with some suggestions for preparing the body to dance along with ideas on warming up both body and soul. She then notes that dance is "pure gold, a source that prompts our dance as much as it is dancing's outcome." Movement is fun and it is an expression of the spiritual practice of play. The author shows that dancing can be a spur to both wholeness and healing in sections on dancing for restoration, dancing for stress, shadow dancing; and dancing for soul retrieval.
"Dancing for Spiritual Direction" includes exercises on dancing to be present, body-centered movement meditations, dancing with sacred texts, dancing for discernment, a Yes! dance, and a dance of longing. The last two chapters cover dancing as a communal activity and as a means of peacemaking.