You turn on the praise and worship music and your daughter starts dancing; and you’re glad, because she’s worshipping Daddy God, the one who made her. But what about formal dance training, or what if she wants to dance . . . at church?
I love to dance and I even teach a dance class in one of the squash courts at out church, but dance in the church can be a tricky topic to broach, some love it, some don’t understand it and others just say a flat no, though whatever the thought in your denomination or congregation might be on this topic, there are those Christian mothers seeking some sort of training for their little girl who loves to twirl and skip with a silk ribbon attached to a stick, in a little pink tutu that hangs dreamily above their bed.
What is the answer here? Should the mother in question seek to find some type of dance training for their little princess, only to disappoint them both when the daughter gets a little older and advances to the stage of concerts, where the makeup is done up to the hilts, and the costume flaunts and flirts rather than ripples and flows in realms of beauty, and the mother feels it is in their best interest to discontinue dance training?
While some denominations might encourage the dancers within the church to express themselves during the worship service, others certainly won’t, leaving a clear cut between dance in the world and dance in the church. However, what if there was a balanced medium?
Some churches are finding somewhat of a medium, with mothers who have had previous dance training, bringing the idea to the eldership of starting a dance school as an outreach ministry to the community. Many of these mothers worldwide are choosing to use the Living Dance International curriculum put together by Beth Bluett deBaudistel, a professional dancer in the French ballet corp and also a teacher herself, who began developing her own Christian based curriculum when her daughter wanted to start dancing.
Beth decided to combine the best of the dancing curriculums she had seen into a Christ based curriculum, complete with both classical and Christian music, including the popular Psalty the Singing songbook. Her jazz and ballet curriculum is complete from pre-dance through to the highest level of dance education prior to tertiary, and she has seen many of her former students pursue careers in this area. She is currently pioneering schools in Australia, New Zealand and various European countries, and can be contacted via her website: http://www.livingdanceinternational.com.au/
While my specific interest in teaching dance is within the church, in the realms of liturgical, banners, ribbons and tambourines, I found it immensely helpful to undertake this training and become qualified in ballet and jazz as it gives you a safe foundation of what the body is actually capable of performing. This is particularly important if you have found yourself teaching dance with no professional background or basic training. The training has enabled us to move to a new level of excellence in our dancing, particularly in the area of posture and detail.
As previously mentioned, my main areas of interest in dance are with the banners, ribbons and tambourines, along with exploring the meanings of different colours, the translations of different Hebrew words in the Bible about dance, teaching children to worship, all topics you can further explore by clicking on the links. I hope this helps you to discern what dance in the church is about.