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Ecstatic Dance
The Gabrielle Roth Video Collection

by Gabrielle Roth

      Ecstatic Dance: The Gabrielle Roth Video Collection is a 3 DVD boxed set of Gabrielle Roth's innovative dance technique called the Wave. Roth is a theater / music director and has been dancing meditatively for three decades. Though the teaching is identical throughout all the DVDs, each disc has a special focus, with different introductions, different music, and different verbal guidance.  Each video has Roth’s bio, discography, and ways to contact both her and Sounds True, the publisher of this fine collection.

The Wave (35 minutes), the first of the set, is Roth's classic video which introduces the Wave, a form of meditative, ecstatic dance that anyone can do.  She calls this technique moving meditation where you "sweat your prayers." There are five movements in the technique: flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical, and moving stillness. This one is in black and white and offers stunning visuals of the non-professional dancers in her classes, as well as Roth, herself. Five music cuts are also provided, without instructional voice-overs.

The Power Wave (32 minutes) is a more intense workout. Here Roth's intention is self-healing and transformation. The DVD is in color and also includes five separate music cuts.

The Inner Wave (32 minutes) is a slower, more meditative approach to the dance technique. It is definitely more prayerful.  Also in color, this DVD contains only one separate music selection.

Roth's verbal guidance is helpful, especially for beginners who are trying to get comfortable with their bodies and figure out how to move. The dancers, though not pros, certainly are skilled and could be professionals. They are a joy to watch, but could be intimidating for someone who is large, older, or just bumbling. However, Roth insists that her intention is for viewers not to copy the dancers, though they can get ideas about how to respond to the music, but to find their own inner rhythms. Only The Power Wave has a plus-size dancer (who is exquisite, by the way) and a child dancer, while that DVD and The Inner Wave both have an elderly dancer.

This kind of dance can be done by people of any age or any size, even if they have some forms of movement difficulties. I have hip and shoulder bursitis and found it liberating to be able to dance within my limitations. I didn't have to conform to a specific posture that I might or might not be able to execute perfectly. I found my own grace within my own body as I responded to the music.

The music, by the way, is well worth the price of the collection. The Wave had music that was heavy on percussion, with moments of violins, synthesizer, flute, and voices. The Power Wave music was varied, with jazz and world influences; and The Inner Wave had more melodic, meditative music. They are all Roth originals.  All of the selections spoke to my body, teasing movement out of it.

If you want to experience a spiritual movement practice without having to conform to set postures, try Ecstatic Dance: The Gabrielle Roth Video Collection. It may just make a dancer out of you. If nothing else, it is a good supplement to other types of spiritual movement, and it's a great workout.

The Book

Sounds True
May 2005
DVD boxed set
New Age, Dance
More at

The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2008