The Sacred Dance Guild is a spiritually diverse, international, non-profit organization with a commitment to advocate for dance as a sacred art and to promote dance as a means of spiritual growth and integration of mind, body and spirit.
The SDG’s motto is “Dancing the Sacred, Moving the World…”
The SDG’s official dance is Moving Mysteries – choreography, music and lyrics by Emmalyn Moreno. Click the link above to watch a video on our Vimeo page.
In 1956, several movement choir directors from the United States, including Unitarian minister Robert Storer, Mary Jane Wolbers and Margaret Taylor Doane, formed the Eastern Regional Sacred Dance Association. Inspired by the sacred themes introduced by early modern dancers, they hoped to develop and share dances that could be used for worship and prayer.
In 1958, the Eastern Regional Sacred Dance Association changed their name to the Sacred Dance Guild to open up their membership beyond the Northeastern United States. The SDG’s first president was Jane Renz. In June of that year, the SDG held the first Sacred Dance Institute, which was led by Ted Shawn at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts. The Institutes continue today as the SDG’s Sacred Dance Festivals.
The SDG’s early years focused on workshops developing basic sacred dance competencies, such as creative movement and modern choreography. Following its first decade, the SDG began to explore a variety of dance techniques and movement traditions beyond modern dance, such as ballet, jazz, yoga, African dance, Indian temple dance and Sufi whirling. This diversity sparked an interest in new spiritual themes and other religious traditions, such as wholeness, healing, meditation, T’ai Chi, and Jewish mysticism, among others. The SDG maintains this diversity to this day.
Beginning in the late ‘70s and continuing into the ‘80s, the SDG was gratified to see a growth in the number of professional and amateur sacred dancers and companies, as well as new educational programs and resources. The SDG continues its historic work of promoting dance as a sacred art today, through its online presence, and its programs, resources and events.
The SDG’s history is recorded in more detail in three books:
● And We Have Danced: A History of the Sacred Dance Guild 1958-1978, by Carlynn Reed (1978)
● And We Have Danced, Volume 2: A History of the Sacred Dance Guild 1978-1994, by Toni Intravaia (1994)
● And We Have Danced, Volume 3: A History of the Sacred Dance Guild 50th Anniversary, by Toni Intravaia (2008)
The archives of the SDG are included in the Milne Special Collections located at the Diamond Library at the University of New Hampshire. To consult the collection, visit www.library.unh.edu/special/index.php/sacred-dance-guild.
The SDG is a 501(3)c charitable organization in the United States. Its Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)/Employer Identification Number (EIN) is 02-0270736.