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
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.