Dances of Universal Peace 2017-07-21T01:04:14+00:00

Dances of Universal Peace

Murshid Samuel Lewis

The Dances of Universal Peace are simple, meditative, joyous, multi-cultural circle dances that use sacred phrases, chants, music and movements from the many spiritual traditions of the earth to touch the spiritual essence within ourselves and recognize it in others. Building on the work begun by Samuel L. Lewis in the 1960s, they promote peace and integration within individuals and understanding and connection within groups worldwide. There are neither performers nor audience: new arrivals and old hands form the circle as everyone sings and dances together.


Before the inception of “Music Therapy”, “Art Therapy”, or “Dance Therapy”, tribal and village cultures renewed their sense of connection and place in the Cosmos through ritual celebrations. Singing, dancing and chanting to music were natural ways to invoke the Great Mysteries of Life, and to mark the seasonal rhythms of the Earth.

The Dances of Universal Peace revive this human tradition with a new awareness of the Earth as our global village, and with peace as the acknowledged root desire of all her peoples. Through simple movements and songs we tap the essence of the world’s wisdom traditions and bring them into a circle of wholeness where we can start to experience the reality of unity through diversity.

Ruth St. Denis

The Dances were founded in the late 1960’s in San Francisco by Samuel L. Lewis, with the purpose of promoting peace worldwide. He worked in tandem with Ruth St. Denis, a modern dance pioneer who was interested in bringing sacred movement back into houses of worship. The dances consist of uncomplicated movements performed in a circle, combined with short lyrics, ranging from meditative to celebratory in quality. Together with live music, they create an uplifting atmosphere and a sense of unity and community among the participants.

The simple acts of joining hands, lifting our voices in thanksgiving, looking deeply into the eyes of other dancers and moving our bodies in the rhythms of the music, create an ease of belonging to a greater community.

The dances evoke feelings of love, joy, compassion, ecstasy, peace, stillness, and unity. Now shared by millions of people worldwide, the Dances of Universal Peace express a feeling deeper than language, a connection that transcends nationality, and even personality.

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