Strength, flexibility and balance are all critical for dancers who want to improve their technique without risking injury. In fact, they are all invaluable to lifelong health. Many people, Christians included, are looking to Yoga to gain these benefits.
Years ago, I took yoga, with the mindset, “I’m here for the physical benefits and not the spirituality.” I put on my Jesus filter when I walked into the studio. The physical benefits I experienced were undeniable. My balance improved. My posture improved. I grew stronger and more flexible. And I felt better physically. Honestly, it helped me prepare for natural child birth more than any class I took at the hospital. I was grateful for that.
But I always had nagging questions in my mind about engaging in yoga, because of its roots in eastern religion. And as a runner and dancer, I found my workout plate too full to take another yoga class, so I never developed a regular practice of yoga.
Several years ago, as I found mentors in worship dance, those I respected the most warned me to stay away from yoga unequivocally. The reasons they described resonated with the unease I had felt in my spirit. So, I decided to listen to their warnings and make a decision to purposely (not just because I didn’t have time) skip yoga, even “Christian yoga” (by the way, this article is not a case against Christian yoga, just an attempt to tell my story). For me, it was a “When in doubt, leave it out.” Continue reading “Strength, Flexibility and Balance without Yoga”
I’m soooo close to releasing the Devotions in Motion videos. It always amazes me how looong the technical part of producing a product and editing it takes. But there is a Proverb I love that says, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul.” I’ve been longing to make these available for over a year now, and my hope is that it will not only be sweet to my soul, but beneficial to many souls, as they use these in their morning devotions or teach them to their praise dance team.
Devotions in Motion will be released as a video download with 5 short, simple, and powerfully expressive devotional dances using the acronym for prayer, ABIDE. You can learn more by clicking here.
Would you pray for me in this final stretch? The work left at this time is technical, so I would appreciate grace with technology. I would also appreciate prayer that God would lead me to those who would benefit most from these and that they would be a blessing to others.
I also have it on my heart to schedule a local dance workshop here in Pasadena in the next 5-6 weeks and to offer a summer dance class as well. I’d so appreciate prayer for these things.
Please let me know in the comments section how I can pray for you.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
He also said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Mathew 6:6
I have found that when preparing to dance in ministry or to teach a class, I need to also be dancing at home in private. When I dance in private, I connect with Jesus. He’s the source of all true creativity, healing, beauty, and power. If I want those things to flow from my dance in ministry, I need to spend time with Him in private.
I also find that there is a battle that goes on inside me in the morning. I know that when I offer my body in praise and worship (that means I move in my devotions) that I experience breakthrough in my life. But something inside me resists moving. I want to sit comfortably under my covers, read the bible, and pray quietly. Now, there are plenty of mornings when I do just that, and it’s a lovely time with God.
But there are many mornings when I know He is saying, “Amy, get on your knees,” or “Amy, you need to move. I want more from you.” I always receive from Him when I’m obedient to Him, and yet, I so often resist it.
So, it’s been really helpful to me to have a pattern of prayer and some simple movements to do early in the day that get me moving. I’ve developed these devotional dances over the years from some of my favorite verses and from choruses to some of my favorite worship choruses.
Based on the acronym ABIDE, they give me starting point to engage my body, and, by engaging my body, to engage my heart.
I have taught them to classes of children as a pattern for prayer to begin our class, preparing ourselves to worship from the heart.
I’m excited about this project because it is truly accessible to worshipers of all ages and skill levels. The movements come out of expressive sign and can be done first thing in the morning, before you are ready to move your whole body. They can be done in a small place, beside your bed, on your couch, in your prayer closet. Because they consist primarily of upper body movements done in a posture of prayer, you can do them when your family is still asleep without awakening them.
On the videos, I teach these five devotional dances, step-by-step, so you can do them with me. I also include live video footage of me teaching this to a class of children, so that you can see how it works to teach them to a group. You will be blessed by their hearts of worship.
When you purchase Devotions in Motion, the videos will be available to watch online or to download and keep on your own computer. I have my heart set on releasing a physical DVD, but that happen later.
What can you do if you are interested in these videos? If you aren’t already subscribed to my mailing list, make sure you subscribe right now, so that you’ll get an email as soon as it is available. Please also be praying for this project, that I’ll do it in the time and way that is pleasing to Him and that will benefit others.
Take a minute and share in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think. I’d also love to hear how dancing in your devotions makes a difference in your life.
I’m thrilled to announce that the online course, Teaching Worship Dance to Children is open for enrollment now. Praise God. I released a preview version of the new videos for this course and got great feedback (see the testimonials below). I also got some great ideas for improving the class. I listened to your feedback and added more live videos, suggestions for classroom management, and shared my favorite places to purchase garments for children and patterns as well. So take a look:
In this online course, you’ll receive:
• Teaching Children who Love to Dance to Worship when they Dance: Five short videos (46 minutes total) with study notes with ideas you can to help children worship wholeheartedly when they dance. $20 value
• And a Child Shall Lead Them – Audio Class: Two one hour audio lessons with slides and study notes taught by Amy Tang and Jocelyn Richard titled, And a Child Shall Lead Them. In this class, you’ll learn how to set a foundation for worshipful children’s dance, how to use And a Child Shall Lead Them – Ten Worship Dance Lessons for Children in the classroom to help children keep the right heart attitude for worship, to build a vocabulary of worship, to dance the scriptures, and to dance with their faces. You’ll also hear tips on how to start a dance class in the community. $20 value
• And a Child Shall Lead Them – Ten Worship Dance Lessons for Children, e-Manual with supplementary video downloads – The e-book version of Amy’s worship dance curriculum, including the e-manual and 2 supplementary videos (27 minutes total), will be available for you to download immediately. (Already own it? There’s an option to purchase the course without the curriculum.) This is a digital version of the book and videos. $29 value
• Bonus Materials: $18 value
The Lord’s Prayer Video – This (6 minutes) video will teach you gesture for the Lord’s prayer along with everyday movements to help children (or adults) remember it and have fun with it. This devotional dance is also a fun activity for dance classes and workshop.
Tips to Keeping Your Classroom Running Smoothly So You Can Teach – Amy Tang shares tips on how to keep children engaged, focused, and happy in class. She shares from her own experience teaching worship dance class and teaching in public and private schools along with some tips from other experienced teachers.
Suggestions for Buying or Making Garments and Props for Children – Amy Tang shares her favorite vendors for children’s praise dance garments and props, a couple of patterns for creating skirts for children, and a couple of simple tricks for dressing children beautifully without purchasing new garments.
•Access to the Teaching Worship Dance to Children Private Facebook Group – Here you’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with and learn from others who are teaching worship dance to children. I know I’m not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to teaching worship dance to children. I’ve simply put what I’ve learned and what the Lord has given to me in a format to help others. You all have a wealth of wisdom and experience to share. While this page will give you access to me, it will, more importantly, give you access to each other. You can post ideas, suggestions, and questions, and resources. I will respond to questions asked and will look forward to you all answering as well. I think this could end up being one of the most valuable aspects of the course.
All the course materials can be watched online and accessed anywhere that you have wifi and can be dowloaded onto your computer, so you can keep them forever.
Read what others have said about Amy’s teaching materials for children:
God bless you and your amazing work! I am so glad I purchased the dance curriculum… what a powerful tool! And, might I add, Jocelyn is right, you have already done the work. I feel as if you are right here coaching alongside as I implement with my one worship dancer … she is 8 and has such a heart to dance for the Lord.. a true worshiper! More importantly… I am learning and being equipped as I study your course outline… Thank you, Amy! – Bobbi Andrade
Your teaching is so clear that anyone watching would be able to receive the tools they need to use your concepts. Your ideas were great. I love that you included some video as well. – Nanette
All the material sounds like great tools to use while working with children. I really felt the portion on Teaching children to dance devotionally is a SEED that will help them grow and instill in them a personal connection with HIM that will last a lifetime. Beautiful work! – Denise
It’s extremely helpful. It helped me learn how to “worship” and just not “dance” and how to teach same to children. – Merthene
Don’t change anything. I can tell that the lessons are always prepared in Love and of The Spirit to Worship The LORD. – J’Sue
The practical lesson ideas were so helpful for getting me started. I also love the various ways you’ve described that will help children dance for worship rather than just for fun. – Maria
These worship dance lessons are spelled out for you, she has professional photographs in this ebook for you. All the work is done, all you have to do is pray and get your children together and worship the Lord. — Jocelyn Richard, The Praise Dance Life
Purchase the Full Course: (You’ll receive an email with acccess to the course within 12 hours of making payment)
Purchase a hard copy of the manual with your course:
(You’ll receive an email with acccess to the course within 12 hours of making payment)
Price: $62 + shipping
Already own my children’s praise dance curriculum?
(You’ll receive an email with acccess to the course within 12 hours of making payment)
Purchase the rest of the course separately:
(does not include course e-manual or its supplementary video downloads)
If you get asked to minister through with short notice, do you have a solo ready to go?
Do you need help choreographing a powerful and meaningful dance for Resurrection Sunday?
Do you find yourself going to the same familiar movements when choreographing?
I had the chance to dance this past weekend at the concert for the Dancing for Him Conference I attended in Santa Maria. I’ve been busy with several projects and did not feel like now was the time to choreograph a new dance, but I knew it would be a blessing to be able to participate in the conference. So, I agreed to dance and revisited a solo I choreographed last year.
This dance is a signature dance for me in that it’s to a song whose words resonate deeply with me by an artist I love. It’s full of the expressive kinds of movements that I feel bring the words of a song to life. And I know it very well.
Do you have a dance like this, one you can pull out on short notice and dance with confidence and peace? If not, I encourage you to take the time to choreograph one. It will allow you to be ready in season and out of season to minister.
Below you can watch my dance. You may recognize this one, as I shared it last spring at a farewell ceremony at the church my family was leaving. Of course, I revisited the choreography last week. I prayed about it and danced to a verse that I didn’t use the first time I danced to it. But the song was still so familiar to me, not just the words and the choreography, but the heart of the message.
When at this conference, I purchased a fabulous choreography DVD that I want to share with you: Worship Expressions and the Solo Dancer.
This DVD is like getting three DVD’s in one. In the first part, Pastor Lynn teaches a solo dance to the song My Hope. This is a contemporary worship dance that ministers. She demonstrates the dance, facing forward. Then she teaches it, facing backwards, or our sakes. And then she walks us through it as she faces backwards, talking us through the choreography. This makes it easy to learn, although it still takes attention and practice.
In the second part, Pastor Lynn gives Do’s and Don’ts for the dancer choreographing a solo, which are demonstrated by conference dancers.
After the Dos and Don’ts, there are a plethora of expressive movements to phrases that go with common expressions in worship songs. I loved that these were demonstrated in many ways: First, simply by individuals. Next, individuals embodied phrases while using techniques from dance composition to add interest and variety. After that, groups demonstrated worship expressions. Then, to make the expressions all the more powerful, groups combined many different expressions and group shapes. They were breathtaking.
I have all of Pastor Lynn’s DVDs and I can honestly say this is one of the richest and most dense of all Pastor Lynn’s DVD’s, equipping both the solo dancer and the group choreographer with a multitude of ideas.
Here’s a short tutorial I created from the DVD:
So, if you want to build your movement vocabulary, be inspired with more ideas than you can imagine right now, and gain practical wisdom for choreographing a solo (by the way, there are powerful ideas for group choreography as well), I encourage you to purchase this DVD. It will be a blessing and will bear fruit in your dance.
You can purchase it here or click on the product description for more details.
How do you help children who love to dance to truly worship when they dance?
How do you get through to their hearts to establish a mindset for ministry?
How do you help them get beyond their self consciousness to truly worship?
How do you help them use props with a purpose, to use them as tools and not as toys?
How do you strengthen their ability to lead and choreograph?
How do you encourage them to worship in private, so their dance flows from their own relationship with the Lord?
I’ve been asked these questions. I’ve asked them myself.
Answering these questions is my passion, and God has enabled me to teach worship dance to children in a way that touches their hearts and enables them to touch the Lord’s heart and the hearts of those before whom they dance.
Even though I’m talking about children and my lessons were written with children in mind, all of this applies to adults as well. So if you are leading a team of adults or teens, this will help you as well. All of the principles apply.
In this online course, you’ll receive five 5-7 minute videos with ideas you can to help children worship wholeheartedly when they dance.
This is a review version, so it will be available to you online through February 21. After that, I’ll take it down and combine it with other valuable resources for an online course.
So, take advantage of this window of time when the course is available for no charge. I hope it will bless you.
Is it a buzzword to make our dances sound more spiritual?
Is it only for a few who are particularly gifted?
Does a prophetic dance have to be spontaneous?
If I feel called to dance prophetically, how can I mature in this gifting?
In the Prophetic Dance DVD and book, Pastor Lynn Hayden demystifies prophetic dance and gives a multitude of suggestions for how you and your team can practice hearing from God and delivering his message, and she also gives some helpful cautions to those wanting to be a mouthpiece for God to others.
Read on to hear specifics and to watch a 4 minute video teaching I created from on prophetic dance, including a short dance I felt the Lord gave me for a specific group of people.
In her book, Prophetic Dance, and the DVD that complements it, Pastor Lynn gives clear teaching on what prophetic dance is and offers a multitude of ways a dancer or dance team can practice prophetic dance. She begins by giving a working definition of prophecy: to minister the heart of God to another. In prophecy, we call those things into existence that be not as though they were.
As dancers, we deliver the prophetic word through movement. The movements we use are not just beautiful or interesting, they carry meaning in the spiritual realm. So, as we dance under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Lord uses our movements to bring about healing, deliverance, and release of captives.
Pastor Lynn explains that prophetic dance differs even from other forms of worship dance. In prophetic dance we use music (or the spoken word) written/spoken in the first person, and our movements are directed towards the people. We make eye contact and gesture towards the people in order to deliver a message to them from the Lord.
This is different from when we dance to praise songs that are written to or about the Lord. In those songs, we are gesturing towards the Lord, speaking to Him. We hope to draw others into praise by ourselves embodying praise and worship. But in prophetic dance, the message is for the congregation or for the individual, and so we direct our focus towards them.
Pastor Lynn also debunks the common misperception that prophetic dance must be spontaneous. While often the movements are spontaneous, because we are listening to the Holy Spirit for what He wants to say in that moment and to whom, they can also be choreographed. The Lord can give a message ahead of time about what He wants to say to a congregation or individual and, as we pray and listen, give us choreography for a dance. That dance, because it is a word from the Lord to the people, is prophetic.
The book and DVD are full of activities that a dancer or dance team can use to grow in the ability to hear from God and communicate His word through dance. Pastor Lynn encourages dancers and groups to practice, to relax, to trust that He will speak. She also gives several safeguards, mindful that speaking for the Almighty God is a tremendous privilege and responsibility that we don’t take lightly.
Please share in the comments your experiences with prophetic dance.
How did you know what the Lord wanted you to say through movement?
Do you ever get a worship song just days before you need to dance to it?
Would your worship leader like you to dance more often in praise and worship than you feel your team can prepare for?
Do your team members need a chance to spread their wings and lead?
If so, you will love learning how to use what Lynn Hayden calls “planned spontaneity” to choreograph a powerful and unique dance in a very short time.
In the video that follows, I explain how I planned out a worship dance for a team of five or more dancers – planning out the props, colors, formations, and basic flow – that, with leadership from different team members, they could implement with just these simple instructions. Continue reading “Choreographing a Dance on Short Notice”
Several People have asked me for DVDs with dances that have already been choreographed, so I thought I would share a few that I love and have available in my store. Make sure to read to the end to learn about the special offer available until the end of September.
Divine Choreography Tips and Techniques – In addition to giving you a wealth of ideas and techniques for choreography, this DVD has a completely choreographed reproducible dance, broken down step by step.
Dance, Dance, Dance DVD – This DVD describes the many Hebrew, Greek, & English words found in the bible and then depicts, through movement, their related scriptures. In addition to giving you a multitude of activities you can use with your team to bring the scriptures to life, it contains an intermediate level dance to Psalm 23.
Expressive Worship and Sign DVD – The teaching on this DVD has given me countless ideas for choreography and class activities as Lynn teaches how to use expressive sign in your dances. At the end,