The ROMP, a nude dance party for men, was originally the idea of Steve Wells who created the Crossroads Learning Center, a non-profit forum for the free exchange of ideas and practices for transformation and healing. As with so many other wonderful events, the ROMP was a culmination of space, timing, and response to a need. Crossroads provided the space and the time had come for a deeper men's healing experience.
Thinking back on experiences from erotic massage workshops for men with the Body Electric School, Steve remembered a time when the participants danced naked through the halls of the Center. Recalling the intense joy and freedom this inspired, the idea was born to create nude dance parties for men, which came to be called "Naked Men Dancing".
The intent was to generate a setting for a Healing Experience. One where men of all body sizes, shapes,colors and ages could come together in an erotically charged atmosphere, yet without the pressure of sexual interaction. This would be an event in which men could let down their guard through being naked and dancing together; letting the music and eroticism move them to free inhibitions, overcome body image issues and experience the joy of naked connectedness. The theme that this was "NOT a Sex Party, and definitely a Sexy Party" was established from the beginning.
The concept was to provide a safe space where the energy of sexuality could be transmuted through the interaction with music and dance into spiritual awakening and healing. To provide sacred and safe space, opening and closing rituals were performed originally by Steve and then by local two-spirit medicine person ThunderCloud. This provided the stated intent and energetic container for sacred healing to occur.
To create these events Steve called upon his friend Moonsong. By working together with many other community members they put together the first Naked Men Dancing as a First Harvest Celebration for Lughnasadh on August 6, 1994, where they exhorted the dancers to "Sacrifice Your Clothes!".
Given the success of this event, a second was created for Samhain (Halloween) and called, "Who Was that Masked Man?". This "Un/costume Ball" hosted over 170 men un/wearing amazingly creative un/dress and included fabulous light fare and a live DJ to spin some great world dance music. The next was for Imbolc, on Feb. 2, "The Sap is Rising". A fourth event happened at Beltane (May Day evening) "Bring Your Own Maypoles", and the final event on Gay Pride/Solstice weekend, 1995 was called "Pride and Joysticks".
After a short hiatus of several months, Jay Hogan stepped in with Todd Hildebrandt, Dean Cook, Jeff Danese, Bonner and others. Undertaking the responsibilities from Steve and Moonsong, they moved forward with Naked Men Dancing, changing the name to Romp Naked. These events continued to be held at the Crossroads Learning Center until 1997.
After Crossroads closed in 1997 the ROMP moved to Jeff Hengst's artist studio where you one will find many erotic male paintings on the walls. Jeff does a variety of artwork including many gender combinations and is a well established artist. Part of the inspiration for the erotic male line of his work was from attending some of the original Naked Men Dancing events. Jeff was thrilled to have the ROMP occur at his studio and be a continuing source of inspiration for his work.
Since the beginning, there were many calls of concern over the dances. These included calls from men who either couldn't imagine being naked together in larger groups or who had fear of exposing their bodies due to shame, image issues, and the like; to those who couldn't imagine being together naked and not having sex.
Rewardingly, many of these same men called after the event to express the difference the ROMP has made in their lives; how being naked and dancing in a room full of other men of all shades, ages and sizes gave them the opportunity to allow the shame, sexuality or body concerns to just be and eventually disappear for the evening. Ironically, once at the ROMP folks often find it's actually uncomfortable to be wearing clothes when everyone else is naked. Many have declared the ROMP as one of the most profound experiences of their lives and have returned again and again to help create the event, and some have even found lasting relationships at these events.
Then of course there are calls from women who desire to come and watch, or those who think perhaps it's an interesting "floor show". Obviously, not everyone understands the true nature of these happenings. And, in fact, until you've been to one it may be difficult to imagine just how profound it can be. The power to heal we have the capacity generate when we come together can be tremendous!.
The Romp Naked continues as a Sacred Rite. The location may vary, the men who attend may vary, the organizers of the event may vary; and yet, the Healing Magic of Transformation continues. Each man who attends has his own unique experience. What will be yours?