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I found I could not do without this

joy becomes survivalSometimes what we do for our joy becomes necessary for our survival. That was true for me last week, on our family vacation.

Several years ago, I started using Lynn Hayden’s Stretch and Adoration DVD as part of my weekly exercise regimen. I only did it regularly because it was assigned to me as part of my course of studies; however, when the term ended, I continued to use this DVD at least once a week, because I had grown to love how it made me feel. It has been part of my exercise routine for a couple of years now, not as a “have-to” but as a “love-to, want-to, don’t-want-to-miss-it.”

Stretching tutorial
Click image for more information

But last week, it became a “need-to” and “can’t get by without it.” My family was traveling. We drove fifteen hours from Southern California, where we live, to Oregon, to visit dear friends. I love road trips for the time they provide for reflection and good conversation and for listening to pod casts and music. But spending fifteen hours in a car wreaked havoc on my body. It left me with aching back muscles and with a locked jaw that just would not release.

For the first several days, I neglected my stretching. After all, I didn’t have my regular spot or even my DVD with me. And we were waking up in the homes of friends and family, so I was anxious to get to conversations and the adventures of the day. But by our sixth day in town, after a trip to the chiropractor and
message therapist did not do enough to release my aching muscles, I realized that stretching could not be optional. It is necessary for my survival.

For the next three mornings, I played my worship musiworship exercise DVDc and followed the stretching routine that has become so familiar to me from this DVDs. As I stretched, I could feel my muscles saying, “Tha
nk you” and “It’s about time.” I could feel the tightness beginning to leave my muscles.

We were not created to be stationary. We were designed for motion. Stretching helps pull the kinks out of muscles that have been still for too long and restores muscles that have been working on overtime. It prevents injury and increases our mobility. And it feels so good.

So, if you haven’t worked stretching into your exercise routine, I encourage you to. As dancers, flexibility is crucial for our ability to dance over the long term. It enables us to improve our technique and tones our muscles. And it also provides time for reflection and prayer, a time of stillness for our souls while our bodies are both working and relaxing.

I encourage you to try one of Lynn Hayden’s stretching DVDs. If you are new to stretching, Stretch and Adoration is the best to start with. It is my favorite and ends with a time of worship and prayer. Balance and Stretch and Strength and Balance are great to follow on with. They contain more advanced stretches and also end with a delightful time of relaxation.

If you try these, let me know what you think. What may start as a “should-do” will be come a “don’t-want-to-miss-it,” and some time, like me, you may find that you cannot afford to miss it.

Here I’ve included a short tutorial teaching one of the techniques on the Stretch and Adoration DVD. Enjoy!

Archive Summer Dance Camp 2016

Do you have a child who loves to dance?
Are you looking for meaningful summer activities for your child?
Would you like to see your child connect their love for dance with a love for the Lord?

Then this camp is for you.

Psalm 141 instructs us to “Make His Praise Glorious.” In this week-long summer dance camp, you child will learn to do just that. We will focus on using flags, streamers, and billow cloths to offer our praise to Jesus.

Here’s what your child has to look forward to:

Monday: Words are Not Enough. Children will build a worship vocabulary using expressive sign and worship flags.
Tuesday: Not Empty but Full – Divine Choreography Begins in our Hearts. Children will learn the difference between empty and full worship dance and how to use simple choreography techniques to create beautiful movements.
Wednesday: Colors Speak – Pay attention to Meaning. Children will learn to use props with a purpose, as tools, not toys.
Thursday: Beautiful Warriors – Our Weapon is Praise. Children will learn the biblical significance of waving  banners and will learn to use billow cloths to create glorious expressions of praise.
Friday: Ministering through Dance – Putting it All Together. Children will put the techniques and lessons we’ve learned together and will share a worshipful dance to minister to their parents.

Each child registered before June 20 will receive a set of beautiful worship flags to keep.

Who: Children ages 7 and up

Where: Magnolia Dance Space 4 Esther Street
When: June 27 – July 1, 10 AM-12 PM
Cost: $80 online registration rate, $85 at the door

Praise Dance Camp highlights video

praise dance camp childrenOf all the praise dance classes I’ve taught children over the year, this year’s praise dance camp brought me a particular joy. This group engaged with the spiritual content with more depth of understanding than I have experienced before. Their answers reflected that they have been taught to love and worship the Lord at home and that they truly listened and received the lessons God gave me for them.

In this post, I share several that blessed me and a 3-minute highlight video that brings these comments to life. Continue reading “Praise Dance Camp highlights video”

Watch this Dance of Revelation

dancing with power
Scroll down to watch this dance of revelation.

This week at our house church, a new friend shared with me the story of his falling out with God, with Christianity.

My friend serves in law enforcement. He encounters people in crisis on a daily basis. He often encounters people suffering under mental illness. It was in response to their suffering that my friend had his falling out with God.

You see, when he came into contact with these suffering people, my friend would pray for them, but he said he never saw any hope for them. And so, his faith, which had been integral to his life, became simply something he participates in for the sake of his family, and because it was part of his upbringing and culture. But, for him, it has no bearing on his day-to-day life.

I felt the weight of his story and have been praying for this friend. He entered situations for work where people were suffering greatly and the God he knew seemed irrelevant and powerless to help.

Is Christianity irrelevant and powerful? Is Christ? People want to know. I recently heard these words of an atheist, “If God is all powerful, He cannot be all loving. If He is all loving, He must not be all powerful, because there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God who is both all powerful and all loving”

In Psalm 62:11 and 12, the Psalmist writes:

One thing God has spoken,
    two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”

Psalm This God is the One who stepped into history and suffered with us. He suffered for us, that the power of sin and death might be broken.

The God of scripture, the Father of Jesus, is both able and willing to intervene. But sometimes He is hidden from people’s view – by the darkness in the world, by our limited faith, even by theologies that do not recognize that His power is available today.

I’ve been praying for this friend this week. This is my prayer for him, adapted from Ephesians 1:18, emphasis mine:

I pray that He would give him a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, that the eyes of his heart may be enlightened so that he may know the hope to which He has called him, the riches of His inheritance, and the very great power for us who believe.

hope riches power of GodThe LORD wants us to know His hope, riches, and power. The dictionary defines know as to “be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information” and “have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with.”

People need to observe and encounter the Lord at work in order to know Him. As dancers we can help them both observe and encounter this God. We can be a living picture of His character and nature.  Of course, this needs to go beyond the sanctuary and dance floor and out into our lives and theirs, for them to truly know Him. Nonetheless we have the chance to paint a living picture and to usher in the presence of this God as we worship through movement.

I shared a dance this past weekend that reveals the character and deeds of this strong and loving God we know. The words to this song, written by a friend of mine, Douglas C. Eltzroth,  speaks about the authority, gentleness, and nearness of this God we know.

I praying it reveals some of who He is that you may know Him better.

Please take a moment to share in the comments if the words of this song spoke to you. Or, share how you have experienced the power and the love of this God yourself.

Exalt His Name Unto the Nations Praise Dance from Amy Tang on Vimeo.

 

Using Veils to Add Emotion and Beauty in Your Dance

Veils are a beautiful addition to worship dance. They add beauty, glory, drama and effect to your dance. They help tell a story, and you can use them to communicate emotion when you dance. In this video, you’ll learn techniques for using veils in your worship dances and see several examples of dances using veils in solo dances and also in a group dance.


The teaching from this video comes from the Veils and Dance DVD by Lynn Hayden. There are even more creative ideas for using veils on this DVD as well as an entire choreographed dance for a group of three or four dancers. I took the ideas from this DVD to create an entirely new dance that ministered powerfully to our congregation. You can watch this here and also read about 4 things I learned about preparing a group dance.

The veil used in this dance was made from 1 yard of 42″ wide fabric, cut down the center to form two veils with 21″ width. Then, I simply sewed a hem around the border to prevent the fabric from fraying. Often, at JoAnne’s fabrics, I will look through the remnants for fabric to create new veils. It’s inexpensive and often there are beautiful pieces from which to choose.

I’ve also used these veils as tunics in other worship dances by simply simply sewing a hook and eye on them so they could be attached at the shoulders.

come wash me veils

 

 

Pasadena Choreography Workshop Recap

Adding depth and interest to your choreography is simple, but it is not easy. I think each participant at last Saturday’s choreography workshop with Marlita Hill in Pasadena would echo that sentiment.

Going into the workshop, Marlita assured that we would learn how to turn simple movements into creative phrases that fill the space, song, and stage and communicate God’s heart. She also said we would learn how to communicate our choreography to others so that they can easily and effectively follow. We did both of those things.

Marlita walked us through a series of exercises that taught a slice of Laban’s Analysis of Movement in a way that was simpler than anything else I’ve heard before. It made complex choreography teaching accessible. But it was not easy.

We worked hard. Each exercise called us to work harder, dig deeper, and stretch further. The results were very satisfying. Each of us walked away having choreographed a short dance that told a story about who we are.

In addition, one of us had the opportunity to teach her dance to the rest of us. Marlita coached her on how to teach  dancers to turn (Who among us hasn’t asked our students to turn, and then stepped back and watched the turns go in varying directions, losing our unity at that point?), travel, and replicate timing in a way that preserved the integrity of the dance and the team unity.

So, thank you to those who prayed for this workshop. We felt your prayers and they were effective. And thank you to each woman who participated, who took risks, dug deeper, and shared their movements with us.

Watch this 3-minute video recap. Just watching this short clip, you’ll get ideas for how to take your own simple movements and add depth, interest, and power.

 

Summer Praise Dance Camp – Pasadena

Do you have a child who loves to dance?
Are you looking for meaningful summer activities for your child?
Would you like to see your child connect their love for dance with a love for the Lord?

Then this camp is for you.

Psalm 141 instructs us to “Make His Praise Glorious.” In this week-long summer dance camp, you child will learn to do just that. We will focus on using flags, streamers, and billow cloths to offer our praise to Jesus.

kids praise dance camp pasadenaHere’s what your child has to look forward to:

Monday: Words are Not Enough. Children will build a worship vocabulary using expressive sign and worship flags.
Tuesday: Not Empty but Full – Divine Choreography Begins in our Hearts. Children will learn the difference between empty and full worship dance and how to use simple choreography techniques to create beautiful movements.
Wednesday: Colors Speak – Pay attention to Meaning. Children will learn to use props with a purpose, as tools, not toys.
Thursday: Beautiful Warriors – Our Weapon is Praise. Children will learn the biblical significance of waving  banners and will learn to use billow cloths to create glorious expressions of praise.
Friday: Ministering through Dance – Putting it All Together. Children will put the techniques and lessons we’ve learned together and will share a worshipful dance to minister to their parents.

Each child registered before June 20 will receive a set of beautiful worship flags to keep.

Who: Children ages 7 and up
Where: Magnolia Dance Space 4 Esther Street
When: June 27 – July 1, 10 AM-12 PM
Cost: $75 until June 13, $80 regular rate, $85 at the door

 

Learn Simple Techniques to Amplify your Choreography

Thank you to all who prayed for the Movements of Intercession – Dancing Your Prayers workshop in Pasadena last weekend. We had a powerful time studying the scriptures, stepping into them through movement, and interceding for each other, our loved ones, and our nation.

Enjoy these pictures from the workshop:Pasadena dance intercession collage Continue reading “Learn Simple Techniques to Amplify your Choreography”

Do you consult others when you choreograph?

When choreographing, should a dance leader look to hear team for inspiration and confirmation about choreography?

Or, does seeking the opinions of others muddy a leader’s connection with God and what He specifically wants to say through her dance?

Does God primarily reveal His Word for the dance through the anointed, appointed leader?

Or, is it important to listen to and gain ideas from a group of Spirit-filled dancers, so that we can more fully understand what God is trying to say?pasadena praise dance workshop

At the Unlocking Movement that Speaks prophetic movement workshop this past Saturday in Pasadena, these questions simmered among us and left me with some questions for the Lord, “How do you want this done, Lord? How do you speak? How do you want me to best listen?”

At the heart of the discussion were really two paradigms for choreography: Continue reading “Do you consult others when you choreograph?”

Six Quotes for Ministering in the Fullness God Intends

worship dance tele seminarAfter spending a month of Saturday mornings with Marlita Hill and a fantastic group of praise dance ministers for the Dancers! Assume the Position tele-seminar, I want to share with you some of the  most meaningful quotes from the course. As we grasp the truths contained in these quotes, we will gain greater freedom and greater empowerment in our assignments to dance for Him.

1. “We dance not just for ourselves or the event that we are attending. We dance to affect far beyond those sitting in front of us, reaching even tot he parts of the Body that we cannot see.” p. 24, Dancers! Assume the Position

The Body of Christ is connected. Because we are part of that Body, what we do affects the entire Body. God is working out His plans for the world and for His Body through all its members, including us. Marlita used this analogy: If I am making soup, my whole body is actually involved: My hands are cutting onions, my feet are supporting my weight, my heart is beating so I can do the job, my eyes are watching what I’m doing. Each part doing it’s job enables the whole body to make the soup. While each part has a specific role, a critical role, they are part of a bigger picture, in this instance, making soup.

God is doing something in the Body bigger than our dance, which our dance is a part of. He has reasons for the specifics He gives which connect to what He is doing in other parts of the Body, what He is doing in the big picture. What we do needs to fit in with what He is doing in this big picture. This is why it is so important to listen for His instructions. What He wants us to do in _________ (fill in your church, your city) will fit in with what He is doing in the Body of Christ in New York, in Chicago, in Puerto Rico, in Africa. The effect of our dance ripples out to the rest of the Body.

seed cling2. “…there must be a mechanism in place to help the people stay connected to the word long enough for belief to become action and manifestation to occur.” p. 45, Dancers! Assume the Position

Marlita talked about how, in the Body of Christ, there is an enormous gap between the tremendous amount of spiritual truth we hear and the fruit it produces in our lives. As a seed that lands on the ground must cling to the soil in order to germinate, these truths need “cling” to our hearts and minds in order to germinate and produce their intended result: forming us into the image of Christ.

We dancers are a strategic part the mechanism Marlita talks about in the body of Christ to people “cling” to the Word they hear from the pulpit so that it has a chance to take root in their lives. Through our dance, we give people a visual picture of that Word, using Spirit-led songs, that helps the message to stay with the people of God long enough for those truths to take root and produce fruit in their lives.

prophetic movement.jpg3. “Movement is part of the way He speaks. The imagery and dramatization created by physical movement are critical and essential to the way He communicates.” p. 59, Dancers! Assume the Position

We looked at the prophets and saw how God told them specifically how to move in order to communicate His message. For example, He told Ezekiel to lie on his left side for a certain number of days. In doing so, Ezekiel was bearing the iniquity of the people of Israel (Ezekiel 4:4). These movements were critical to the message. As the prophet moved, the Word of God went forth. So, as the Spirit directs us specifically about the movements we use, it is critical we listen and obey. Those movements become His word to groups and individuals, accomplishing in their lives what He intends.

4. “I don’t have to create this (ministry, assignment). I just have to create room in my life to listen.” – Marlita Hill, quote from the seminar.

If God has something to say through our dance and He already knows how He wants to stay it, our job is not to come up with choreography or to muster enough creativity to put on a powerful ministry piece. Our job is to listen to Him. The most challenging and important job we have to do is to make space to hear Him.

5. “Lord, show me who I could delegate some of these tasks to so that I can stay in communion with you about this assignment.” – Marlita Hill, quote from the seminar.

This is a prayer for the times when we’re struggling to see the bigger picture of our assignment because we are absorbed in the administrative, logistical and spiritual aspects of our ministry. The Lord, through Jethro, said to Moses,  “The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.” (Exodus 18:17, 18). He then instructed Moses to choose from among the people noble and god-fearing men to serve under him to help settle disputes. So also, the Lord can advise us how to share the practical load of ministry so that we maintain our ever so critical ability to hear from Him.

6. “If you desire to assume the position of true ministry in dance, then regular communion and consultation with God must be a can’t-function-without-it part of your life…..The position we must assume is of one who continually pursues the presence and voice of God and dances out of what we have seen and heard in His presence.” p. 101, Dancers! Assume the Position

This one speaks for itself.

Did any of these quotes speak to you? Please respond in the comments. Which one spoke to you and how can that help you in your ministry? Join the discussion. I’d love to hear from you.