Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Let Them Praise His Name with Dancing

I dance with a small modern/lyrical company comprised of women who desire to see the arts brought back into churches, particularly in the form of dance. I've been doing worship dance for nearly 10 years now, starting with the summer I was 15 when I trained at the Ballet Magnificat! School of the Arts. Ballet Mag. is a professional ballet company that uses dance to communicate the Gospel in creative ways. My company seeks to do the same thing, on a much smaller scale.

This Sunday I had the opportunity to dance three different places. I started in the morning at a First baptist church. That's right, a Southern Baptist church let dancers on their stage. We went on right after the handbells and the "mature" early morning congregation and robe-donning choir welcomed us with quietly whispered amens at the conclusion of our dance.

In the afternoon, I had the privilege to dance at a Hospice service honoring those who had passed on this last year. As I read the countless names in the program and listened to the conversations of grieving loved ones, I teared up and struggled to know how best to react. A woman whose mother had died from cancer introduced herself and told us her story. Many of the people there had never met one another before; they were connected in death. Just as we all are, connected and unified and brought together under the death of Christ, under His blood, and then unto life as we live under His resurrection. The parting words of the song we danced to: "Come to Jesus and live."

I finished out the day with the evening service at my emergent church, a community that celebrates the arts in tangible ways (a portion of our space is an art gallery) but it is still an honor to be able to worship there. This was a particularly intimate evening, just the guitarist/singer, a drummer, and me. The dance was truly improvisational as I had no choreography prepared save the chorus. I moved and felt the music and the people and the Spirit all at once.

Dance, in all its forms, crosses over boundaries in ways few things can. Movement can interpret God in ways that words and music cannot. And life provides movement that must be expressed in sacred places.

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