The bible says there is a time for everything, a time to weep and … a time to dance. Last week I shared with you my dance of lament.
This week, I share with you a dance that brought me joy, even during a difficult time. I have the privilege of teaching beginner level modern dance to these young women at Ecclesia Classes. They shared this dance at our Christmas presentation last week. I hope it blesses you.
If you are looking for a good modern dance workout that you can do at home, I highly recommend the Modern Dance I and Modern Dance II DVDs by Lynn M. Hayden.
In this season when we praise God for sending His Son and marvel at the love of God expressed in Emmanuel, God with us, is there a place for lament?
This year, sorrow touched our family in the form of the unexpected and tragic death of a fifteen year old family member. Words cannot express the pain rippling through our extended family.
So, here I share my dance of lament, a way of sharing my heart with you, but also, hopefully, a way to give expression to the pain you or those you love may be feeling. Continue reading “A Dance of Lament”
Ministry leaders and dance teachers, when was the last time you let yourself be the student?
How often do you take the place of the student?
How often do you have to learn someone else’s choreography?
Team members, do you ever feel like you can’t keep up, don’t learn fast enough?
Do you ever fear disappointing your teacher/leader?
Something so valuable happens when we step into a role we don’t normally have. In this post, I share an experience from this past week when I experienced this role reversal, how it affected me, and how such a role reversal can help us be better teachers, leaders and students, if we’ll let it. Continue reading “Do You Let Yourself Be the Student?”
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. Continue reading “Dancing to the Spoken Word”
Have you ever had your worship dance class turn to chaos?
Have you ever tried to teach a group of children who weren’t interested in what you had to share?
Have you ever wondered how experienced teachers seem to effortlessly engage children and hold their interest when it seems like a mystery to you?
Have you ever failed at something you thought you were good at?
I have all done each of those things recently. In this post, I’m going to share my experience and what I learned that is helping me move forward.
First, the background:
Because I’ve put my worship dance class lessons on paper and make them available to others, people think I’m an expert on working with children. Sometimes I start thinking this myself, which is, of course, dangerous. As it says in Proverbs 16:18, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Are 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.
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.
Anyone who has taught worship dance to children has experienced one of these challenges:
Children using their streamers as swords
A child pouting because they did not get the flag/streamer of their choice
A child getting hit in the head by the flag pole of another child who is unaware
I have a section in my online class Teaching Worship Dance to Children entitled Using Props with a Purpose. In it, I give suggestions for teaching children how and why to use props in such a way that they are tools for ministry and not toys. It’s a helpful section to head off the problems listed above before they happen or how to use them as teachable moments if they do.
But there is a much greater error we can make when using props in worship dance than any of those that the children commonly make. It’s a mistake any one of us is vulnerable to make if we are not careful, and, it can even be a life or death issue.