Dancing to the Spoken Word

worship dance poetryIs it okay to dance without music?

While music and dance go hand in hand, using the spoken word without music can be very powerful, especially to tell a story, bring a word from the Lord, or to teach through your dance.

If you find a portion of scripture that jumps off the page to you, you don’t have to find a song about that scripture to use it to minister. You can put the spoken word to movement. Likewise, if you find a poem or quote that you think would speak powerfully to others, embodying it with movement can really bring the word to life.

In the video below, I dance to a portion of poetry from A Bride Made Ready by Wesley Scott Amos that gave me a powerful picture of Christ’s relationship with His church and with me.

Let me tell you a little about this inspired book.

I read A Bride Made Ready in two days but will meditate on it for a long time. This poetic book gave me a beautiful picture of what it means to be saved and cherished by Jesus and also to be part of what He has been doing in His Church over the millennia and will one day complete. The author presents theologically sound truths even as he touches the heart with the love story of Jesus and His Church.

I so appreciated that Amos roots his story and teaching in scripture. He holds together two vital truths: It is God who calls, justifies, and sanctifies and by His grace qualifies (Romans 8:30) us to be His and makes us beautiful. At the same time, we have a part in becoming ready for what He has called us to. We walk in faith, in response to His faithfulness; we work out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12); we yield to His sanctification; and so we have a part in being made ready. Amos holds these two truths together in every verse of his poem.

The poem also touched my heart, as Amos tells the love story of Jesus and His bride. I was especially moved by the final chapter. In this chapter, Amos describes a scene when the Accuser points out the sin and failings of God’s people throughout history. In response to each accusation, the Lord describes how he sees each man and woman, highlighting deeds done in faith, perfected by Jesus. And these deeds touch His heart, making it swell with love. In each person, the Lord sees a foreshadowing of the great day when His perfected bride, the Church, will worship Him at the wedding feast. This made me love the Lord so much, that He would see such good in us and would make our halting obedience into a thing of great beauty and purpose.

If you would like to learn more about this book, you can find it here.

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”

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

 

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.

 

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?”

Recap: When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert

I was blessed to participate in the When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert at Victory Baptist Church this past Sunday. It was an awesome evening and such an honor to be a part of.  Thanks to Valerie Toliver and her team from Highest Praise Dance who organized the evening with excellence, the perfect blend of order that comes from careful planning, and freedom that comes from humbly being open to the Spirit of God. You made space for Him, and He came and blessed all who were there.

I want to share with you four ways where I saw His fingerprints on the event and to share the video of the dance we shared.

For those of you who prayed for this event, thank you so much. Here are some places where we saw His fingerprints on the event. Continue reading “Recap: When the Spirit Moves Dance Concert”

Doors Open when we say “Yes”

Yes!Many of us have to learn to say, “No,” to turn down something good in order to focus on what we are truly called to. We need to learn that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. We need to make sure we don’t just say “Yes” to please people or to avoid guilt. We need to make sure we don’t commit to something we aren’t able to follow through on. There is a time to say, “No.”

But there is also a time to say, “Yes,”to give our wholehearted assent and to venture into something new and risky, be it a large risk or a small one. Saying “Yes” is what I want to talk about today, because saying “Yes,” can lead to open doors and can expand us in ways we can’t even anticipate when we let that word slide out of our mouths. Continue reading “Doors Open when we say “Yes””

What I learned about planning a Praise Dance Camp

summer praise dance camp collageWe just finished a fabulous week of Praise Dance Camp in Pasadena. I’m so grateful for the week, for your prayers, and for how the Lord worked.

Read on as I share four things I learned about planning a summer praise dance camp for children and to watch a 4-minute video recap of the week. Continue reading “What I learned about planning a Praise Dance Camp”

Pasadena Workshop Recap

Pasadena dance workshop recapThanks to all of you who prayed for the Devotions in Motion Workshop this past Sunday. We had a wonderful time. God brought a beautiful group of women who had a heart for worship. It was a small group – perhaps because it was a Sunday, perhaps for other reasons. But it enabled an intimacy that was beautiful and also allowed us to learn an entire group dance.

Here are some testimonials:

Thank you so much for a beautiful, spirit-filled afternoon.  The video was lovely. Pretty amazing for a 3 hour workshop. Thanks again.  God bless you for your inspiration and teaching. – Nancy

I really loved the dance. I like the way you gave choreography but helped us choreograph too. I liked the help on choreography on terms. This will help me!!! – Christie

(I appreciated) experiencing the ministry of the spirit through the dance and dancing it together, seeing how God brings a dance together in its beauty. – Tracy

Enjoy the recap video and join us next time.