What do you need to make an impact in dances, inspiration or knowledge of choreography? In Divine Choreography, Lynn Hayden’s answer is both. She begins by explaining that “Whatever offering you bring to the Lord (if it is presented with a humble and submissive worshiper’s heart) will be a sweet smelling savor to our Lord.” (p.11) At the same time, she points out that “if a dance is interesting and has a lot of variety, it will, more than likely hold the audience’s attention longer and thereby minister more effectively.” (p. 22). So, she first instructs the dancer to pray over a dance, listen to the song over and over, to listen to the Spirit, and to consider fasting, so that the inspiration comes from the Lord. This is what makes the choreography divine and opens the way for God’s anointing. Then, she goes on to teach principles of choreography, so that the anointed dancer can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, fashion a dance that is artistic, has variety, holds the attention of the audience, and therefore ministers.
Until a few years ago, almost all of the group dances I choreographed were like a multi-person solo in which all the dancers did almost all of the same movements. There were times when I had dancers move in a circle together or pair up for a complimentary movement, but that was the exception. I had no training in choreography. I simply choreographed for groups the movements that I would choreograph for myself.
About three years ago, I purchased the Divine Chreography DVD and it was like finding a gold mine. The inspiration I gained from it added so much depth and interest to my dances. I had a great time that summer teaching my students how to add variety to choreography. I had them do the same pose but at different levels, or facing different directions. I taught them the stage positions and had them walk to different positions, hold a pose, and then walk to another position. We made group shapes, practiced complementary and contrasting movements, and struck poses in sequence. Everyone loved it. It made even simple movements look interesting and powerful. That was one of my favorite classes to teach, because it was all new to me, and delightful for the students.
A week ago, I watched my dance team present a dance that they choreographed without any help from me. The dance began with two of the dancers bowing completely low, with their faces to the ground while the dancer in the center was up on her knees, gazing upwards with her arms extended down and to her sides with her palms facing outward. They simply held this pose for the first 8 counts. Even though they weren’t moving, the pose was gripping. The contrast between the girls on the ground and the dancer looking upwards, the two in a closed posture and the one in an open posture, added interest and effect. The girls rose, first one to do a solo for 8-12 counts, then the other. The solos were unique, but both communicated longing for the Lord. I was amazed by their choreography. Divine Choreography gave me a vocabulary to describe some of what was so powerful about their dance. The dancers don’t have a lot of background with choreography, but the one leading has a deep relationship with Jesus. Their dance exemplified both the technical aspects of this book as well as the principle that “The key … to divine inspirations within our choreography is our personal relationship with the Lord from whom all blessings and inspirations flow.” (p. 16) At the same time, whether deliberately or because the Lord gave them the choreography, they used principles of choreography that made the dance more interesting, holding our attention so that the dance ministered.
Learning the techniques described in the Divine Choreography book and illustrated in the DVD has expanded my ability to choreograph and to fashion dances that minister. Pray about purchasing either the DVD or the book.