Elm Dance Weekly

Service 18 Oct 2009 - Elm DanceI enjoyed reading about this church in Australia where people dance the Elm Dance every Sunday after the worship service is over. We will start our Autumn Equinox ritual by doing this dance in the courtyard at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver at 12:10pm (or as soon as the worship service ends) on Sunday, September 17. And–who knows?–maybe we’ll keep doing it!


Here’s what their website says.

After the service, each Sunday, some join hands and for a circle for “The Elm Dance”. They gather in the circle dance area outside the church before going up to coffee in the hall; and all are invited to share in this simple movement.

A dance of remembrance and a dance for the blessing of peace.

St Pauls’ Elm Dance

We at St Pauls join in a circle dance, to pray the prayers of our hearts but especially for peace.

I thought what a great metaphor for our Christian community the Elm Dance is.

Firstly the dance, the slow measured step where we dance together to the same tune, guided by those who know it better, helped by those who know the steps and the sequence, and supporting each other when feet stumble out of step, or wander in a different direction.

Around us is God’s beautiful sky and warming light, the fragrance of rosemary, the delighted joyful music of the birds mingling with loving music composed by His children.

Wonderful too is the ever-widening circle as more and more join, effortlessly welcomed into the dance. Existing members are strong enough in loving support to let go and welcome in; new ones are brave enough to step forward and take the offered hands.

For those on the outside looking in, there is delight in watching the pattern and wholeness of the dance.

Our prayers seek to bless those from Novozybkov, that most contaminated of cities after Chernobyl and the spoken and unspoken prayers: the homeless down the street, the patient people of Zimbabwe and those with broken relationships around us; and the dance helps us bring the answers into being.

As we are swaying – Let’s Give Peace a Dance


I’m always interested in reading about the history of the music we dance to and the words, so also enjoyed their information on the “Notes of interpretation”.

Notes on Interpretation

Latvian is a language that was only written down when German missionaries spread the Christian faith in the 1700’s, being the last place in North Western Europe to maintain a pagan animistic worship of the land, the seasons and forces of nature. Hence many words in the song multiple meanings and connotations.

If you’re interested in languages, you’ll enjoy it if you scroll down and read what they have to say.


Alunelul with some side steps

Alunelul from Rumania.  Pronunciation: ah-lu-NEH-loo

Translation: Hazelnut

More information here: http://www.sfdh.org/encyclopedia/alunelu.php

If you’re new to circle dance, this has lots of side steps in it.  (I’ve promised to look for some dances that use some of the common steps we do.)

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Dancing Saints in San Francisco

A friend just sent me a copy of Originally Blessed – a book of essays, art etc celebrating Matthew Fox’s Original Blessing book’s 25th anniversary. In there I discovered the Dancing Saints icon mural at San Francisco’s St. Gregory’s church. Click here to see the artist:


or surf for “Dancing Sants” San Francisco…