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Article: Early look at Ecstatic Dance Oakland and Berkeley Dances

Article: Early look at Ecstatic Dance Oakland and Berkeley Dances circa 2012

As a barefoot freestyle ecstatic jam modern ballesque dancer, here are some random thoughts about:

Personal and Dance Space: Ecstatic Dance Oakland Wednesday and Dance Jam Berkeley are now so full you have a minimum of personal space. Boogie still has the “BEST Movement Space per Dancer“. If you’re a dancer of motion, this is a pretty important factor.  

Now in 2015 two more studios have been added to BEST Movement Space per Dancer:
  1. Dance Medicine San Geronimo Thursday evenings
  2. Dance Jam Pacific Grove Friday evenings
  3. Barefoot Boogie Berkeley Sunday evenings
Socializing: Dance Jam, now Dance Journey is the most social. Many people go there to meet other people. Ecstatic Dance is less social than Jam. But Barefoot Boogie is pretty much “just Dancers Dancing”. Again, Boogie has the “BEST Dancers who Dance ratio“. If you’re a dancer of motion, dance partners is also pretty important factor.   

Dance as Temple, Body as Temple: However, the “Tribal Community” thrives at Ecstatic Dance Wednesdays and Oakland Ecstatic Dance on Sundays. Ecstatic Dance has the most honoring of this with three altar icons fifteen feet wide dealing with Tarot, Crystals etc. One of the best “reflection spaces” anywhere. Younger people at nights, on Sundays all ages, to include older people,. 

Music to Dance to: Well this is a sensitive subject, but here goes. All the scenes the dance is limited to two or three types for that venue, meaning you can have a great dance night or an OK dance night or just a good workout. To add to that, you can dance alone, with a partner/multiple partners, or dance with the room, and generally “all of the above” in one night. Ecstatic Dance Wednesday nights is so uber-bass loud in the middle is it physically painful. Ecstatic Dance Sundays is less loud, same DJ’s, but more ‘daytime’. Dance Jam is in a state of change. However, its past is pretty mainstream Jam: in the front room and the back room same dj’s same bands meant a choice of vanilla or strawberry presented with regular predictably every other week. On the positive side, they are a very social scene with ‘older people’ and it works. They are also the ‘mother’ of the dance system in the bay area which can be a plus or an anchor resisting change.

Barefoot Boogie is in a unique niche: On the Music side: As a dancer, when you show up at Boogie, you dance. Even the slow warm-up has energy. The music is the most varied of any venue I have ever been to. It is a “true dancers workout”. Everyone dances all night long “with the room, with themselves, or with each other”. Men, woman, the wall, the air, we are all in it together. Boogie Dancers at other venues actually have a recognizable style which is unique among all the venues and nice to have if you are a dancer. Our Barefoot Boogie tagline is “Dance Like Nobody is Watching’. Our Barefoot Boogie “Temple of Dance” icons exist on the piano, and they are simply a wooden figure of a person dancing. Simple – it’s all about the motion.

If you add it all up, for pure dance with highly skilled dancers, Barefoot Boogie is in first place for pure free space for maximum motion. Other venues are great and offer more things including socializing. One reason is that it is Sunday night. Who else would show up there unless you really wanted to dance. Why: People are tired from the weekend, people have to get up to go to work on Monday, the ever competitive TV and glass of wine, and the never to be forgotten, is many people are “day-time dancers” and not “Sunday night-time dancers”. There are also other Sunday daytime events and people have already “done their thing” at any of the other endless variety of weekend daytime activities.
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