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Symbols of the Goddess in Balkan women’s dance

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Communal dance has been a primary means of worship in Eastern Europe and the Near East for over 9000 years, depicted in rock art and pottery fragments showing circles of dancing women. Existing women’s dance traditions of the Balkans may be direct descendants of these ancient rituals, and may offer living links to matrifocal Goddess cultures of Neolithic Old Europe. Women’s dances and textiles incorporate symbols such as the circle, sun, spiral, zigzag, and Tree of Life, which can be identified with the Goddess. Traditional dance circles, both past and present, also emphasize ancient values of community, connection, cooperation, shared leadership, and peace. Even as these dances change in their places of origin, they are being given new life as an embodied spiritual practice embraced by dancers all over the world. The contemporary movement practice of women’s ritual dances can offer experiences of healing, insight, and transformation to contemporary women from different cultures.
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Keywords: Goddess; Goddess embroideries; Neolithic; Sacred Dance; circle dance; women’s ritual dance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Canterbury Christ Church University

Publication date: 01 January 2017

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  • Research into spirituality receives comparatively little attention in western dance practices but Dance, Movement & Spiritualities provides a platform for those practitioners and researchers who are actively and creatively working with spirituality at the centre of their practice/research. Contributions are invited from across disciplines.
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