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TheDances of Universal Peace(DUP) are sometimes meditative, “spiritual folk dances” employing inspirational language and even public mantras of diverse world religions. Their intention is to promote peace between diverse religions according to one stated goal.The DUP dances,are of North American Sufic origin. They combine chants from many world faiths with dancing, whirling, and a variety of movement with singing.
Five to 500 dancers stand in a circle often around a leader and musicians, with acoustic instruments, in the center,All dances are participatory and spectatorship is somewhat discouraged because joy is the goal, not technical performance of specified dance steps or forms. Dances are facilitated by a dance leader often playing a drum, guitar, flute or other stringed instrument. For lyrics, dances borrow inspirational poetry, quotes and chants which are sung as the dance is performed.Chants are often sacred phrases put to traditional, contemporary or occasionally improvised melodies. A wide range of languages are deliberately employed including Arabic, Aramaic, English, Hawaiian,Hebrew, Persian, and Sanskrit.Dance promoters use diverse religious practices, chants and languages to demonstrate how joy lives at the heart of each and all religions. Dance laders tend to believe peace can be promoted through experiencing the same One Joy through diverse dance steps, chants, and languages.
The DUP emphasis is on participation regardless of ability; DUP dances are almost never performed before an audience. Dancers of all levels; including children able to follow along, dance together. Each dance is taught afresh at each gathering. Dances and dancing of this kind is seen as opportunity to develop participants’ spiritual awareness, hand-eye-body coordination, and competency in harmonizing with others through dance. Many dances are choreographed with movements, steps, and gestures encouraging dancers to explore the deeper mystical meanings of the dance.