Dances of Ecstasy
A documentary by Michelle Mahrer and Nicole Ma

DANCES OF ECSTASY is a sensory journey into the mesmerizing world of trance and ecstasy. Filmmakers Michelle Mahrer and Nicole Ma travelled to traditional and modern day rituals to discover what is the altered state experience which people seek through dance. In these rituals, Whirling Dervishes from Turkey, Orisha priestesses from Nigeria and Brazil, shaman healers from the Kalahari and Korea, and dancers in a Gabrielle Roth workshop in New York pulse to the same beat as thousands of young people at an all night techno dance party in an Australian forest. DANCES OF ECSTASY celebrates the universal human experience where rhythm and dance unite us. DANCES OF ECSTASY is an innovative documentary blending exciting dance rituals, evocative imagery, interviews, and a spellbinding global music soundtrack. The film is an inspiration to dance, and to reconnect with a sense of the sacred that many have lost touch with in modern life.

“The film grew out of my own passion for dancing. My aim was to take people on a sensory journey into the experience of trance. In this infinite dimension we can experience on a cellular level how we are part of one divine source that connects us.  In this limitless space there is no division between us, no walls of ego, of culture, of religion, of fear.” Michelle Mahrer

Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and Film Victoria.
Produced with the assistance of Film Finance Corporation Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ZDF Enterprises, Nederlandse Programma Stichting, Anna and Erlo Van Waveren Foundation, Australia-Korea Foundation

Click here to see Dances of Ecstasy on YouTube 


(2 DVD set 240’ total)

Dvd 1 features the one hour documentary and personal in depth documentaries about each of the rituals – including San of the Kalahari Namibia, Orisha ceremony Nigeria, Candomble Ritual Brazil, Kut Ritual Korea and the complete Sufi Zikir Ceremony, Turkey

Dvd 2 includes a do it yourself video ’THE POWER WAVE” led by Gabrielle Roth and 80 minutes of global grooves music tracks with leading artists such as Cheb i Sabbah, One Giant Leap, James Asher, Banco do Gaia, Bob Holroyd and others accompanied with psychedelic visuals by D-Fuse


The Dances of Ecstasy event combines the screening of the Dances of Ecstasy Dvd, with an uplifting dance and live music event in a warm welcoming environment. At this time in our history all around the world we are needing more than ever opportunities to feel our connection as one human family, the Dances of Ecstasy event creates this opportunity. It can be presented in different ways from large scale events at festivals, in music venues or nightclubs, to smaller community events and workshops in church halls. The film inspires people to dance. Following a screening with a dance event gives people an opportunity to experience what they have just seen. Local musicians and performers are invited to participate. The Dances of Ecstasy event is a joyful heart opening community experience that brings people together from different communities, ages and cultures, to celebrate our common humanity through dancing.

San Fransisco 
Los Angeles
Byron Bay
New York


“Dances of Ecstasy" is enthralling in its evocation of a mental and physical release that most of us long for"  The Age Australia

“The film provides a rare insider look into seldom seen rituals. It makes for a compelling ride that replicates the flow and force of the experiences it documents.” LA Weekly

“Dances of Ecstasy’s strength lies in the reminder that, as spiritual beings having a human experience ”wherever we go there we are” the human quest for revelation. Healing and enlightenment is a shared one and confirms that geographically divided as we are, we’re ultimately seeking the same thing. Wholeness” Groove radio LA

“Rich imagery, gorgeous music and velvety narration make for an unparalleled sensory experience.”
Citybeat Los Angeles


“And welcome we did feel. The décor, the performers, the musicians and the vibe made for no ordinary film experience and directly after the screening the music began whereby the crowd immediately and wholeheartedly accepted the invitation to dance
into a place of complete and dare I say it ecstasy”
“The film inspires dancing, it gives you permission to really let go. The dance party is great because it gives you an opportunity to experience what you have just seen”

“Thank you for a very special night: an inspirational film and beautiful music. Wonderful to connect in rhythm with so many people - a real feeling of community and joy freely dancing with many magic moments.”

“What a stunning evening you and the team were able to create. Magic.
truly magic. Amazing what happens when people unite with love and dance.”



About Michelle
5Rhythms Dance
Dance Therapy
Workshops & Events
Dances of Ecstasy
Michelle Mahrer Films