#11 Free Dance
We've Arrived! Free Dance is where we move beyond the auto pilot of our thoughts and
movements into authentic creative expression of our highest self through our physical form.
This is really the whole point! To have a moment, a minute, eventually a lifetime of feeling that
we can use our physical body to express who we truly are. To reclaim our body as the home of
our soul in this lifetime.
Up to this point, our breath and movement flow together in rhythm. Our body is now open,
strong, and flexible from the yoga and dance sequences. We are softened from the reverent,
swirling, sensual movements. We feel creative and confident in expressing ourselves through
Now... we can truly dance.
Have you ever found yourself, for no apparent reason, dancing in your living room? You hadnʼt
planned it, but a song came on and, all of a sudden, you just had to dance. No choreography.
No judgment. Just raw, authentic movement. That's what we're going for.
We dance with purpose and abandon.
We dance like our ancestors around a fire.
We dance with joy and enthusiasm
We dance without reservation.
We dance because we can no longer not dance.
Teaching tips for teaching free dance:
Stay Connected to your class! This is something I notice many teachers slightly struggling with. While in many instances we teach by modeling, you don't want to get so into your own free dance that you abandon your class! Remember, that this will be new and slightly uncomfortable for many students in the beginning so you want to create a safe space for them to explore their authentic movement and guide them along the way. Watch your students to sense out the perfect timing, but I find offering some words ever 30 seconds to a minute can be helpful. Keep your words simple as not to take anyone out of their free dance but to guide them deeper into it.
Encourage people to go deeper by closing their eyes to feel more (I often say, "feel as
much as you can" or "feel everything") their body. Another powerful reminder is to tell them to breathe deeply into whatever movement they are doing. Lastly, remind them to dance their intention.
Free dance is the place I find most powerful to loop in the theme, so please don't ever turn on a song and say, "Ok, free dance, go!" Instead, give them a purpose or intention to devote their movement to.
See examples in the movement rituals and Qoya classes on the site as well as these below:
● Rain Dance by The Very Best- Invite everyone to think of their ancestors and indigenous
cultures who have done rain dances, and to dance for your desires!
● What a Feeling by Irene Cara- Pick an upbeat song and have everyone dance “as if.”
Ask them what it would feel like to have their particular desire come into full manifestation,
and show it by dancing.
● Passion by One Giant Leap- Do a Shamanic Journey (credit to Journey Dance) where you
dance two different roles. One as yourself dancing your story and then switch roles to that
of the shaman or the healer. Be yourself again and then switch to the healer. Switch back
and forth more quickly and at the end realize that you are the shaman and the healer.
● Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In- Have a big circle and invite each person to go in the
circle free dancing and everyone else mirror their movement, trying on their joy like an
outfit. Give everyone the opportunity to be seen fully, embodying their joy.
● Boe Money by Galactic- With this song I like to tell everyone to imagine that the music
comes into their body and then comes out of them as if their body is the speaker. Itʼs such
a fun exercise and itʼs what I do whenever I am free dancing.
● Something by Booker T. and the Washingtons- This is an instrumental jam of the Beatles
song “Something,” where I encourage the women to dance that something special about
● Beloved by Anoushka Shankar- Teach them how to do a labyrinth
I often hear back from women that after they take a Qoya class, they find themselves turning
music on and dancing in their house, having a great time. Realize that by dancing our body/
mind/heartʼs vibration is increasing and aligning ourselves with more joy, peace and love. Dance
is an amazing healer and it is a sacred honor to be able to create and hold space for a woman to
feel comfortable exploring that in a group of other women.
Free Dance is where we move beyond the auto pilot of our thoughts and movements into
authentic creative expression of our highest self through our physical form.
Tips for teaching free dance
- Stay Connected to your class!
- Give women a clear purpose or intention to devote their movement to
- Guide them to feel more and stay connected as the song progresses
-Remind them to BREATE!
- My favorite free dance que is to “Feel Everything!” “Feel your breath, your body, your
emotions, the moment. Feel as much as you can.”
This is a time to remember that Qoya is an EXPERIENTIAL practice, where the shifts, openings
and healing happen in the body. The way we best serve our students is by keeping their
awareness on their body and feeling while dancing, (versus their minds and thinking).
Creating themes for guiding Free Dance or movement rituals can be one of the most fun parts of
teaching Qoya. When doing this, a simple overarching questions to ask is “Does this ask us to
feel or to think about something?”
The good news is we can break down the concepts and the delivery so that when we dance we
are feeling more and thinking less. Here are some ways to do this:
Simplify a concept until you have a simple intention(s) to instruct.
Examples: I had an idea of dancing to celebrate that we are all connected through the collective
unconscious. This is a lot to get across....
Break it down to:
a) Dance to take up space
b) Expand yourself into the whole room!
c) Dance with everyone here! Dance with everyone in the neighborhood! Dance with everyone in
the city! Dance with everyone on this planet!
2. Break the instructions down into steps to eliminate explaining too much before dancing
starts, then space them out throughout the song to evolve the experience.
a) Find the pleasure in your movements
b) Nourish yourself with this pleasure
1) Imagine you are dancing all alone on a beach
2) Feel the wind carrying your body
3) Use a sharing moment to “get the think out” first.
1. Find a partner and share with them a desire you have. (or this is done in pidgeon pose or
doing the grapevine...)
2. Find one word to describe how this desire makes you feel.
3. For this song, dance that feeling through your whole body.
Music Suggestions for Free Dance
Coldplay – Paradise, The Ericksons – Box of Letters, Feist – I Feel It All, Sigur Ros – Inní mér
syngur vitleysingur, Nina Simone – See-Line Woman - Album Version/Stereo, Caribou – Bowls,
Arcade Fire – Wake Up, Calvin Harris – Feel So Close - Extended Mix, The Sound of Arrows
– Magic, Baaba Maal – Miracle, Prince & The Revolution – Baby I'm a Star, Yann Tiersen –
La valse d'Amélie (Version originale), Yann Tiersen – La valse d'Amélie (Version orchestre),
Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over, Foday Musa Suso – Party, Tinariwen – Tenere
Taqhim Tossam - Four Tet Remix, Sidestepper – Mas Papaya, Lykke Li – Dance, Dance,
Dance, George Michael – Freedom! '90, The Sound of Arrows – M.A.G.I.C., Michael Jackson
– Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Single Version, Irene Cara – Fame, Issa Bagayogo – Nogo,
Brazilian Girls – Good Time, Moby – In My Heart, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Man
On Fire, The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, 1 Giant Leap – Passion, Curumin –
Selvage, Vampire Weekend – The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance, Buena Vista Social Club – Chan
Chan, The Very Best – Rain Dance (Feat. M.I.A.), Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone,
Diana Ross – I'm Coming Out, Stereolab – I'm Going Out Of My Way, Little Dragon – Crystalfilm,
Zuco 103 – Love Is Queen Omega feat. Lee "Scratch'' Perry, The Ting Tings – Shut Up And Let Me Go, Talking Heads – And She Was - 2005 Remastered LP Version, Miike Snow – Black &
Blue, Parov Stelar – Booty Swing