Add Variety to your Choreography by Varying Stage Positions

This exercise, inspired by the Divine Choreography DVD by Dancing for Him is a great exercise to use with your team or dance class to see how something as simple as varying your position on the stage can add interest and variety to your choreography. Continue reading “Add Variety to your Choreography by Varying Stage Positions”

Learn How to Choreograph Dances that Minister

Divine Choreography Book cover What do you need to make an impact in dances, inspiration or knowledge of choreography? In Divine Choreography, Lynn Hayden’s answer is both. She begins by explaining that “Whatever offering you bring to the Lord (if it is presented with a humble and submissive worshiper’s heart) will be a sweet smelling savor to our Lord.” (p.11) At the same time, she points out that “if a dance is interesting and has a lot of variety, it will, more than likely hold the audience’s attention longer and thereby minister more effectively.” (p. 22). So, she first instructs the dancer to pray over a dance, listen to the song over and over, to listen to the Spirit, and to consider fasting, so that the inspiration comes from the Lord. Continue reading “Learn How to Choreograph Dances that Minister”

Sometimes You Have to Get Out of the Way

Sometimes you have to get out of the way to see what another person/other people can do. I’ve been leading the dance ministry team at my home church for the past 11 years. Today my husband and I had our last Sunday at this church he/we planted 11 years ago and the church gave us a “farewell” reception. It was incredible – more than I expected, certainly more than I deserved. One friend shared a poem she wrote for us, another a funny and meaningful song about our family and ministry, another prepared a slide show, others shared stories and words of encouragement. Each one was moving, precious, inspiring. What floored me, though, was what the dance team shared. Continue reading “Sometimes You Have to Get Out of the Way”

Dancing for “them” or for Him?

dancing for him book CoverHere’s another must have resource for worship dancers. Written by Lynn Hayden of Dancing for Him Ministries, Dancing for Him (to purchase, click here) is a guide to understand the heart attitude necessary to minister effectively through dance, to understand the scriptural significant of the movements we do and what effect they have in the spiritual realm, and it provides practical wisdom for a dance ministry team leader.

Dancing for Him explains how dance can be used in praise and worship time, for prophetic ministry to an individual or group, and for gospel presentations. It

The part of the book that provoked the most thought for me was in chapter 7, Performance vs. Ministry. pastor Lynn distinguished between several categories of Christian dancers: those who dance because they enjoy dance and like to dance to Christian music; those who want to take back the arts for the Lord; and those who dance solely to minister to the Lord and to minister to people.

I see myself in a combination of the categories. I began dancing in worship with no training and with the sole desire to minister to the Lord and people through dance. Over the past few of years, the Lord has enabled me to gain training so that I am now also I a moderately I skilled dancer with a desire to take back dance for the Lord.  I don’t separate this from ministering to people through dance.  I teach worship dance to children whose parents are so grateful to have a Christ centered environment for their children to dance in. I see offering dance to them as a ministry. The ministry begins with taking back dance for the Lord. But this is not separate from ministering to the children and teaching them to be ministers.  Usually, we end a session of dance class with a ministry a presentation at a nursing home. I teach the children that this is ministry, not performance.  We pray for the residents together, and they pray at home. They love dancing before other people. There is joy in the act of dancing. But they know the reason we are there is not to get applause or impress people, but to tell God’s stories and prepare the way for him to move in people’s hearts.

Like the children, I love to dance. Even when I’m not ministering, even when I’m not overtly worshiping (like when I’m taking a class in the studio), I love to dance. It’s a joy to move the body god gave me in a way that is beautiful; however, that does not compare to the joy and meaning I find in worshiping Gd through dance and dancing in ministry. So, I see myself in all three categories. The most important part of dance for me is worshiping the Lord. From there, it is a privilege to grow in skill and to minister to others.

This book will challenge you to ask yourself if you are dancing for “them” or for Him.

It will give you practical wisdom about how to use dance in praise and worship, in gospel presentations, and in prophetic ministry. It will also encourage about the power that God releases as we move before Him in worship and ministry.

It’s a fantastic complement to Pastor Lynn’s other book and DVD, Dance, Dance, Dance! which is available in my store.

 




What does the Lord think of Dance? What’s the purpose of Dance in ministry?

Dance Dance Dance book photodance dance dance quoteWhat does God think of dance? Does it please Him or offend Him? I read on a blog today that, “dance is a great sin and a very horrible vice because it degrades the common morality and degrades traditional Christian values.” Wow.

I’ve been dancing as worship for many years now and studying have studied what the bible says about it. I know He was pleased when David danced and displeased when Micah judged him for it. I know that Miriam, the first prophetess, danced after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, so I’m confident that dance has a place in the Lord’s heart and will. But I studied, Dance, Dance, Dance! this week, by Lynn Hayden of Dancing for Him and felt like the Lord opened my understanding about dance.

Dance, Dance, Dance! is a great resource for the dancer who wants to know more about dance and movement in the bible, who wants to go beyond the questions, “Is it okay?” to asking, “When and how should we use it? and “What difference can dance make in the Kingdom of God.”

In reading the first section of the book, what struck me was how much a part of Hebrew culture that dance is. The Israelites danced in response to victory in battle, to being restored, and to express joy. They danced to find a spouse and to celebrate a marriage. Dancing was part of life, and often was a community activity. Sometimes, but not always, it was an act of worship. In the cases of David and Miriam, the dance was an expression of praise and the dancers exulted in the presence of God. Other times, dance was more of a community activity, and sometimes it was  an act of sin: The daughters of Shiloh came out dancing to attract husbands, and the Israelites danced before the golden calf. So, this says to me that the desire to dance is part of being human. When we dance in response to God’s goodness, He affirms our dance. When we dance as part of our culture, scripture acknowledges it, not necessarily affirming nor condemning it. When our dance is an act of idolatry, as when the Israelites danced around the golden calf, or lust, as when the daughter of Herodias danced before Herod (Mark  6:22), it grieves The Lord. So, what I got from that is that dance, in itself, isn’t good or bad, rather its value comes from the motivation and heart condition of the dancer.

It was the words that connote movement that moved me the most in the book. Dance, Dance, Dance! lists Hebrew and Greek words, their English translation, and then the definition of the words. I was moved to learn the power that is released when we move in the ways scriptures describes. Spinning can be an act of intercession (chul, p. 37) or can be like a battering ram against the enemy (karar, p. 65). Jumping and shaking can shake off bondage (nathar, p. 73). Waving hands or streamers can be a perfume of fire that drives out the enemy (tnuwphah, p. 91). The Lord compasses about us. He surrounds us with His mercy and protection (cabab, Psalm 32:10). Through movement we can break of chains that the enemy has placed on people (p. 129). I’m an intercessor. I think one of my primary callings is intercessory prayer. This book created many strong links for me between movement and intercession, gave me a language for intercessory movement, and increased my movement vocabulary for prayer. I have always loved using expressive sign on my dances because of the clear meaning that the movements communicate. Dance, Dance, Dance! showed me how other dance movements like spinning, walking, waving arms and leaping can be not only beautiful but full of meaning and powerful and effective to bring healing and deliverance.

If you are leading others in dance, you need this book. It will equip you to teach others what the bible says about dance and movement and will teach you to choreograph with greater meaning and power. Also, consider purchasing the Dance, Dance, Dance! DVD, for sale in my store.

Price: $16.00


 

 

 

 

Dance the Scriptures

I’m loving the “Dance Dance Dance!” DVD and book by Lynn Hayden. I used the lesson from the DVD to teach this lesson in my worship dance class with children last week.  You can purchase and/or DVD here.

The DVD has several parts: In it, Pastor Lynn unpacks the meaning of the word dance as it appears in the Old and New Testament. We learn that the bible is full of words that imply dancing, dancing in a circle, moving the body in a beat or rhythm, being stirred in rapid movement, and going around in a circle. Then she goes on to teach about Hebrew words found in the Old Testament and Greek words in the New Testament that imply movement. For each word, we learn how the Hebrew or Greek word is translated into English. These words are called the “locator words,” and they are the words we see in our Bible.  Then, Pastor Lynn gives an amplified definition of the word, in which we see how much movement is implied by it. Next, a group of dancers embody scriptures where each of these words can be found. In the last section of the video, Pastor Lynn teaches a dance choreographed to “Psalm 23.”

The DVD is full of biblical and practical tools. It will equip you to teach others that there is so much more to dance in the bible than Miriam’s dance and David dancing before the Lord. When the bible says to “rejoice,” it means more than just “be happy.” The word gull or gil means to spin around under the influence of any violent emotion, to be joyful, to rejoice, to cry out, or to exalt.  I have used the exercises in the DVD at dance workshops to get women and children bringing the scriptures to life. I love what different groups of people will choreograph to scripture. Do one word study each week at dance team practice to build a biblical foundation for dance for the team as well as to build their movement vocabulary.

To purchase, click here.

How Do You Know if You are Called to Dance?

Are you called to dance ministry? How do you know if you are called? What if you aren’t called? In this 6 minute video, I teach from Lynn Hayden’s DVD “Called to Dance” (available at www.dancingforhim.com) where Pastor Lynn shares her own testimony of being called to dance, helps worship dancers answer the question, “Am I called to dance?” and answers many other questions that dancers have asked her over the years. In this video, I share teaching from “Called to Dance” as well as my own testimony of being called to dance.

At the heart of this video and of being called to dance is being in relationship with God and being in His presence. If we spend time dancing before the Lord in private, it will show when we dance in front of others.

I’ll be creating weekly 4-6 minute videos with teachings from the Dancing for Him course I am taking this year. If you would like to receive notices about these uploads, getting bite sized teachings on dance technique and dance ministry leadership, subscribe to my YouTube Channel.

Dancers, strengthen your abs with Pilates

Having a strong core is crucial for a dancer. It protects our back, helps with posture, and affects almost every aspect of technique. Watch this 3 minute video I made on how to do the Pilates hundreds exercise to strengthen your abs, and read the essay below, which I wrote on the Pilates – Basic – Preliminary DVD from Dancing for Him Ministries.

Preliminary Pilates: This DVD gives an excellent introduction to Pilates. It contains two sections: The first can be used to run through the entire workout without stopping long for explanations. Throughout this section, Pastor Lynn provides coaching on how to maintain proper form throughout the exercises. The second section, “Form and Modifications,” gives even more detailed teaching on the proper form for Pilates as well as modifications for beginners as well as for ways to increase the difficulty of the exercises.

In Pilates we pay careful attention to form and breathing, the movements are small and controlled, and the focus is on developing the core muscles, which are so important for dancers. In the basic Pilates position, you keep your  naval to the spine, feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Several of the exercises begin from this position, including the ab prep, the hundred, the roll up, and the shoulder bridge. There are two basic positions for the pelvis/back: There is the neutral position, in which you keep the natural C-curve of the spine; and there is the imprinted position, in which there is little to no distance between the low back and the floor. The imprinted position provides more support for the low back when doing exercises in which the legs are extended.  Several exercises, like the hundred, the spine twist, and the oblique stretch, require you to bring the neck and shoulders off the floor. To keep proper form when doing this, you want to tuck the chin, without jamming it, before lifting the head and shoulders off the ground and also to keep the shoulders elevated but not hunched or rising up.

Doing this DVD made me want more. I can feel the strength required to do the exercises correctly, and felt I could do more. I appreciate the modification for the hundreds and find this one of the most satisfying exercises because it makes me sweat and takes the most perseverance.  Since having strong core muscles is so important for dance, and for overall health, I can see how valuable Pilates can be for a dancer.

Why Not You?

superbowl picI’m not much of a football fan, but my husband is, and I like spending time with friends, so we hosted a small Superbowl party Sunday night. My favorite part of the game was the interview with Russel Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the game. His team was not predicted to win, he was playing against one of the highest scoring teams in the league and one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and yet the Seahawks outscored the Broncos in a way that caused jaws to drop.

So, of course, everyone wanted to know what was behind the Seahawks amazing performance. When asked, Wilson said he asked his team at the beginning of the season, “Why not us? We’ve got the talent, the coaching staff, and the best fans in the NFL.” It turns out that questions, “Why not us?” has roots that go further back for Russel. He went on to say that his dad used to say it him.

“My dad used to always tell me, ‘Russ, why not you?’ ” Wilson said, “And what that meant was believe in yourself, believe in the talent God has given you, even though you are 5 foot 11, and you can go a long way.”

I love that line, “believe in the talent God has given you…and you can go a long way.” Do you believe in the talents God has given you? Sometimes we mistake fear, doubt, and insecurity for humility. I’m much more comfortable talking about what I don’t have to give (years of technical background, experience with a large dance ministry) than what I do (God has anointed me to dance and opened doors for me to serve inside and outside the church). But God has been showing me in the past year how He loves to take what we have to give and magnify it (literally, make it bigger) if we are willing to offer it to others.

Recently I received this email from one of my subscribers in response to the blog I wrote about dancing during advent.  I choreographed and led a group of 5 dancers, including myself, and shared the dance and what I learned from it on this blog and sent the link to my email subscribers. (You can read about it here.) Here was her response (I share it with her permission):

I must truly thank you because you have no idea how your ministry has impacted me from the very first email I received from you. My having the opportunity to read the first post you shared with me about the 4 things you learned from the Advent Worship Dance awakened something in me that I felt only I was forced to deal with.  You would have never known, but I too struggled during that same time as well.

…My worship team consists of four members (with two being BRAND NEW to worship arts ministry) and there was a great demand on having a grand presentation for Christmas as in times past (when I became a part of the ministry, there were at least 20 – 25 women who were a part, but when my former leader was released to serve outside of the church, I was chosen to lead the ministry…. I tried my best to overcome discouragement and move forward with the worship piece that GOD had showed me – there was great opposition, many questions, and even the thought of not going forward because there were so few of us….Well, we prayed, we cried, went forward and GOD moved mightily on my little band of worshippers!  Not only that, but my youth ministry, which consists of seven girls, ministered with joy and power as they have never done before and there wasn’t a dry eye in the service!

So when I read your post, I felt as though I was reliving my entire worship journey this past year.  So I say to you Min Amy, continue to do what the Lord has called you to do:  being encouragement to the many worship artists and dancers who find themselves in that cave, wondering if GOD truly is calling them to come outside of the cave and to be a voice of truth, a light of hope, and a minister who brings the message of Jesus Christ to those who want more but don’t know what more is……..

This touched me deeply because confirmed what God has been showing me about Himself: He takes what he do, even something small, and He puts a magnifying glass on it. I shared my stories and the dance ministry I have at a small church, and He magnified the impact by speaking into her life and then magnified it again through her ministry, a ministry touching people I don’t know and wouldn’t have access to except through this woman.

fishAt this season in my life and ministry, I am like the boy who gave his lunch sack to the disciples whom Jesus had asked to collect food for a crowd of thousands. His wasn’t an large lunch, but it was what he had and he offered it. The Lord took it and made a feast. The boy could have thought to himself, “Who am I to think I can help the teacher feed this crowd and what difference is this lunch going to make anyway?” But instead, he handed over what he had, a hungry crowd ate lunch, and the Lord inspired the gospel writers to record his part in this miracle. We can say to ourselves,”Who am I to teach others? Who am I to dance? Who am I to __________ (fill it in for yourself)?” But, if instead, we say, “Why not me? I’m willing. Take this, Lord, and do what you will,” He will put His magnifying glass on it and enlarge the impact for His glory and for the people He loves.

So, what about you? Do you trust the talent God has given you? What do you have to give? Whatever the size of the gift, offer it. Make it available to others and see how the Lord magnifies it, how He literally makes it much bigger than you could have imagined.Why not you quote

 

 

Children’s Dance Workshop Highlights and Lessons

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Recently I hosted a Saturday workshop for children entitled, Telling God’s Stories Through Dance in Banks, Oregon. It was the first time I hosted a workshop just for children and it was a complete joy. It came about because a family, whose children have taken my classes and who live about 45 minutes away from where I teach and live, asked me to teach a class in their area. After really counting the cost of doing that, I decided I could not teach a weekly class that far away from home right now, so I countered with an offer to teach a 2-hour workshop out their way on a Saturday. So the idea for a children’s workshop was conceived. Ten children registered, three of whom I had not had in classes before. I share these highlights with you in case you plan to host a children’s workshop or come to one soon.

The highlights were:

1. Having an extended time to teach children: Each week when I plan dance class, I have so many activities I want to share with the children and I have to narrow that down to fit an hour class. It was so fun to be able to teach several new concepts in one day, and the children loved it too. With our theme being “Telling God’s Stories through Dance,” I taught on using sign language and gestures, color, streamers, scarves, and billow cloths. In addition, I taught on leading others using simple movements and gave the children the chance to lead in small groups. Finally, we shared a dance we shared recently in church and taught the children an portion of that.

2. Seeing how valuable my team is in ministry: About a week before the workshop, the Lord tapped me on the shoulder and suggested bringing my team from church. Having them was awesome. It was a huge help to have one team member handle registration and sign in at the door, one available to help hand out props and direct children, and another take video (I wish I had had her take more. Once the workshop really got underway, I was caught up in the activities and didn’t think about recording them. Next time I would plan out ahead of time all that I wanted recorded and ask a team member to capture it.) In addition, it was wonderful to have three other dancers available to lead short portions of movement, demonstrate how to use billow cloths, and encourage other dancers.

3. Giving my team a ministry opportunity: Lucie Poirier from Dancing for the Endtime Harvest says that we increase our anointing for dance by dancing. In ministering we grow in skill and anointing. The next day we ministered at a nursing home and we danced with greater unity as a result of serving together the previous day.

4. Providing a chance to get live video footage of my ministry: At least it gave me a chance to experiment. I’m working on two new products that will use footage from live classes. While I may not use footage from this class, it gave me a chance to experiment with catching teaching in video to make available to others.

5. It increased my reach: allowing me to minister to families who live too far away to take regular classes from me, to plant seeds for worship dance in the hearts of new children. 

Watch this highlights video, and let me know what you’re doing or would like to do with children. I’d love to hear from you.