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Improving Technique: Modern Dance at home

modern dance technique trainingAre you taking any dance classes right now? If not, I encourage you to, and if you don’t feel you can, I share a super affordable resource for improving your training at home.

As worship dancer said at a workshop I attended, Get training so that your body doesn’t get in the way of what your spirit wants to say.

Jocelyn Richard, my mentor, always encourages her students invest in their training, to take live classes in the studio. This week, I took a modern dance class where I met another sister who has been mentored by Jocelyn, Jennifer Oliver. We took the picture below for Jocelyn, to let her know we were together and were investing in our training. We wanted to make her proud.

I’ve been taking another modern dance class on Saturdays for the past couple of years. You’ve probably heard me share about how challenging this class is. The other students are way above my level, enough so that I often have to talk myself into going (Read my story about this class When is it Okay to Give Up? If you need encouragement.) Even though I often feel super clumsy in class, I can see a big difference in my technique. Pastor Lynn noticed it at the last conference I attended with her. There is nothing like being in a live class where you get stretched beyond your comfort level and receive correction.

Having said that, few of us have the time or resources to take as many live classes as we would like to. We are mothers with kids at home, or we work full time, or we are busy with our own dance ministries. And live classes are expensive. They’re worth it, but you still have to have the money in the bank to write the check. So, most of us don’t take as many classes as we’d like.

So, today, I want to share with you three free video tutorials and a DVD that you can use at home.
Continue reading “Improving Technique: Modern Dance at home”

What should I wear to minister in dance?

What should I wear to minister in dance?
Is what is appropriate for the stage appropriate for the sanctuary?
Do I need to wear layers of skirts when I dance to be holy?
I know that my dance is to be set apart for the LORD’s purposes. What does that mean for what I am to wear?

regular clothes as worship garments
My dancers and I in 2010 in our red and black clothing, simple, beautiful street clothing

When I started dancing in worship, my answers to those questions were fairly simple: I was worshiping, so I wore clothes suitable for Sunday worship, ones that were modest, flexible enough to move in, and beautiful. I shopped in regular stores when preparing for a ministry piece, choosing skirts and pants that flowed and tops that fit the color scheme I had been led to. I always kept my eye out for street clothes that could also be dance clothes.

Praise dance choreography tips using motif
Dressed for beauty and God’s glory in this gold overlay, full white skirt, with culottes underneath.

When I connected with the praise dance community and gained training, my answers changed some. I saw and loved what my fellow worship dancers wore – flowing dresses, beautiful overlays, culottes underneath skirts for additional flow and modesty. I learned good reasons to dress this way, for modesty, for beauty, for God’s glory. I started shopping at the websites of anointed worship dancers who created garments specially for worship.

Now I am again part of a start up church for which dancing in worship is unfamiliar to most. It would feel out of place for me to arrive for worship in a long white dress and sequined overlay. To those in worship, it would look like a costume and would set me apart as a performer. So again, I have asked myself the questions above.

I dressed in street clothes to dance at the first worship service of our new church. The pictures show the small space that my dance had to fit into.

My friend, Leslie Passerino, a powerfully anointed dance minister, shared with me an article she wrote as she asked the Lord some of the same questions. The answers the Lord spoke to her spoke to some of my questions, and so I thought they might speak to some of yours. I share this with you humbly, with not intention to tell you what you must or must not wear, but perhaps to give you some freedom to ask the Lord yourself.

Here is what Leslie wrote. (French is her first language. I wish my French was as good as her English. I have left the story in her words.)

Two years ago, I started to question myself about garment….I looked after the “perfect garments” but nothing came on my heart nor through prayer nor through a revelation nor through a dream. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.

So, I doubted that my calling was to be a dance minister or a simple dancer. But the Holy Spirit confirmed me I was called. For sure the garments are to be modest even they are simple. But I desperate to find something. I tried so much, and when I say “so much” I mean it. During two years, I received a lot of opinions from France, from Montreal and from USA…. But nothing resonates in my heart. It was a nightmare. I focused so hard on it that I missed the point.

  1. Garments are important but NOT vital
  2. Garments should fit with your church, your calling and your anointing
  3. Garments should not be about ME but about HIM.

So, I realised that I was totally to much vain here. Need to repent first. So, from end of February 2017 to middle of April I almost did not dance. We had a special event where we, all the dancers, wore red and white garments.  After my time off to release my futility and my pride out off me, The Holy Spirit talked to me. He asked me five questions:

  1. How is your church? Answer: cutting edge, trendy, prophetic, caring people, anointed for emotional healing.
  2. How is your city? Answer: full of different people from all nations, a lot of activities outside, trendy, open mind, happy, colorful
  3. What kind of clothes wore Jesus during his ministry? Answer: amazing fabric, one piece, but SIMPLE… not like a king.
  4. Why? If He was dressed as a king it would be difficult to touch Him, to be near of HIM… So, with his “simple clothes” people could come closed to Him and be healed, saved, delivered.
  5. So, what does it mean to you now? Answer: I have to be just me, dance outside, talk to people, love them, pray for them, show them how HE loves them through the movement

Leslie’s answer was that, in her context and for her calling, the layers of flowing garments fit for the daughter of a king were not fitting. She was to wear simple clothing that did not draw attention to herself, distinguish her from those to whom she ministered, or attract attention.

For others, the answer will be different. The answer need not be the same for every dance.  What I love about Leslie’s story is that she did not only ask the experts. She asked the Lord, and He gave her an answer. Reading her story gives me freedom. I am grateful for what I have learned from the experts, but it does not exempt me from asking, “What do you want me to wear here, now, with these people?”

Please joint the discussion in the comments section. Feel free to respond honestly.

What do you think?
How is your church? How is your city? What does that mean for you?
What has the Lord shown you?
Do you dress differently in different contexts?
Is there any absolute from scripture that you know you must check any revelation you or others receive against?

What not to do with worship props

Anyone who has taught worship dance to children has experienced one of these challenges:

  • Children using their streamers as swords
  • A child pouting because they did not get the flag/streamer of their choice
  • A child getting hit in the head by the flag pole of another child who is unaware

I have a section in my online class Teaching Worship Dance to Children entitled Using Props with a Purpose. In it, I give suggestions for teaching children how and why to use props in such a way that they are tools for ministry and not toys. It’s a helpful section to head off the problems listed above before they happen or how to use them as teachable moments if they do.

using flags in worship wiselyBut there is a much greater error we can make when using props in worship dance than any of those that the children commonly make. It’s a mistake any one of us is vulnerable to make if we are not careful, and,  it can even be a life or death issue.

Continue reading “What not to do with worship props”

Living God’s Dreams – Ministry Activation

Are you awaiting the fulfillment of dreams that God has given you?

Have you faced setbacks that cause you to question whether the dream will be fulfilled?

Are you or others with whom you serve weary of waiting for a dream to be fulfilled?

Do you ever get frustrated by the dreamers in your life?

If so, you’ll find this message from Wesley Scott Amos’ book, The Transforming Journey encouraging and perhaps even convicting in a way that leads to renewal.

I’ve created a video explaining a ministry activation you can do with your team or congregation, renewing hope for the fulfillment of the dreams God has given and releasing power and encouragement for the journey. Continue reading “Living God’s Dreams – Ministry Activation”

Why Use Flags or Banners in Worship?

worship flags scriptureWhat is the point of using flags or banners in worship?

Does the bible say anything about worshiping with flags?

Are flags a distraction, drawing people’s attention to the dancer when they should be worshiping?

Have you asked or been asked any of these questions? If so, read on to learn how flags were used in scripture and four important ways you can use them in spiritual warfare and ministry in worship.

In Processionals, Props and Pageantry, Pastor Lynn Hayden talks about the scriptural significance of banners. Scripture uses the words, banner, ensign, flag and standard. All of these are used in reference to warfare and, you will see, are relevant to our worship. Watch this 9-minute video to learn how.

Thanks so much for joining me today. Please join the discussion.

Why do you use flags or banners in worship?

What you have seen the Lord do when you have worshiped with flags?

Did this video raise any questions for you?

I’d love to hear from you.

Worshipful Ronde de Jambe sequence

ballet for worshipThe ronde de jambe is one of my favorite movements in dance. It is so graceful and communicates reverence and adoration. So, when given the assignment to create a tutorial from Lynn Hayden’s Ballet III DVD, I chose her ronde de jambe sequence.  You can watch this 4 minutes video below. Enjoy and feel free to borrow from for your own choreography. Continue reading “Worshipful Ronde de Jambe sequence”

Post Sabbatical Reflections

Last October, I felt led to take a sabbatical from my blog and email community for a season. That decision came after a soul searching conversation with my friend Marlita Hill, who has a way of helping draw out from me my heart concerns as well as hopes. You can read more about that conversation here.

Now, I’m standing at the other end of that sabbatical and it’s time to share the gifts that came out of that time with the hope that it will encourage you.

First of all, Continue reading “Post Sabbatical Reflections”

Why I’m taking a Sabbatical

fear-of-laying-it-downI had a great conversation with my friend Marlita Hill several weeks back. The first thing I said to her, when I saw her that day was, “I’m feeling thwarted.”

On that sunny Thursday morning, I had left the house with grand plans: I would drop my boys off at the co-op where they take classes (I teach there on other days, but Thursday is my day off). After that, I would relish a couple of hours in reflection and post to my blog before meeting Marlita for coffee.

Instead, Continue reading “Why I’m taking a Sabbatical”

Top Ten Posts for Worship Dance Leaders

I’m on sabbatical from posting to my blog*, but want to continue giving you access to valuable resources that will help you with your dance ministry. *If you would like to know why, click here.

Here are ten of my favorite blog posts from the last four years. I pray each one encourages and equips you as you dance for Him:

  1. What does the Lord think of Dance? What’s the purpose of Dance in ministry?
  2. My Seven Favorite Choreography Tips
  3. Is God Tapping you on the Shoulder
  4. What Every Worship Dancer Needs to Know about Worshiping with Flags
  5. What I wish Every Dance Team Member Knew
  6. How to Dance the Scriptures 
  7. How to Invite Your Congregation to Join the Dance
  8. Seven Benefits to Teaching Worship Dance to Children Outside the Church
  9. Why Not You?
  10. Sometimes You Have to Get Out of the Way

 

Are you capable?

dancers confidence quoteDo you see yourself as capable?

How confident are you that you can complete the tasks you believe God has given you?

What do you tell yourself about yourself?

As worship dancers, our confidence is so often under attack. We often question our sense of call and whether we are worthy of the assignments we feel called to.

God cares very much about how we see ourselves. What He wants from us and for us is often different and always better than what we believe or deserve.

In this post, I’m going to share about a phrase from the bible that challenged me to change the way I think and speak about myself. I’ve got a gift for you in the post as well. Continue reading “Are you capable?”