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?
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.
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. (Here is one of my very favorite seamstresses.
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.
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.
- Garments are important but NOT vital
- Garments should fit with your church, your calling and your anointing
- 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:
- How is your church? Answer: cutting edge, trendy, prophetic, caring people, anointed for emotional healing.
- How is your city? Answer: full of different people from all nations, a lot of activities outside, trendy, open mind, happy, colorful
- What kind of clothes wore Jesus during his ministry? Answer: amazing fabric, one piece, but SIMPLE… not like a king.
- 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.
- 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?