Dance Ministry – Prayer Dance Trail FAQs

Prayer dance trail logo

Got a question about the Prayer dance trail? Then check out the questions below. If you still have questions then please do get in touch.

How long are the sessions?

Online sessions will last between 60 and 90 minutes, this will provide flexibility needed for discussions.

The in-person session will be 2 hours.

What happens if I miss an online session?

You can catch up afterwards as the recording will be uploaded into the learning portal.

What will we cover during the first online session?

This first session will be introducing the trail, what it looks like, how you will do it and laying the foundations of creating your own trail. We will begin to unpick how to pick a topic and what you need to think about relating to that topic during the course of the trail.

The trail will be challenging, so we will also talk about some of the challenges and excitement that it can bring.

I will share ways you can start movement and what can inspire you during your journey. Between the 1st and 2nd weeks you will encouraged to start creating some movement yourself as well as firm up the finre details about the trail that you are going to take.

What will we cover during the second online session?

This session gets exciting as we dive deep into what movement on the trail looks like. I will share a topic and how I have developed it – this will be available for everyone to use if they wish.

You will also find out ways that you can document your journey with the trail. Between the 2nd and 3rd session you will be encouraged to actually do the trail, and not just once! Always coming back to how God can impact you through this trail and your prayer dance journey.

What will we cover during the third online session?

The final session will offer a time to draw together how your prayer dance trail went and the impact that it has had on you.

Reflection, praise, worship and moving forward will al feature.

Are we supposed to be dancing outside during the online session?

Not at all! You will need access to notebook, bible, pen and workbook during the sessions. Of course if you want to do the session outside you are most welcome, but we won’t be moving for the whole session. Don’t get cold!

What do we do between each of the online sessions?

At the end of each online session Anna will explain what you will need to do between then and the next online session. You will be encouraged to complete that so you can maximise your experience and learning during the course.

If we want to listen to the session again will we be able to access it?

Yes of course. All online sessions will be recorded and uploaded into the learning portal for you to watch again at your own pace.

Will I need to record myself moving at all?

No. You will not be required to provide ‘evidence’ of your dance trail. But equally if you wish to record and share with us, you are most welcome.

If I wanted to record some of my movements and share them how would I do that?

Recording – The easiest way to do this is with two devices. For example, I use my tablet or computer to play the music I want to dance to and I use my phone to video my movement. I have a tripod to help me with recording but propping it up against something works just fine too!

Sharing – if you have the recording on your phone, you then have the ability to share into any whatsapp groups, upload to facebook/ social media or email. Most videos would be too large to attach to an email directly. So a file transfer service like www.wetransfer.com works well for this.

What is the learning portal?

The learning portal is an online space where everything is uploaded for you to access. It’s main address is https://community.ucgrace.co.uk/ . If you have previously brought the 40 day dance and movement devotional, you would have purchased it here. Just log in as normal. Can’t remember your password? Then request a reminder.

Hope this has helped. Don’t forget you can find all the other details and how to book here. Don’t forget there is also the blog post Creating Prayer Dance Trail that gives a more in depth idea of what is involved.

Dance Ministry – Creating a prayer dance trail

I’m excited to bring this ‘how to’ blog to you today. Many of you will be familiar with prayer walking. Choosing to go out in a specific area to pray for things as you pass different locations. Whether that is to do with the location directly or to offer a springboard for prayers on other topics. I’ve been sharing a lot recently about how prayer dance can impact our prayer journey. So today I want to share with you how creating a prayer dance trail can help build another way to journey your prayers and conversations with God. I will offer a simple outline that you can apply to different topics and situations as you wanted, giving you limitless possibility to move your prayers outside.

I highly recommend a notebook as you work through this, so you can write down any bits that you need to. However lots can be gained from doing this spontaneously as well.

Resting in an outside space praying.

Step one – Discover what you want to pray for.

Praying with a purpose gives you a greater focus and will help with creating a prayer dance trail that fits with what’s on your heart at the moment. Use the following things as an impetus to begin to note down things that you want to pray through.

  • Person
  • Circumstances
  • Emotion
  • Place

Whatever you pick, this is known as the topic. Write down everything about that topic you have picked. Think about all aspects of it and any impacts that there are.

Step two – Creating a prayer dance trail route.

Begin by choosing 4 areas or stops within walking distance from your home or at a location you visit frequently. Or simply an area that you love! Assign one of the following themes to each of the areas –

  • Head and Heart
  • Relationships
  • Pause and rest
  • Encouragement

Learn the order that the topics appear on your route. Each of these 4 areas, with their relevant theme assigned will act as stopping points along your route. At each of these stopping points you will focus on the relevant theme and how you can pray into it with the topic you picked at the beginning.

Creating a prayer dance trail what the journey could look like.

Step three – Begin to create some movement.

Now start to look at all the things that you have written for your topic. Find one word (or a phrase if you need to) that could sum it up. This is to be known as your capital letter and full stop and will be the foundation blocks for creating a prayer dance trail.

Once you have identified your word, you need to create a simple and short movement that you can do for it. This movement will be used at the beginning and end of your time in each area that you stop at along your route. This is why I have called it a capital letter and full stop! You could also think of is as the bread in a sandwich!

I find having a simple movement such as this helps you to frame each section and provide you with focus, both as you begin and as you end.

You then have the choice to leave the space between the capital letter and full stop at each location empty. Then to fill it with spontaneous movement each time. Or to think about each theme and location and some movements that might work best to that theme.

The biggest thing to remember is providing God with the space to move, speak to you and respond to your movement. After all whatever it is that you are praying about is important, so you want to know what God might have to say about it!

Dancing with a pink ribbon outside

Step four – Prayer dancing the trail.

Before you step out and begin your trail. Pause and ask God to lead you. You have spent time laying the foundations creating a prayer dance trail layout. Now, how your trail works is really up to you. Here are some suggestions about how you could approach working your way through the trail:

  • Use music to inspire you as you walk.
  • Allow God’s silence to fill the space you walk.
  • Move to a specific scripture at each stop.
  • Move to the same scripture at each stop thinking about how the theme assigned to that location impacts it.
  • Take ribbons, material, flags or something else to inspire you along the way.

God can speak through whichever way you do it. There is no right or wrong. My prayer is that these instructions will offer up a chance for you to explore and see what works best for you.

Praying against the ruins of Waverley Abbey.

Step 5 – The challenge

Often, we forget that praying for something can take patience, perseverance and consistency. Now you’ve taken the time creating a prayer dance trail. The challenge would be completing it consistently over the course of the month with the same topic, locations, and themes. See how God moves and what he says.

Over the space of a month work your way through the trail as often as you can. Sometimes it might be that you feel only part of the trail needs completing but respond to what God is saying to you each time. Refer to all that you wrote down about the topic at the beginning.

Some other things to consider when creating a prayer dance trail.

Doing it with others – creating a prayer dance trail with others can be even more fun than doing it on your own. You have the chance to be unified in what you are praying and support each other as you do it. This could be through you all prayer dancing to the same topic or you each have your own topic but you work your way through the same route together.

Do the trail at different times of day – we all know that we can be more tuned in to God at certain times of day. Why not see whether different times of day affect how you approach the trail and how God speaks.

Other influences – such as music, weather, scenery or scripture that could inspire you as you pray and move.

In May 2021 we will be running a prayer dance trail for you to join in with. Keep an eye on the Events page for further information. If you want to know more about prayer dancing read this beginners blog – Encountering God through prayer and movement.

Would you like to be part of the UC Grace journey? Then head here to sign up and be kept in the loop with what we are doing.

Dance Ministry – Creating Christian dance choreography for Biblical character Esther.

During this month we are looking at the story of Esther, how her character and story can play a key role in our day to day life, particularly during this season. When you look into the character of Esther there is so much to learn, as dancer, it seemed simple to put that into a dance. In this post I want to share with you how I created Christian dance choreography for her character. The sticky points I came across and how exploring Esther has given me a greater understanding of what her story is all about.

Understanding the background.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have spent a long time in Esther exploring the story, and how it impacts on my journey of faith. Throughout this deep dive I came up with the following descriptions that were part of her story.

Brainstorm about Esther's character.

Creating a mind map of what stands out to you about a character or story allows you to begin exploring movement, pairing phrases and look at the emotion that the phrases create. This acts as a starting to point create your Christian dance choreography.

As you can see above, after the mind map, I then created a list of 6 key words that I felt spoke to me the most about Esther’s journey.

Creating a refrain to ground your Christian dance choreography.

Often in a piece of choreography there is a refrain or motif. This is something that creates a general thread throughout the dance. It keeps reappearing sometimes the same, sometimes different. But it offers a chance for expansion in emotions and dynamics.

For Esther I felt it important that the refrain was based on preparation and the word nervous. Two things that gradually grew over the time of her story. Often when we are preparing, we need to be deliberate, lift our head and eyes to see what is coming… even if we don’t want to! Part of Esther’s preparation was various beauty products for her body, only then could she go in front of the King. That must have been a very nerve racking first visit.

Preparing to wear the crown of Queen Esther.

When you watch the video see if you can spot the refrain and the movements Esther carried through her journey. Creating your refrain is a great starting point for developing your Christian dance choreography.

Developing the character descriptions.

Once the refrain was created, I knew that the rest of the movements needed to be padded around it. It’s one of the things I love about creating Christian dance choreography. There is no set way of doing it. But this process that I’m explaining, is probably my favourite way.

Demonstrating the other things that Esther’s story took her through – boldness, walking with it all, stepping out, trust. Requires thinking about the emotions, anything visual that stands out, shapes, dynamics etc. Take each one at a time and see which way your body wants to move.

Using a jump in Christian dance choreography.

The one I struggled with the most was ‘walking with it all’. Esther chose, despite her background and how Haman was acting to still keep moving forward, to keep walking. As a singular dancer I found this quite hard to explore. In my mind to develop the Christian dance choreography I want to move in and around groups of people that might choose to step in my way.

Instead, I explored it by trying to create continuous flowing movements that moved me around the space, with pauses and changes of direction as needed.

Piece together and find the emotions to complete your Christian dance choreography.

I chose to explore pairs of words when I filled out the choreography I had around the phrase. Pairing boldness and walking through it all as one. Then step out and trust as another.

All of these phrases intertwine, but they tell a story of emotion, challenge, pause and growth. Primarily I moved without music. I found that this didn’t inhibit the movement I created. You have the choice to create movement with inspiration from the music or to focus in on the theme.

Reaching into the plan that God has for Esther.

The music placed behind the Christian dance choreography for the character of Esther is there for background purposes.

I had so much fun (not only because it was snowing) settling in and dancing this. I hope you enjoy it!

Fancy exploring more about Christian dance choreography? Check out these posts 3 ways to explore worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14 and How to adapt choreography to use worship flags in Christian dance.

You can follow more of my dance and choreography journey on Instagram @uc.grace.

Pinterest graphic for  Christian dance choreography.

Dance Ministry – 3 ways to explore worship dance choreography with Philippians 3.14

One thing I love doing in my week now is Prayer Dance Bites. It gives me structure, takes me into Gods word and keeps me moving. Recently we looked at Philippians 3.14 and how this could be a prayer in our life regularly. I want to share with you 3 ways using worship dance choreography that we went deeper into the verse.

“When we’re discouraged, we work against our faith.”

Rick Warren

What I wanted people to grasp during this session was how, God is always there. How we strive to get there, where our focus is and what we expect at the end. Is down to how we choose to press on with our faith.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3.14

Looking at a verse and transposing it into movement can be daunting but here are 3 worship dance choreography tips that can help you.

Start worship dance choreography by creating an action movement

Every verse in the Bible will have some form of descriptive, emotive or factual words in it. Look at the words and pick out those that stand out to you. For this Philippians verse I picked out ‘press on’, ‘prize’ and ‘heavenward’.

Using one of the words consider what that word looks like visually.

What does pressing on look like for you? Do your emotions and habits play a part in how you move forward, break through situations and get closer to God? Think about 3 -4 movements that you could create and connect together to demonstrate ‘pressing on’.

This is really simple way to begin looking at scripture and moving to it. Once you’ve picked your movements, it’s good to go over them several times. They start to sink in, become a habit and a prayer as you search the verse deeper.

Pressing on and forward in movement and worship dance chorgeography.

Think about your eyeline and focus

Philippians 3.14 in the NIV uses the word goal, as what you are pressing on towards. Goal can seem quite a sharp word, alternative words used instead of goal could be invitation or purpose.

Considering other words can help you see the verse from a different perspective and see where the focus is. I would always recommend looking up different versions and seeing what words are used there.

In worship dance choreography to move on from your set of pressing on movements, ponder where your eyes were as you did each of the movements.

We can’t move forward it we’re not looking where we are going, if we don’t acknowledge the pathway that there is in front of us. Add into your movements deliberate choices about your eyeline and what you are focusing on.

Does changing your focus change how your movements feel?

Raised arms and flags, eyes on the Jesus as King.

Imagination in worship dance choreography

A final way to explore worship dance choreography for any verse is using your imagination and seeking Jesus! Choosing to put Jesus within and at the end of your movement prayer. By saying Jesus is within and calling you through your movements, how does that make you feel? Hope? Joy? Excitement? Relief?

If your movement is building up to that how does it change?

With Philippians 3.14, think about these other questions too. What other word could be used instead of prize? If Jesus was at the end of your movements what would you do?

Leaning on each other and encouraging on the journey.

Imagine you in the journey of the verse…

You are pressing through that which gets in your way, breaking down walls. You’re pressing on because you have been invited to receive what God is offering – that is where your focus is. As you receive what God gives you, he is right there with you.

Want to know more about prayer dance bites you can head here. There is also the blog post How can I start to Prayer Dance? Which is a good starting place if you are new moving.

pinterest graphic. eyes on the king during worship dance choreography.

Dance Ministry – Discovering your purpose – 3 things to think about

It’s so hard sometimes to be clear about what we do and why we do it, life can take over, we can get stuck in a rut and we think it’s obvious to others about what we do. The reality? That we get so consumed in other things that discovering our purpose is not clear to us or those around us.

Do you know your purpose or call?

This applies to our whole life, not just if you have a business, or a job, or specific life circumstances. Leading through life without knowledge or direction can leave you feeling bewildered and lost. Discovering your purpose, not only gives you focus and direction, but also challenges you to pursue certain things, sets a standard, and encourages you to keep going, when lets face it, life just seems all too much!

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8.30 NIV)

In Prayer Dance Bites the other week we asked the questions ‘do we listen to Gods call?’ and ‘do we listen to find out what it is? Listening and responding are two very different things, often we choose only one, as that’s the easy route. But God wants our best for us, he will not leave us where we are forever, taking the time to seek His will and listen for his call will bring you much joy and help you to shine. If you’ve never sought Gods plans and purposes for you, maybe now is the time to do that. (Find out more about Prayer Dance Bites here, and if you want to listen to this particular session head here, to watch it). What ways could you be discovering your purpose?

What do you do when you know your purpose?

Do you display it so others know clearly what it is? If not, why not? God will always give us more than we need, as we choose to trust in Him, His hope and love will overflow and display what is in our heart, whatever colour that may be!

“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15.13)

Discovering your purpose can help you to ‘display your colours’

You may have noticed that the UC Grace logo is full of colours. For me colour is utterly important in our walk with God. Colours allow us to experience a depth and breadth to our relationship with God. They help to identify where we are at on our journey and where we may get to.

A good example of this is thinking about your journey through lockdown and Covid-19, your feelings emotions, actions and reactions. It may have felt very bleak, or dark, speckled with moments of joy, fun and laughter. It may have been a long hard slog, but one you embraced and kept climbing with.

At UC Grace we help you to journey through whatever colour or circumstance you are in, using dance and movement to help you through it. Part of that may involve help with you discovering your purpose. There is never a right or wrong way to approach your personal journey with God. Because, it’s just that, personal, between you and God. UC Grace acts as the vessel to help you get there.

How does UC Grace display its colours?

Essentially by demonstrating our love and passion for dancing, Jesus and movement. The nitty gritty of how we do that is all over our website, with many ways to connect. Over the coming weeks I will expand further those areas and show you how you can be involved and grow alongside us.

I’m taking part this week in a #showup challenge with Maddy Shine, looking at how I display what UC Grace does and whether it’s accessible for everyone to find. I know I’m going to learn lots and be mind boggled at the same time. But like I said at the beginning, it’s good to challenge ourselves to keep going.

I want to leave you with some key things I’d love to share about UC Grace (in a nutshell!!).

What do we do?

We teach people to go deeper with their Christian Faith using dance and movement, and teach dance leaders to do the same!

Where do we do it?

  • Nationwide – where there is a need and where we are asked!
  • On location as regular workshops in Surrey, Hampshire and Essex.
  • Online – training, workshops and resources.

Who can access us?

Men, women and families are able to take part in our events, some events target a specific audience and that is always made clear on the booking page. Churches and organisations can also access us for training, guidance and resources.

What is my motivation?

To enable people to grow close to God whilst sharing my passion for my faith, dance and movement. Building a network across the country for people to be part of. You can read more about why I do what I do here.

Dance Ministry – Four ways we can raise a Worship Dance Army!

Wow. What a period of unknown we are entering into. I’m sure each of us have many different feelings at the moment. One thing for sure, is that we need to stand firm on our foundation – God’s word and Jesus. It has struck me that we need to be active with our dance ministry in this period of change moving forward, God has been speaking to me about raising a worship dance army.

That my heart cannot be held by circumstance. For my eyes are locked on the God who sees the end. So when this world around me cries out, “Who can stand?” I know That I will not be moved for my feet are planted in You.

Lyrics from Firm Foundation, Selah

I want to share with you four ways that you can choose develop your dance ministry during this time of change. Ways that you as an individual can grow and develop your dance ministry, or ways you can do it for your group.

1. We are called for such a time as this.

During some of the many hours I am up with my son, I had quite an intense time of searching with God. There are many things on my mind at the moment, but the biggest one is that God is calling us dancers and movers to step up. Step up and move, dance, declare God’s glory, peace, power and love across all that is going on.

The words from the song Firm Foundation have washed over me during the past week, speaking affirmation, encouragement and joy into a situation that looks quite bleak! We share our faith through dance and movement, demonstrating our faith, deeds and action.

Part of my response to this conversation with God involved embracing the lovely March weather. Heading to the beach, because that was where God said I should dance, and putting movement to this song.

So the first way to develop your dance ministry is by being willing to respond to Gods call.

Moving forward as a dancing army

Last year I shared about the golden whirlwind picture I was given, where essentially there were little tornadoes above each person’s head. As dancers and movers moved the little tornadoes gathered together into a big one.

All those little ripples merged together to create a change in the atmosphere that was unprecedented (you can read more about it here). I had already begun to see this picture start to come to fruition at the beginning of the year. But going forward our ability to move and dance as one will be even more important.

God is leading me to encourage a Dancing Army. By this I mean, making the choice to use our dance and movement to cause an even greater shift in the atmosphere. We have this magnificent opportunity to demonstrate worship and faith in different way going forward. Your dance ministry can help this grow by being bold and stepping out, building a dancing army. Choosing to simply be Jesus with your movement and encouraging others.

Dance a little Louder

The song Raise a Hallelujah has a line in it ‘sing a little louder’ where every bit of me wants to do more than the words give. God is calling us to move more, to dance strong, dance it loud and dance it from the heart. Now is our time as dancers to step out into all God has made us to be. To pray, to move, to go deeper with God.

Part of this requires gathering with other dancers and as we become more of a dancing army – our dance, our song – is getting louder.

Dance ministry is hard work, it requires dedication and always choosing to put Gods pathway first. It also requires stepping out to encourage others and be in the gap when others can’t. Dancing louder with more vibrancy, declaring Gods heart and putting his word front and centre.

Create an online dance ministry community

Community brings cohesion, the opportunity to join together and move as one consistently. You cannot beat face to face dance ministry. However, you must adapt to the circumstances around you, which is why at UC Grace we are launching Prayer Dance Bites. Short 20 minute gatherings online 2-3 times a week, to read and respond to scripture. All ages welcome.

How could you create community online to encourage others with your dance ministry. Choose to get people moving and dancing their prayer. Creating fellowship, catch up and time together.

Want to join us online?

There are several different ways that you can join UC Grace online.

  • Prayer Dance Bites provide the opportunity to connect scripture and pray through weekly sessions via zoom. Further information is available here.
  • Scripture Prompts bring you scripture right into your inbox once a week. They offer 3 ways to engage with scripture in a way that you might not normally. For more information head here.
  • There are a variety of Online Dance Workshops that are running, head to our online page to see what’s running at the moment.

Don’t forget this….

A movement creates a ripple.