The ronde de jambe is one of my favorite movements in dance. It is so graceful and communicates reverence and adoration. So, when given the assignment to create a tutorial from Lynn Hayden’s Ballet III DVD, I chose her ronde de jambe sequence. You can watch this 4 minutes video below. Enjoy and feel free to borrow from for your own choreography. Continue reading “Worshipful Ronde de Jambe sequence”
Sometimes what we do for our joy becomes necessary for our survival. That was true for me last week, on our family vacation.
Several years ago, I started using Lynn Hayden’s Stretch and Adoration DVD as part of my weekly exercise regimen. I only did it regularly because it was assigned to me as part of my course of studies; however, when the term ended, I continued to use this DVD at least once a week, because I had grown to love how it made me feel. It has been part of my exercise routine for a couple of years now, not as a “have-to” but as a “love-to, want-to, don’t-want-to-miss-it.”
But last week, it became a “need-to” and “can’t get by without it.” My family was traveling. We drove fifteen hours from Southern California, where we live, to Oregon, to visit dear friends. I love road trips for the time they provide for reflection and good conversation and for listening to pod casts and music. But spending fifteen hours in a car wreaked havoc on my body. It left me with aching back muscles and with a locked jaw that just would not release.
For the first several days, I neglected my stretching. After all, I didn’t have my regular spot or even my DVD with me. And we were waking up in the homes of friends and family, so I was anxious to get to conversations and the adventures of the day. But by our sixth day in town, after a trip to the chiropractor and
message therapist did not do enough to release my aching muscles, I realized that stretching could not be optional. It is necessary for my survival.
For the next three mornings, I played my worship music and followed the stretching routine that has become so familiar to me from this DVDs. As I stretched, I could feel my muscles saying, “Tha
nk you” and “It’s about time.” I could feel the tightness beginning to leave my muscles.
We were not created to be stationary. We were designed for motion. Stretching helps pull the kinks out of muscles that have been still for too long and restores muscles that have been working on overtime. It prevents injury and increases our mobility. And it feels so good.
So, if you haven’t worked stretching into your exercise routine, I encourage you to. As dancers, flexibility is crucial for our ability to dance over the long term. It enables us to improve our technique and tones our muscles. And it also provides time for reflection and prayer, a time of stillness for our souls while our bodies are both working and relaxing.
I encourage you to try one of Lynn Hayden’s stretching DVDs. If you are new to stretching, Stretch and Adoration is the best to start with. It is my favorite and ends with a time of worship and prayer. Balance and Stretch and Strength and Balance are great to follow on with. They contain more advanced stretches and also end with a delightful time of relaxation.
If you try these, let me know what you think. What may start as a “should-do” will be come a “don’t-want-to-miss-it,” and some time, like me, you may find that you cannot afford to miss it.
Here I’ve included a short tutorial teaching one of the techniques on the Stretch and Adoration DVD. Enjoy!
Of all the praise dance classes I’ve taught children over the year, this year’s praise dance camp brought me a particular joy. This group engaged with the spiritual content with more depth of understanding than I have experienced before. Their answers reflected that they have been taught to love and worship the Lord at home and that they truly listened and received the lessons God gave me for them.
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”
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.
The LORD wants us to knowHis 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.
Veils are a beautiful addition to worship dance. They add beauty, glory, drama and effect to your dance. They help tell a story, and you can use them to communicate emotion when you dance. In this video, you’ll learn techniques for using veils in your worship dances and see several examples of dances using veils in solo dances and also in a group dance.
The teaching from this video comes from the Veils and Dance DVD by Lynn Hayden. There are even more creative ideas for using veils on this DVD as well as an entire choreographed dance for a group of three or four dancers. I took the ideas from this DVD to create an entirely new dance that ministered powerfully to our congregation. You can watch this here and also read about 4 things I learned about preparing a group dance.
The veil used in this dance was made from 1 yard of 42″ wide fabric, cut down the center to form two veils with 21″ width. Then, I simply sewed a hem around the border to prevent the fabric from fraying. Often, at JoAnne’s fabrics, I will look through the remnants for fabric to create new veils. It’s inexpensive and often there are beautiful pieces from which to choose.
I’ve also used these veils as tunics in other worship dances by simply simply sewing a hook and eye on them so they could be attached at the shoulders.
Adding depth and interest to your choreography is simple, but it is not easy. I think each participant at last Saturday’s choreography workshop with Marlita Hill in Pasadena would echo that sentiment.
Going into the workshop, Marlita assured that we would learn how to turn simple movements into creative phrases that fill the space, song, and stage and communicate God’s heart. She also said we would learn how to communicate our choreography to others so that they can easily and effectively follow. We did both of those things.
Marlita walked us through a series of exercises that taught a slice of Laban’s Analysis of Movement in a way that was simpler than anything else I’ve heard before. It made complex choreography teaching accessible. But it was not easy.
We worked hard. Each exercise called us to work harder, dig deeper, and stretch further. The results were very satisfying. Each of us walked away having choreographed a short dance that told a story about who we are.
In addition, one of us had the opportunity to teach her dance to the rest of us. Marlita coached her on how to teach dancers to turn (Who among us hasn’t asked our students to turn, and then stepped back and watched the turns go in varying directions, losing our unity at that point?), travel, and replicate timing in a way that preserved the integrity of the dance and the team unity.
So, thank you to those who prayed for this workshop. We felt your prayers and they were effective. And thank you to each woman who participated, who took risks, dug deeper, and shared their movements with us.
Watch this 3-minute video recap. Just watching this short clip, you’ll get ideas for how to take your own simple movements and add depth, interest, and power.
I love watching dance. I am enamored by its beauty and captivated when God speaks through a dancer who belongs to Him. There are so many dancers whom I admire, whose ministry has blessed me, and whose talent I appreciate. There have been three dancers, though, who, when I saw them dance, I whispered the prayer, “Lord, I want to dance like her.”
There was something about the way they danced that spoke deep in my heart and called to me. Mixed with a talent they had honed was an expressiveness to their movement, an ability to tell a story with their movements that drew me in and made me want to understand and remember the story or the heart of their message. Continue reading “I want to dance like her!”
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.
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””