Alisha Das is a spiritual counselor, former DJ, and holds a doctorate in Spiritual Science. Sixteen years ago, she created Soul Dance and has been facilitating these events twice monthly, volunteering her time as a gift. We recently interviewed Alisha. Here are some highlights from our chat.
PALG: What gave you the idea for Soul Dance?
AD: During a trip to Israel and Egypt, I asked my spiritual teacher, John-Roger, “How can I learn to have more conscious experiences while meditating?” His answer: “Do sit-ups while chanting your spiritual tone.” I did this for about two hours and moved into bliss. I now had a technique of using outer movement to enhance inner movement, which I continued to utilize and explore. I later expanded that practice to other forms of physical movement such as dance.
AD: I had always been terrified to dance in public but on that trip, I found myself spontaneously dancing in temples in Israel and Egypt. At Giza, I began dancing with subtle movements, eventually leaping into the air, though I had never before felt free or comfortable dancing. This came from within; movement straight from my soul.
After this, I found myself wanting to dance with a spiritual focus more. I wanted to dance free-form with others in communion with God. I tried many dance classes and gatherings all over Los Angeles but didn’t find anything close to what I was seeking. Fortunately, your former PALG Administrator asked me to create a dance class for you.
My experience as a former professional DJ and sound volunteer helped me create (and facilitate) Soul Dance. I wanted to play uplifting music in a spiritual environment, but I also wanted fun dance music. (A key to DJing is the art of knowing what music to play to keep the crowd dancing.) I play a wide range of music, from current pop to world music. It just has to be uplifting. I have two kids, teenagers now, who help me keep my musical awareness current.
PALG: How has Soul Dance evolved?
AD: In the beginning, I simply played great music. Then I was led inwardly to guide people to get freer as the music played. I watched people to see what they liked and what seemed to “move” them, both inwardly and outwardly. Later, I added playing short audio meditations, excerpts and soul moments. I tell folks that if they want me to stop talking all they have to do is dance freely and blissfully. I usually talk less as the evening goes on and folks let God take over.
I thought, “Now that I’m facilitating Soul Dance, I should learn to dance.” But I really did not like choreographed dance classes, the Spirit was not there for me. I said that to John-Roger before a dance performance. He said that no, in choreographed dance you learn the steps, but the Spirit may want to do different steps. He said you don’t follow the Spirit--you are one with Spirit. You can’t do that in choreographed dance classes the same way. That inspired me so at the beginning of that “performance” I determined I would not move until the Spirit moved me. I stood and stared at the audience until Spirit started moving me. I have no idea what steps I did, but I came off stage to a standing ovation. John-Roger looked at me and said, “Very, very good” That experience was transformational for me and reinforced what I am doing with Soul Dance.
So my facilitating became helping people discover how to let themselves be danced by Spirit and to use dance as a spiritual exercise to allow Spirit to move them.
PALG: What makes Soul Dance special or different?
AD: My whole intention is to support people to reach into their True Self and let their Soul guide them and to assist people to be present and spontaneous. For me, it’s about staying in the moment, in the Divine unknowing, trusting Spirit will guide me with the words and music that need to be heard at that time.
Soul Dance quiets the mind, the body, the emotions, and releases deep seated blocks to freedom and awareness. Then bliss and deep peace comes. I love to see people transformed, joyous and free.
PALG: What would you say is the key to get free through dance?
AD: I tell participants, “You’re safe. Just keep moving, don’t think, dance. Allow each move to be discovered by you. Allow each move to be healing." "I am endeavoring to guide you into a moving meditation, into a dance with the Beloved.”
They start to forget what they look like. I keep the lights low so people feel safer to go within. People realize they are really dancing with God—and discover how they move.
People express more when they feel safe, and they feel safe at Soul Dance. I tell them, “If you just keep moving outwardly, it will move you inwardly.” Sometimes folks say they’re too tired to come dance. John-Roger used to say, “If you want more energy, demand more energy.” I tell them, just come “call in the Light” (an invocation) with us. Almost invariably, if they dance one dance, they will stay the entire evening.
PALG: What keys have Soul Dance given you that you take into your life?
AD: Leaping into the Divine Unknowing and allowing God to dance me through my life. Getting out of my head. Risking looking stupid. Waiting, not moving until I feel Spirit move me—I use this in my work as a counselor. That we are all one people. One of my favorite Soul Dance memories was watching a really “Goth looking” guy with body piercings and tattoos dancing with a Muslim woman dressed in robes and head piece. Love is the healer. Seeing different types of people dancing in communion with one another is uplifting.
PALG: How do people respond to Soul Dance?
AD: At every class I get people sharing with me with tears in their eyes sharing gratefully about their experiences. Some just come to be in the energy and maybe don’t even dance that much but meditate the whole time.
People share with me about their emotional release, mental release, or that physical things start to clear. People tell me about a spiritual attunement they experience, about feelings of intimacy with others. People often spontaneously “puppy pile” on top of one another after class or stay to share with one another.
One women works with terminally ill children. She said Soul Dance keeps her going. With every move, she lets go. Another person told me she came in the deepest, darkest hole, suicidal and by the end of class she was joyous and hopeful.
Many people share, “I stay in deep peace long after I stop dancing.” After every Soul Dance, people wind up laying on the floor at the end. They go into the Spirit. People want to stay there for quite awhile, the room is still and quiet at the end.
PALG: What would you like to tell people who haven’t come before?
AD: I play fun, current, dance-able music. Soul Dance gets a range of people anywhere from terrified to dance, to professional dancers. Every class has new people and people from all walks of life. I tell people, “You might come nervous, but you’ll leave in bliss. It’s about dance, but it’s much more about letting God and Spirit move you.
Let Go, and Let God.
Editor Note: Soul Dance celebrates its final evening Thursday, November 1, 2017 at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Soul Dance continues monthly in Santa Monica.