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Best Alternative Religious Event 

Ecstatic Dance

No, this is not the place to bring your out-of-town friends for a night of dancing. Sure, people do dance for hours at Ecstatic Dance, but the vibe is all about the spiritual connection with self and others, not the beer-sipping pickup. You're more likely to spot a couple sitting on a yoga mat in a tantric pose than bumping and grinding on the dance floor, where talking is off-limits and hands are often raised in prayer. Matthew Fox, a former Episcopalian priest, is the head of the organization that rents out the Historic Sweets' Ballroom, where Ecstatic Dance is held every Wednesday night and Sunday morning. He describes the event as a non-denominational off-shoot of his Cosmic Mass, the bi-annual Christian rave that mixes techno music with prayer and projects psychedelic images of Jesus. Fox says the physical movement is a form of spiritual release and worship. It allows people from all beliefs to come together and share in a spiritual space — a contemporary collective trance if you will. "The modern version of worship — of sitting on a bench and being read to — is on the way out. It's boring everybody, including the pastors," he says. "People are hungry and thirsty for something to touch their hearts and souls."

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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