Julia Hartsell

speaker : julia hartsell

day/time: sunday at 10:00 am

tent location: dance tent

Ecstatic Dance

Throughout time, humans have danced into expanded states of consciousness to connect with community, nature and the divine. Around the world, ecstatic dance practices have ushered people through rites of passage and supported soul-level healing at individual and collective levels. Ecstatic Dance is one of many modern conscious dance forms that reclaim this ancient, ancestral practice after centuries of suppression in many cultures.

In its modern Western form, Ecstatic Dance is an improvisational movement journey led by carefully curated music. Ecstatic Dance can vary greatly depending upon region, facilitators, community and venue. Generally, the score, or dance wave, starts slow, builds in energy towards a peak and descends again to stillness. With no verbal guidance or conversation on the dance floor, there is abundant space for presence, creativity and synchronicity to unfold. 

The practice is influenced by Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, trance and conscious dance modalities, authentic movement, yoga and other somatic practices. Practitioners are encouraged to welcome and follow the body’s impulses towards authentic, spontaneous expression which can include a full range of feelings from grief and anger to ecstatic joy and celebration.

Ecstatic Dance can be a profound, empowering and playful practice for people of all ages, genders, sizes and backgrounds.. Absolute beginners and long-time practitioners are welcome. 

In this session, we’ll begin with an opening circle to orient everyone to the practice and co-create a safe and sacred space for movement exploration and connection. After we dance, we’ll end with a closing circle. 


  • Please arrive for the opening circle.
  • Dance in bare feet, socks or dance shoes. 
  • Please refrain from wearing scents. 
  • Bring an open mind and heart. 
  • Bring a water bottle. 


Julia Hartsell is a dancer, writer and ritualist who has been catalyzing community around healing and movement for decades. With a background in performance art and world religions, Julia has spent her life immersed in embodied practices. Trusting the body’s inherent wisdom, she utilizes diverse practices to help access intuition, emotional expression and transformation. An animist, her work is focused on reclaiming sane and sacred ways of living and dying.

Julia’s known for her global influence on Hoop Dance and her local contribution to the Triangle’s Ecstatic Dance culture. For ten years, she mothered The Flowjo, a dance and circus studio in Carrboro, NC which hosted the first Ecstatic Dance in the Triangle. Before that, she ran an International Dance Conference, Hoop Convergence, for 9 years. She’s danced her way around the region and the globe spreading her passion for movement as a healing practice. In the past decade, she’s developed movement-based Grief Ceremonies, Ritual Dances and Ancestral Dance practices for reconnection, reverence and healing.

Julia is Co-founder, Director and Liturgist at Heartward Sanctuary, an arts-based temple grounds and natural cemetery in Silk Hope, NC where she tends several shrines, graves, an earth-based liturgical cycle, a multi-generational community and a weekly Temple Dance.

Her work is consistently growing and evolving. Julia supports people through thresholds of all kinds. She is a trained Ancestral Lineage Healing Practitioner, PsychoPomp, Death Doula & Home Funeral Guide.

Her movement practices and studies include: Hoop Dance, Ecstatic Dance, Continuum, Authentic Movement, 5 Rhythms, AcroYoga, Flow & Circus Arts and Contact Improvisation. Over the past twenty years, she’s had the pleasure of working with people of all ages in a variety of settings, programs and modalities.

Julia currently resides in Silk Hope, traditional lands of the Shakori, Sissipihaw and Catawba tribes, with her beloved partner, canine companion and a wake of vultures.