Only in Bali do you hear the words ‘colonic irrigation’ and ‘ecstatic dancing’ in the same sentence. Actually only in Ubud. I told you – it’s like Brighton only on some parallel universe where things are enhanced to the power of 100.
I was feeling down, despite the fact I was at the time eating the most succulent ribs a pig ever parted company with; someone suggested some ecstatic dancing. I thought why not? I’m back on the saying yes and Fuck it to everything. When I do that things tend to get better.
I turn up late for my date with ecstasy. I find thirty or so adults on the floor – some lying prone, others waving their limbs in the air like seaweed caught in a current. The music is the kind you usually find in new age spas or amongst mating whales. I realise immediately that I am not dressed for the occasion (from slum tour to new age dance I never seem to get it right). I am wearing my knock off Missoni. The people at my feet are all in yoga clothing, and for the boys, fisherman’s trousers and bare chests seem de rigeur, though in one case I do spy a waistcoast over the bare chest. I lie on the floor. Near the exit.
The teacher tells us (over a trance version of Amazing Grace) that we must open our hearts and have a pillow talk with God. I roll over onto my stomach and use the wooden floor as a pillow, not to talk to God but to stifle my giggles. Then I open one eye and squint across the room. Everyone else is now on their knees taking their seaweed moves up a notch. Clearly their pillow talk with God has moved onto third base. I close my eyes and start waving my arms, arching my back and generally looking like someone with a powerful voltage charge being shot through them (think Girl Interrupted or that scene in The Changeling when they strap Ange down and electrode the heck out of her). I stagger to standing, sneaking more peeks at the rest of the class –some of whom are now spinning, handstanding and leg slapping through some electro dance beats.
This is somewhat like The Loft parties I think, except with no balloons, fewer disco tracks and more flailing limbs. Also at the Loft one doesn’t find people lying down on the floor whenever they feel like it for a personal conversation with God (that’s because they’re outside smoking their way to him).
Mid-dance (I’m now thoroughly getting into it)I hear the sounds of someone having an orgasm. I sidestep quickly in case I’m in the firing range. The sound of heavy panting, sighs and screams starts to echo around the room. I’m too scared to open my eyes in case I see everyone naked and writhing around me in an orgiastic froth.
God really delivers.
For the final five minutes we are invited to open our dance to others in the room. Being English I shuffle over to the corner, keep my head down and eyes averted and dance with myself in my own space sending out fuck off don’t come near signals. I watch with building hysteria as the waistcoated guy who I’d assumed was gay starts trying to dance with a stunning Chinese girl (the only other girl in the room wearing a dress). He is rolling her onto his back, stretching her legs up in the air, folding her over like a bedsheet, they are trying to co-ordinate but it’s like watching a comedy skit of two people with no talent doing an unironic audition for the Ballet Rambert.
I want to die laughing.
I am so going back next week.