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”

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”

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.

 

Jump Start your Devotions

If you have purchased Devotions in Motion, I have good news to share about it. I’ve added to it.

At the request of my good friend, Diane, I added a “straight through” video of all 5 devotional dances. This way, once you have learned the dances, you can use this video to dance them straight through in your devotions. I hope you find it helpful. It is available on your Devotions in Motion download page, which you received from me.

If you don’t have Devotions in Motion yet, but have been wanting to purchase it, it will be on sale for $15 through Sunday night. After that, the normal price will be $20.

I’ve also created a 2 minute video to give you a glimpse of Devotions in Motion. If you’re wondering if it would benefit you, this should help you figure that out. You can watch it here:

You can purchase it below or click here to learn more.

 

Price: $20 Sale: $15


THESE ARE VIDEO DOWNLOADS – Within 24 hours of purchasing them, you will receive an email link giving you access watch the videos online and to download them to your computer.

 

Devotions in Motion are Coming

Devotional Dances
From the dance to Psalm 17:8 Hide Me Under the Shadow of Your Wings

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.devotions in motion

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.

Embrace the Unexpected

embrace surpriseMy son: I have the hiccups

Me: I’m sorry. I hate the hiccups.

My son: I like them.

Me: Really??? Why?

My son: Because they are unexpected.

This little conversation has been ruminating in my heart and mind every since I had it with my eleven year old. I never would have thought to appreciate hiccups because they are unexpected. In fact, more often than not, I curse the unexpected: Continue reading “Embrace the Unexpected”

Prophetic Dance – Being God’s Mouthpiece

prophetic dance DVD
Click image for more information

What is prophetic dance?

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?

How was it received?

 

 

Choreographing a Dance on Short Notice

Planning a praise dance with little noticeDo 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”

Add Variety, Creativity and Unity to Your Choreography

Click image for more information on DVD
Click image for more information on DVD

I’m excited to share a resource for worship dancers that I love and I think you will.

The activities on this DVD will:

• enhance your team unity

• help build leadership skills

• add variety and interest to group movement, and

• stimulate your creativity and the creativity of those on your team.

In the Creative Worship DVD, Lynn Hayden explains and demonstrates a multitude of activities that can be used in praise and worship dance with groups to add variety with spontaneity. Below is a tutorial of one of my many favorite activities from the DVD: Continue reading “Add Variety, Creativity and Unity to Your Choreography”