What Are They?

The Dances are part of the timeless tradition of sacred dance, and they are a form a spiritual folk dance which uses music and sacred phrases from many spiritual traditions including: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Celtic, Sikhism, Native Middle Eastern, Native American and Goddess traditions. The purpose of the Dances is to promote peace and integration within individuals and groups.

The dances were originally the creation of Sufi-Buddhist, mystic, and teacher, Samuel L.Lewis (1896-1971), who was inspired by his teachers, Hazrat Inayat Khan and American dance pioneer, Ruth St.Denis. Since Sam's passing, the Dances have spread around the world and are used in a variety of settings. The dances are shared by teachers with established Dance communities throughout the United States and around the world. More and more, Sam's vision that the Dance's are an expression and catalyst for world unification through personal transformation is becoming to fruition.

During the past 30 years, the Dances have helped millions of people to experience the spirit of peace, harmony and understanding in their voices and bodies. The Dances have been instrumental in bringing these qualities in a very real way into the lives of all who have participated in them.

The focus of the dance is on participation, not performance.There are no performers nor audience - new arrivals and experienced dancers form the circle together. No prior experience is necessary. The goal of sharing the Dances leads the participant into a deeper and deeper experience of shared peace. Listening and being receptive are an important focus of the Dance experience. Simplicity and joy are both means and end as we dance and learn together.

In Rhode Island, the Dances are led by Nicholas Lizza, and are held at All That Matters in Wakefield and Anahata Yoga School in Providence. In addition, they are sometimes also held at St. Martin's Church at 50 Orchard Avenue in Providence, and in the summer, at Roger Williams Park.
The original Dance in New England is held in Cambridge Massachusetts (Cambridge Friends Meeting House/5 Longfellow Park) and regularly attracts more than thirty dancers per dance. As of 2002, it meets twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Fridays at 730pm September through May.

(Thanks to Nicholas Lizza for providing this information to riDance.)

For more information on the dances nationally and internationally, contact;
International Center for the
Dances of Universal Peace
444 NE Ravenna Blvd
Suite 306
Seattle Washington 98115
Phone 206-522-4353

Samuel L. Lewis
At an early age, concerned with feeding the world's hungry, Murshid Samuel Lewis sought to improve the quality and quantity of food production world-wide. He promoted organic gardening, seed exchange, sea water desalination and desert reclamation. Later in life, and what led to greater recognition, was his work with Ruth St Denis, the American contemporary dance pioneer. Lewis envisioned a dance form that promoted "peace through the arts". Combining the vibration of sacred sound and movement, these dances have become a way to rediscover reverence, creativity and a body-based connection to the natural world. During the past 25 years, the Dances of Universal Peace have spread around the globe, supporting unity and tolerance among all people.
Reprinted without permission from a Silk Soymilk carton. See more abut Samuel Lewis and all about Silk Soymilk at For the Lewis information - once you are on the Silk website, go to Culture and then click on Heroes(link on the left hand side of page).

Deborah Nash at
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