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He sits in circle in lotus position, eyes closed, radiating peace, love, and joy throughout the studio. The man is William Gulley and the place is NiaSpace in Austin, Texas where The TranceDance Experience has been offered contiguously since1996.
William was one of the earliest explorers on the frontier of this form of blindfolded meditation. He reminisced about one of his earliest and most powerful experiences that occurred on a Friday in May 1997. His mother had passed away and he attended her funeral in San Antonio, Texas about an hour and a half drive from Austin. At the gathering after the funeral, William noticed the time and was compelled to leave family and friends and get to NiaSpace for Trance Dance. During the dance that night, he grieved and celebrated for his mother with his whole being, alternately crying in pain and leaping in joy. According to William, he released far more emotions in one evening than he thought possible. This experience greatly enhanced the healing process from the loss of his mom.
William has danced an estimated 300 times behind the bandanna, rarely missing an opportunity to participate in the Friday night rituals offered by NiaSpace. When asked why he continued to perform this ritual routinely, William had quite a few reasons:
“I dance to awaken my spirit. I dance to enrich my soul. I dance to become one with me, I dance to become one with all that is…
When I dance behind the blindfold, I see things in a different way, I value that perception. When I dance in the dark, I can see the unknown…
I seek to connect with the “Big Energy” that envelops the universe and at the same time swells within each of us.
These ancient rituals allow me to briefly step away from my highly technical world and enter the world of my spiritual heritage where I can call on animal spirits that offer their assistance to guide me long my true life passage. Although these journeys seem far removed from my daily life I am well aware that this knowledge has a profoundly positive effect on every aspect of my being.”
"The dance is a very primitive practice and I believe it is necessary for me to commit myself to this type of practice to counter balance the effects of my involvement in the technical world. The dance connects me directly to the energy of my primitive self and in a larger sense the dance connects me to the collective spirit of all the beings that have danced in this way for all time."
"I have much gratitude for Wilbert Alix for his part in beginning this practice and his continuing development of the program. I am grateful for all the other dedicated facilitators that I have danced with, Holly Curtis, Gwendolyn Tara, Maya, Phyllis Hobkirk, Cambrey Baccus, and Gerry Starnes. I am grateful to all of the many people that have shared my dance with me over the years. I am grateful to be a dancer."