17 March 2023
6 min read

Last year, after three years without a Long Dance, and after more than a decade of dreaming of the Long Dance happening on Dartmoor, 180 hardy souls gathered at the Hillyfield Woodland farm to prepare. Though not without the inevitable challenges of working in a new venue, spirits were high as the ceremony began, a little more than 36 hours after the opening fire. It was an extraordinary feeling to be back in community in the same space and the dance was deep. 

Sadly, as all of you who were there will remember, we were just on the brink of a big fat wave of illness. As team leader after team leader went down, we were faced with what felt like an impossible situation. The contract with everyone was clear and everyone who came was aware of it. If a dancer became ill and tested positive,  they would need to leave the site and find their way home. Everyone was aware of the risks of coming together again to dance. It was a desperately difficult situation. And Susannah and I recognised, after some hours of struggling with the realities of the situation, that if we didn’t stop the ceremony there and then, we would soon have more people who needed looking after than there were people to look after them. And so, only 13 hours in to the planned 72 hours of ceremony, with care, precision and collaboration with those present, we closed the ceremonial space and went about doing our utmost, alongside a brilliantly generous group, to take care of the situation. 

To say we learned a lot would be an understatement. And everything we learned will inform how we set things up for this year’s Long Dance. This situation was hard for all of us, and we regret the suffering of those who suffered. On the other hand, we are also very proud of how we, as a community, steered through this situation to the best of our collective capacities. 

We recognise how kind, responsible and mature so many people were in adapting to and supporting the situation as it evolved. And whether you were there or not, agreed or not, had a difficult or a good time (yes, many people still managed that) Susannah and I and the new Team at the School of Movement Medicine are here inviting you to take your place in this powerful gathering. We are inviting you to come and dance, to receive the medicine of the ceremony, lift up this prayer and send out the medicine of this ceremony into the world. 

This is life and situations like these are exactly what the deep and disciplined practice of Movement Medicine is all about. We learn to dance with whatever life brings. We recognise that we are not in control of what happens but that we do have choice in how we dance with it. Situations like these are when we find out if our practice is real or merely pretty words and intentions. 

A strong circle of dancers is taking shape, with people committed to attend from all around the world. The Long Dance is the heart and soul of our practice and community. Though it’s safe, it’s not an easy option. Being yourself in community never is. We do it as a give-away and it’s a massive amount of work to make it happen. So many people are involved. As an event, it has raised more than £650,000 over the years for the benefit of a vast variety of brilliant projects that support life and evolution. 

If you want to bring the vision of the kind of community in which you can belong in a way that supports you to be who you are and strengthens the circle, you have to be willing to show up, even when things are no longer a fairy tale. Real community is made of real people. Real people are human. To evolve, we make mistakes. All of us. We fall. We learn. We get up. We keep dancing. We grow. 

We learned a huge amount from last year’s first gathering at the Hillyfield. And this year, much has already been put in place as part of our evolving relationship with the land there and Doug and Claire, the guardians of the Hillyfields project. And the world is in a different place. The ongoing dance of the agonies and the ecstasies of living life in a body are not going away.

So, dear Movement Medicine dancer, whether you are a seasoned Professional, an Apprentice or new to this work, this circle is open and there is a space in it for you. Come if you’re human. Come if you’re willing to risk learning from your mistakes as well as your successes. Come if you want to be accepted as you are and invited to mature further, year by year. 

Come if you have anything to heal and have the capacity to stay embodied in deep process. Come if you have a sense that we have to dance for this long if we want to break through the fog of our daily trance and wake up a little. Come if you’re seeking guidance. Come if you know you belong and come if you’re uncertain what belonging and remaining yourself mean. Come if you hear the call. It’s loud and clear and it’s personal. 

Below you’ll find a few more words about why we do this. If you want to book your place, since our new payment gateway is taking longer than expected to get up and running, we have once again extended the early booking discount until midnight (UK) April 17th

Attending the School of Movement Medicine Long Dance in 2023 is a transformative and inspiring experience. Here are 7 reasons why you should get yourself there:

  1. Personal growth: The Long Dance is an opportunity to explore your own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Through the practice, participants can develop self-awareness, self-expression, and a deeper connection to their inner selves.
  2. Community building: The event brings together like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds, fostering a strong sense of community and connection. This can lead to lasting friendships and support networks that extend long beyond the Long Dance.
  3. Healing and transformation: Movement Medicine is a powerful tool for healing and self-transformation. Through the Long Dance, participants may experience emotional release, process past traumas (have you heard of post-traumatic growth?), and uncover insights that help them move forward in life with a renewed sense of purpose.
  4. Connection to nature: The Long Dance takes place in a gorgeous valley on Dartmoor, providing a chance for participants to reconnect with the natural world and gain a deeper appreciation for it.
  5. Skilled facilitation: the Long Dance is led by experienced facilitators who guide participants through the various practices, ensuring a safe and supportive space for personal exploration, growth and prayer.
  6. Giving back: The Long Dance supports charitable causes and projects, providing an opportunity for participants to contribute to positive change in the world while engaging in their own personal development.
  7. Indigenous Leaders Presence and support: Manari, a spiritual leader of the Sapara Nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon, will once again be present to support the ceremony.

With love and respect,

Ya’Acov Darling Khan. 

Ya’Acov DK

Ya’Acov Darling Khan, is the author of ‘Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart...