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Evelyn Torton Beck

Dance That Fuses Activism and Art

Screen Shot 2018-10-03 at 10.45.12 AMAlthough I suspected I was lesbian in my teens, the idea was so frightening in those years that coming out seemed impossible. Like so many other hidden lesbians, I married and had two children. Against peer pressure, I returned to school where I became a teaching assistant. After 10 years, I earned a Ph.D. in literature and eventually became a professor. In time, I became a founder of women’s studies, lesbian studies, and Jewish women’s studies. When feminism made the word lesbian speakable, I came out, and thrived.

The realization that many women’s studies students had histories of trauma in their lives led me to train as a therapist, a different kind of teacher, and after 13 years, I earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

I came upon Sacred Circle Dance seemingly by chance, but from the first step, I felt I had come home; it was like the folk dancing of my youth, but more nourishing. The “sacred” in our dance is not religious, but related to wholeness and healing. The dances are moving meditations integrating mind, body and spirit, leading to harmony and balance.

I danced weekly, but soon went for longer trainings. I became so passionate that when one of our local teachers decided not to teach, I stepped in and never again stepped out. Sacred Circle Dance changed my path from feminist professor, to feminist therapist, to feminist teacher of dance. To support this practice I use all of my previous trainings. In the early years of feminism, there had been a sharp split between spirituality and politics.

But by the time I started to teach dance, I was in my late 60s, and no longer accepted false divisions, no longer worried about losing my feminist credentials. In this stage of my life, I would be my most authentic self.