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. (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.

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?

6 thoughts on “What should I wear to minister in dance?”

  1. BEautiful written , it is what is in my heart ! I use regular clothes but to honor my lord , I love to share my love to worship our lord in dance & movement with children & all ages blessings I too joined a dressed in red & white group dress it strength end me 💓

  2. Thank you for sharing this & your friend’s story. I would love to get your opinion on members changing their clothes after ministering..is it a do or don’t? (David danced his clothes off right😂)
    I attend a traditional denominational church where dance attire is modest, usually a white leotard, white skirt, & some sort of overlay. We tend to keep on our prayer garments to stay in reverence but this article has me intrigued. After ministering some ppl may take their skirt or overlay off for comfort or other reasons. the ppl who choose to remain in their garments are still visible to the congregation & may lead them in praise and worship throughout the service. If a liturgical dance ministry member changed out of traditional attire after ministering, does that make their praise in street clothes “less than” or “not revered” ? would love a response, God bless you!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Thanks for your questions. Awesome that you have a team that ministers each week and have a unity of dress for ministering. I don’t think the issue is whether the worship is “less than” or “not revered” as determined by clothing. Having a team in agreed upon and unified garments of praise is like having the choir dressed in robes. Not all churches do it and it’s not prescribed in scripture, but there are benefits. By wearing your garments, you are assured that everyone dancing is dressed modestly and for beauty and glory. In addition, it is clear that you are a team with a specific purpose to lead the congregation in dance. If the leadership, either your church leadership or the leader of the dance ministry, has determined that these particular garments are what the team should wear, then it is right and good to be wearing them. I would think that the question of whether members keep the prayer garments on after ministering might also be a question for leadership. If members have the opportunity to continue to lead the congregation in dance, I would think that keeping their prayer garments on would make more sense. Again, it demonstrates unity and makes it clear that you have been given a specific role to lead. Leslie was leading and dancing solo, so the issue of unity with a team was not an issue. In addition, it was her pastor who asked her not to wear traditional praise and worship garb because he didn’t feel it fit their context. From there, the Spirit revealed to her what would be appropriate for her context. So, the bottom line includes two questions: Are your dancers in line with what the leadership has asked of them and, within the freedom that you or they have been given, what does the Lord impress to you or them?

  3. I really like this , I came here because I’m searching “is it ok to go to church in praise dance dresses” (pls any comment will help) . Short story My family (singleparent) has dedicated to living as god created us to live in this world as Christians about 3 yrs ago and my 9 yr old has loved to praise dance but twice in these 3 yrs she wasnt included in a praise dance group , not even a practice . I as parents do still encouraged her to dance for the Lord no matter what shes wearing (appropriate attire) but shes been really wanting her own praise dresses . Now I’m stuck on letting her wear them to church (I havent bought them) ….and so I really appreciate you and coming across this but again she still bring up how it made her feel and so how do I break that… thanks in advance for any input

    1. Hi Yasmin. Please forgive my slow response! I started thinking about this the day you submitted it and forgot to come back and put my thoughts in print. Bless you for committing to live life honoring the Lord. So, you are wondering if it is ok for your daughter to wear a praise dance dress to church, where she worships by dancing, though not with the group. It’s beautiful that she loves dancing in church and I can imagine a young girl wanting to feel beautiful and reverent as she dances. The only reason I can think of that it wouldn’t be ok is if the dance leader opposed or if it would somehow be interpreted as striking out on her own, as if she were a separate team. Have you spoken to the dance leader and shared your daughter’s desire to dance with others? She might not have realized your daughter would like to be included or might have a reason for not including her that is different than what you might imagine? Could you simply share your dilemma with her/him and ask their guidance. I think that we have freedom in what we wear to church and so there is nothing inherently wrong about wearing an praise dance dress and worshiping in it. One other option, if you decide it’s best not to wear it to church, is to encourage her to put it on and to dance at home. It’s always so powerful to have a foundation of worshiping in private. Do you have my dance curriculum, “And a Child Shall Lead Them.”? It was written not just for team leaders but for parents who want to lay a biblical foundation for dance with their children. You might really gain by going through the book with her.

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