The restorative effects of ecstatic dance : a qualitative study

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Rooke, Jacques
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Research has acknowledged in recent years that health is not only the non-existence of sickness, but also a state of complete physical, emotional and social well-being. This has led to an increasing awareness of the role that dance plays as a potential means to restore individual well-being and health (Murcia, Kreutz, Clift & Bongard, 2010). This study attempted to explore the restorative effects of ecstatic dance by examining whether ecstatic dance enthusiasts experience emotional, physical, social and spiritual benefits through ecstatic dance in Ireland. By applying a qualitative research approach, a sample of six desirable participants partook in semi-structured interviews and the data was analysed using thematic analysis. The information obtained was interpreted and discussed with conclusions accordingly formed. The outcomes inferred that participants benefitted greatly from ecstatic dance as a form of communication, a coping strategy and as a spiritual practice. Ecstatic dance was also valued in terms of connection; not only in the dimension of connecting with others but also in terms of giving dancers the space to connect with their emotions. The widespread impact of stress was a factor that was highlighted by participants. It was gathered that the meditative effects of ecstatic dance hold a high value in restoring and creating serenity. The conclusion was drawn that ecstatic dance plays a significant and a restorative role in the lives of people who practice ecstatic dance in Ireland. Author keywords: Ecstatic dance, restorative, transformation, spirituality