The emphasis is on participation regardless of ability, the dances are almost never performed before an audience. Dancers of all levels of ability dance together and each dance it usually taught afresh at each performance.
The practise of the dance is claimed to develop the participants' spiritual awareness , awareness of their own body and awareness of the presence of others.
They were originally performed at camps and meetings with a distinctly new age and alternative feel but have increasingly come to be offered in schools, colleges, prisons, hospices, residential homes for those with special needs, and holistic health centres .
The original dances were strongly influenced by the Sufi and Zen traditions (Sema) but dances drawing on teachings of all main religious and spiritual traditions have been added since then. Dances drawing on the traditions of native peoples have also been included.