Dancing with G-d

22 07 2009

I was a teenager the first time I saw someone dance in worship. She was a kindergarten teacher, a former nun and I was mesmerized. I knew in that moment that I wanted to dance before G-d!

Nancy taught me her choreography for The Lord’s Prayer and after that I was on my own. I hadn’t taken a dance class since I was six, but I had been enacting, interpreting lyrics and music in my living room at home ever since I could reach the record player (ask your parents or grandparents to explain what that was). I began creating choreography for songs I like to sing at church. Then others began asking me to teach them. How does one teach what you haven’t studied? This was one of my early lessons in trusting my instincts and celebrating spiritual gifts.

I now teach sacred dance classes. The next one will be July, 2009 at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies Synod School.

Ten years ago, I began realizing that even after explaining the biblical history of dance as worship and my experience of dance as prayer, folks sitting in pews still understood it primarily as performace (this is true of other art forms in worship, e.g. music). So, I began using liturgy that incorporated movement, simple movements, as part of the congregation’s prayer life rather than using only solo or troupe work. As a community of faith, I think this choice has helped us understand ourselves – body, mind and spirit – and G-d as incarnate, enfleshed. As we reclaim our bodies as hands and feet of Jesus in the world able to move, touch, dance, we discover our bodies redeemed for sacred purpose.