June 23, 2003

The Home Of The Rave...
An ecstatic-dancing class frees the body and eases the mind

By Anna Marrian

There's ecstasy on the dance floor, but not the kind that's illegal. It's Tuesday night and 100 young professionals have foregone "American Idol" in favor of ecstatic dancing ó that is, raving without the booze, smoke and drugs. Although the low lighting and throbbing music makes this feel like a club, it's actually the third-floor auditorium of the Children's Aid Society in SoHo, where Jonathan Horan teaches his weekly 5Rhythms dance class, also known as ecstatic dancing. Instead of eye popping cleavage or Prada pantsuits, dancers dress to sweat in tank tops, shorts and Lycra workout pants. Regular Mark Sklawer, director of Body Temple (www.bodytemple.info), a monthly, all-night, alcohol-free dance party, says people are tired of going to clubs and getting wasted. "These events are on the cutting edge of club culture and the wave of the future," he says.