What is the course about?
The Dances of Universal Peace are a powerful way to connect with others, to experience the heart of many spiritual
traditions and draw on them for inspiration. Through moving, chanting and singing together we may create a sense of
peace and unity – a sense of joyful oneness.
We most often dance in a circle using devotional movements and chants.
• The Dances of Universal Peace were originally created in the late 1960’s by Samuel Lewis, who studied many of
the world’s spiritual traditions. He was a lifelong practitioner of Zen Buddhism and Zen Roshi. His Hindu guru was
Papa Ram Dass. He taught Christian mysticism and, being Jewish by birth, was well versed in the Kabballah. The
Dances were inspired by his Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan, who first brought Sufism to the West, and Ruth St
Denis an American feminist pioneer of sacred dance. Following Hazrat Inayat Khan and the ‘Unity of Religious
Ideals’ - that the truth at the heart of all religions is the same truth - Samuel Lewis envisaged a dance form which
would embody this ideal, one which would allow people to directly experience for themselves such states as joy,
peace, harmony and unity.
The day will include dances which range in mood from joyful to contemplative. The dances are
based on simple steps and are done in a group, sometimes with a partner section.
What will we cover?
• Dancing in a group, sometimes with partners
• Singing sacred phrases from a variety of spiritual traditions and in many different languages
• Connecting with others through heartfelt and gentle structured movements
• Opening to ourselves and experiencing a heightened state of awareness.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Participate in group chants in many languages
• Perform many dance steps as part of a circle and with a partner
• Open to joy and inspiration in yourself and through contact with others
• Deepen your understanding of and connection with a variety of spiritual traditions.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for everybody regardless of age and gender. You will need to be able to follow verbal instructions, sing simple chants and use spatial awareness within a group.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The tutor will instruct, demonstrate and explain each chant and step. You will work in a big group and with partners at times.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please wear comfortable clothing. No special shoes required.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other movement classes run by the Health and Lifestyle department.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details