Monday, September 26, 2011

Spirituality Night: Liturgical Dance

Thursday night was my turn to facilitate spirituality night, and I decided to focus on liturgical dance. I have been a dancer my entire life and part of liturgical dance groups since 9 years old.

I started a discussion on any background information my community mates knew about liturgical dance and any experience they had. I then shared a little bit about my experience, and some research I had done. Dance has been a part of Christianity from the beginning; David danced in the Bible. It was during the Reformation that dance and a lot of art got shoved out of the church and it became more of a head-y religion, sometimes at the expense of the body. We are still trying to break out of that hundreds of years later and liturgical dance is one of the ways to show we can still praise God, but in a different way.

In my own life, the church I grew up in had a liturgical dance group, but we only danced in programs outside of the 11:00 Sunday service. And we danced a lot--youth revivals, Easter Program, Christmas Program, Black History program, etc. But it wasn't until Pentacost 2005 that things changed, and we danced in the 11:00 service for the first time. There were only a couple of years I was still there afterwards, but now they are able to dance in the Sunday service often. In my Austin church, I became the choreographer of the liturgical dance group within six months. We danced about once every quarter or semester, depending on the schedule of the dancers and the church.

So, on Spirituality Night, I shared a dance we had done at Mt. Level when I was 13: "Shackles" (MaryMary). I have reused this dance often when sharing liturgical dance with others, because it is fun and simple. Most recently, I taught the girls in Chile on our mission trip in 2009. I showed my community mates that video as well.

We then had a debriefing discussion of how they felt about the dancing as an expression of faith, dancing in the church, what they learned, etc. My community mates were very responsive and totally game for the dancing which I really appreciated :) I enjoyed sharing with them a part of me that is so important. 

I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

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