Ecstatic Dance - San Francisco
Ecstatic dance in San Francisco is delightful. They have official ecstatic dance events every Sunday morning (~10am-1pm) at the Church Of 8 Wheels near Alamo Square/Hayes Valley (map). The first hour of each includes a contact improv lesson!
Oh, and on every other Friday night they have an ecstatic dance event next door, but I have that on a separate page.
- What: Amazing ecstatic dance event.
- Cost: $25 at the door but they have 6 for 5 passes and if you arrive >1 hour early and help setup you might get in for free (more details at the bottom).
- When: Every Sunday 11am-1pm ... but do arrive 10 am for a dance improv lesson included. (details).
- Where: Church Of 8 Wheels, 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (map)
- What to wear: Suitable dance attire, you'll be bear foot... see more here.
- Website: ecstaticdance.org
What is Ecstatic Dance
I think the best thing you can do, for a full explanation, is to read my Ecstatic Dance article. It explains things in depth. In a nutshell: wonderful tribal music where you are free to dance however you want (no instructions) and no shoes. In the dance, the only real rule is to be respectful to others and no photos. Remember that putting your hands together in a pray-like position is saying "thanks, but I want to dance by myself now".
The San Francisco Venue
San Francisco (SF) Ecstatic Dance is a fairly young crowd in a beautiful old church where they usually have roller skating. Lots of people seem to want to dance in their own space, but if you want to dance with others, you might be lucky to make eye contact and have a great dance. :)
I like that they have water off to the side... there are only two toilet stalls though (one for each gender), so you probably want to change before getting to dance.
PS: I highly recommend coming at 10am on Sunday instead of 11:00 am because quite a few people come to the contact improv lesson and it's a great way to build a little rapport with a few face before the room gets more and more crowded. Oh and hang around a little afterwards because a fun group of us often go to lunch down the road afterwards - or to "The Center SF" next door. Talking after a dance is a great way to tap into the community properly. Come approach me (tall Australian guy) if you see me - I'm usually there and usually always go to lunch after. :)
Advice for New Women
A few female friends of mine have complained about unwanted attention from men as they dance. People come for different reasons to dance. I like the exercise, creativity, dance, connection, and playfulness... and I dance with everyone! Unfortunately, there are one or two regulars who you will notice spend 100% of their time trying to "close dance" (grind) with attractive women - not so much there for dance, only there to pick up - and they have ruined the experience for a couple of female friends of mine by posing as spiritually attuned. If you get such unwanted guys hanging around persistently, just dance away once, and do the namaste hands if they show up again dancing in your space. Trust your intuition. Slow dancing is fine at these venues, and it's quite okay to ask for someone's phone number, but it's even more amazing to say no when you realize the vibe or intention is off! The bay area has more men than women, that's just life here and so this problem isn't unique and once you know who to be wary of you will be 100% fine. The best bet you have is to ask one of the regular women there which men are safe and not safe to dance with.
I used to go almost every Sunday when I lived in San Francisco and I became part of the amazing group that still hangs out outside of dance. Often they grab lunch - and I was always shocked to realize that even the regulars are very shy about asking someone to dance. I wrote a book about dancing that might help "The Little Book of Dance Inspration", but the gist is to just smile and be bold to ask for a dance and don't take it to heart if you get a no. People who never hear no in life and not really stretching themselves or asking for anything.
Trading Services for Free Entry
The last friend I invited tried to get in for free, but he said he wasn't quite early enough. Patty is the incredible woman who does the payment at the front, and she says you typically have to arrive over 1 hour before the workshop starts... and that they only take the first few people into this role. I've personally never got in for free (except once as VIP because I was hosting DJ tribal dreams!), so if you have updated information let me know, so I can update this wiki. Not everyone can afford the cost of the dance each week.
The Old Night Classes
For my own record-keeping, they used to do every 1st and 3rd Thursday night (Jan 2023 to mid-2023), which had a sexier more base energy, and you don't see kids at the night one. Sadly it didn't last because renting it out is just so expensive!
- Ecstatic Dance
- Ecstaturday Dance Calendar - A calendar with sooo many great options for the bay listed!
- Ecstatic dance, Sunday Morning, SF (official website)... all the info.
- Ecstatic dance, Thursday Night, SF (official website)... all the info.
- Ecstatic dance San Francisco - Facebook page