Types of worship – Three things that can impact dance to worship

The interaction of worship is different for each person. Everyone’s understanding of drawing closer to God in worship will be different. Part of this is recognising the types of worship that people connect with are individual to that person. I want to share 3 things that have impacted me using dance to worship.

It’s all in the MOMENT. God gives each of us ‘moments’ in our lives. Moments to be ‘in’ and respond to.

How did it start?

I am often asked how I started to use dance in worship. The simple answer is, as a child I had the freedom to copy someone else and was encouraged to grow and explore with movement. Adults are such role models to children – watching and doing provided a way for me to draw closer to God – my faith grew beneath the surface.

Think about a seed and its roots, often we wait a long time for the seed to sprout. Underneath the surface things must happen first. Roots are crucial to the seed for it be anchored in the soil, they also help to obtain the right nutrients and conditions for the seed to flourish. For many years roots were anchoring within me, ready to give me the nudge when I needed it.

From an early age I realised that people connected with worship in different ways – through singing, playing an instrument, writing poetry, doing art, moving their body and much more. Some people assume that worship is just singing in church, it is so much more. Everyone has the chance to explore types of worship that suit them.

Two worship dancers holding hands exploring types of worship.

What is dance to me?

Dance for me is a way to connect, engage, share and journey with people in their faith, a stepping stone to something deeper. God always amazes me with the way he shows up and ministers to people during workshops and dance days. He cannot be put in a box and you have to be willing to expect the unexpected.

Using dance to engage with one’s faith is about putting an action to a thought, feeling or word. Allowing God to move through you and speak to you through that. It is the language I use to deepen my conversation with God, respond to the Holy Spirit and reveal Jesus to others.

Therefore, for me, dance and faith are one. I feel Jesus, experience him, and get carried on the wind by him.

So how can fusing dance and faith together act as one of the types of worship?

Fusing dance and faith together ignites a passion, brings a purpose to your faith and a freedom to the journey you have with God.

Passion…

Can be such a big word and mean so many things, but when you worship you are choosing to share in something that is powerful and special to you. I have this phrase ‘Passion in a Suitcase’. For quite a while my circumstances meant I had to move around with where I lived and the things that I did. Each time my passion was not lost but put into a suitcase. How I unpacked it when I arrived at my new destination always depended on God.

Our passion can be used in different ways, it is the ignition to what will come after which often provides the act of choosing to bring out something that is within. Dance and movement offer that opportunity and an interaction to explore how dance can bring passion to types of worship.

Purpose

Is choosing to put use dance to communicate with God using the solid foundation that comes from the Bible. Just as our faith needs to be rooted in the Word, so does our movement.

The Armour of God is an amazing symbol of the ‘equipment’ that God gives us to worship and follow him. By choosing to raise our arms whilst singing in praise and worship, kneel in response to the words of a song or bow our heads to pray. We are making movement and putting purpose into our journey.

Dance in worship need not be flamboyant or to a professional standard. Instead it is strong and contagious and part of our everyday actions. Just like worship is part of our day when we praise Him for the glorious skies, thank Him for our safe journeys, cry out to Him in pain. We are all already dancers in our own right. God created us to move (Acts 17) and we all move in our own individual way.

Using the word ‘dancer’ might be too strong for some of you. So instead consider a phrase my husband likes to use ‘I don’t dance, I move well’. For him having the association of being a dancer is too strong. But he will happily say that he moves well and enjoys doing so when he does. Perhaps for you, this is the preferred way of looking at it; moving well and moving with God.

Single lady worshipping with a yellow and blue ribbon.

Freedom…

God gives us freedom to demonstrate our journey how we need to. He also gives us the Holy Spirit, to enable us to grasp a deeper understanding of walking with Jesus. Faith and dance stimulate a different perspective on your relationship with God. Offering a safe way to explore other types of worship.

A simple exercise you can try is to think about ‘passing on the fire inside’. Think about a ball of light that is inside you wanting to grow, a tiny little flame. Flames are not always big to start with, they grow. As you imagine this flame glowing and growing inside you, how does it encourage you to start moving your body in reaction to this?

The Holy Spirit is always inside us, sometimes it is a still small flame, other times a raging fire, but we’ve got to be willing to let the fire grow and move in our lives as God would want it.

Group of dancers using ribbons in worship.

I want to leave you with a testimony from a dance day. It’s from a gentleman who is musical and plays in a worship band, who bravely came on the dance day having done no moving before. He had been feeling for a while that he wanted to move and do something much more in worship…

“It was very moving to dance as I wanted to worship music, meeting with God, moving my body freely for the first time without fear of judgement. Like strolling in long grass beside a river with God. It made me cry as I felt free to use my body to bring glory and praise to God for the first time.’

If you’d like to understand more about how worship dance can impact your life have a read through 1000 Reasons to dance for the King. There also opportunities to engage in our events, head over to our events page.

Don’t forget you can also join the mailing list here ?

Living Colour Morning January 2019

It’s been an awesome start to our events this year, with our first Living Colour morning of 2019. Such a privilege to meet with all the dancers and spend time catching up.

Our focus during the workshop session was exploring Proverbs 3.1-8, by looking at 3 main sections, Gods teaching and foundation, his faithfulness and understanding when we are struggling and having help come around us.

There was a great conversation about verse 1, and the different interpretations in different Bible versions. One version talked about ‘storing’ commands not keeping them, which is an image of treasuring the things that God gives you.

In verses 3 and 4 we chatted about how we can forget the small things that God is faithful in, and that it’s important to remember them daily. Participants worked in pairs to pick 3 or 4 areas that they felt God was faithful in. They wrote these down on separate pieces of paper and placed them at staggered points across the space. Working with their partner they put those faithful things into a journey, what they realised as they danced and shared with others, was the importance of fellowship and being with someone as you share in your faithful journey.

Below is short film of Servina and Jane’s, and Caroline and Helen’s Faithful Journey.

Our next Living Colour is planned for Saturday 22nd June, you can check out the info here. But why not join us before that at one of our dance days.

Teaching Children | Dance and movement – 13th April.

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Dancing with Ribbons

Ribbons are another way to bring colour and movement into dancing. Not only do they raise the eye level upwards, but the colour and the way the ribbon moves speak to different people in so many ways.

There’re short ones, fat ones, thin ones, long ones, multilayer ones, it’s only your imagination that can limit the type of ribbon you can make and use. But just like with flags, there are a few things that you should always remember when choosing to move with a ribbon.

It’s all about the wrist! The ebb and flow of the ribbon is created via the flex, rotation and flick of the wrist. It’s always best to hold the ribbon wand at the end to allow greatest movement and extension during your dancing. Much like with the flag, the ribbon is an extension of your arm, but unlike a flag, it moves, wraps, knots and twists a lot more easily. Clear precise movements of the wrist and body (!) help to maintain the ribbon in a place of hover and shape in the air.

The length is important! As mentioned above, you can have ribbons in whatever length you want. However, I would say there are some exceptions. Children can operate a ribbon best under 2m, and I’d recommend 1m or even shorter (on a curtain ring) for children aged 2 – 5 years. Children will naturally want to move with a ribbon, instinctively they are drawn to it. But, their spatial awareness, movements and concentration can cause the ribbon to get wrapped up, knotted, hit someone and sometimes used a weapon or toy.

For adults starting out I’d recommend starting at around 1.25m or 3m, no longer. You need to build up the strength and movement technique with your wrist before moving onto something longer. Some dancers move with up to 6m of ribbon, but the understanding and movement capabilities of the dancer is much greater.

Dancing with a ribbon you can sometimes get stuck using the same sort of movements, but you have your whole body too. Unlike the flag, this lovely piece of ribbon really can mimic your movements in the shape it creates and the way that it moves.

The video below demonstrates how ribbons can be seen up high, but also how their movements flow and sit well with how the rest of the body naturally moves. The dancers in this dance were from all different backgrounds, some with no dance experience, some with lots. In this instance the ribbons allowed everyone to be on the same level, take part and move together.

2011 Joyful Joyful performance

So, they can be an excellent tool at drawing those who could be nervous, interested but not tried it, or have different abilities, together to move and dance as one.

Do you use ribbons already? How did you find getting started with them, getting the movements from the wrist right and using your whole body with them?

If you’re interested in trying out moving with some ribbons you can head here, where you can find some different colours and lengths to get you going. There are one’s available on curtain rings too, for the little ones. Pop back and let me know how you get on.

Worship ribbons and streamers

Make a Splash and see the Delight

 

‘Pictures say a thousand words’ I love this picture for so many reasons, but there as two main ones I want to chat about today.

  • Embracing the mud
  • Being child like

Are you a mud lover? Do you mind the mess it makes? I’ve mostly embraced mud in my life, but when my daughter came along, I really had to learn what embracing mud, mess and chaos meant, as they are 3 things she loves!

In our faith we can have an expectation that it will all fit into neat boxes and not be messy, but the reality is that it is rarely like that! Lots will splash up at us, getting us dirty along the way. Allowing our selves to live a ‘messy faith’ opens the doors to possibilities of connecting with family, friends and non-Christians in an unrestrictive way. God doesn’t want our faith put into a box, he made us to share it – the delight, mess, pain and laughter that can all come from it.

Children have much less inhibitions than adults, which makes them much better at ‘just getting on with it’. They embrace things with their whole body, mess and all. So, when I talk about a ‘messy faith’ I’m referring to embracing God through those messy moments, when life might be hard and you don’t understand why life is like that at the moment. It’s seeing the joy in all circumstances, jumping in and getting messy too.

When my daughter discovered this puddle with her friend Theo, to start with they just walked through it backwards and forwards, and then did a little tap on the water here and there. When they realised the mess it made the look of shear delight on their faces was incredible. They both went a bit crazy and finished completely covered in mud (sadly no picture to show you the full extent!).

This reaction can be what we experience in our faith. We go backwards and forwards over something checking it out, maybe testing the ground but never quite going all the way. We hold back. But, when you do make the decision to stop tapping and go in fully, what God gives you, is beyond what we can imagine. There is delight, there is comfort, there can be tears, but God carries us through it all.

So, what things now do you need to embrace the mud in? What things do you need to be more childlike and push your inhibitions to the side?

Jesus – bring new wine out of me

You can’t see God sometimes in the situation you’re in.

On Saturday I had the chance to join Jubilee Church Flourish ladies weekend. A fantastic opportunity to receive and get some refueling for myself. Their theme for the weekend was ‘new wine’, how do you get new wine, wines have different labels depending on what they’re made up of, where they have grown and the soil they are in. To go alongside the theme was the Hillsong Worship song New Wine. This was just one of the things that spoke to me when I joined them for the day.

Have a listen to it –

Powerful hey! What speaks to you first?

For me it’s the chorus. There is such a pull on my heart strings, that I completely want to immerse myself into the words and the music. Let’s break it down into the different sections.

Make me a vessel

God has given us an amazing gift, that can be shared, we are simply a vessel within which this can be done. Say to God that you want to give your whole self over to share His word and His story.

Make me an offering

Ask God to let you know what it is that He wants you to do. How can you use your passion to share with others, how can you build someone up in the work place, how can you use you whole self to share His word and story.

Make me whatever you want me to be

It’s your opportunity to step out 100% and choose to trust God amongst all that is going on. He knows not only what you are capable of but also what your limits are. He won’t give you more than you can handle. Choose to offer your whole self to share His word and story.

I came here with nothing

Jesus took it all away, we are drawn to our knees. All that we have we give. Share His word and story from your knees!

But all you have given me

God gives us more than we can fathom, more than we know. All the little things that go on, God knows about them and He puts them in place. Use your whole self, all your passions, dreams, gifts and life to share His word and story.

Jesus, bring new wine out of me

Wow!! What could God do with you, if you’ve really been pulled down to your knees, you’re offering your whole self, acknowledging that God will give you all that you need to fulfill what He puts before you. What will come out of you?? More than you can imagine!!

This song is definitely a keeper for me, and I am looking forward to finding an opportunity to dance my whole heart out to it!

Essentials of faith

… rock solid dependency on God’s word…

When you choose to stand up and teach in front of others you need to know that you’re teaching from a point of authority with a firm foundation in what you hold true. These couple of verse provide a fantastic opportunity to remember how and why you choose to teach and share God’s word. Whether that’s through dance and movement or another avenue.

Let’s begin by breaking the verse down into 4 sections.

1.) ‘Pattern of sound teaching’ – rely on the word

God gives His word as a basis to build life from. It’s sound, sturdy and full of amazing values. If we choose to teach his truth it needs to come from a sound basis.

2.) ‘faith and love’ – love doing it through faith and love

Faith is relying on what you don’t see. Rely and trust that God loves you, carries and equips you to share with love.

3.) ‘Guard the good deposit entrusted’ – guard his word

Gods word is the best. He deposits in us a desire to share, and to do so knowing the full assurance of his word.

4.) ‘Help of the holy spirit’ – let the spirit help

There is always someone there to help and guide you. Let his spirit in and let it guide you.

It is such an amazing privilege to share Gods word with others. Enjoy doing it, and let God lead!

Dance Weekend 2019 announcement

It is with much excitement that I can share with you the news that there will be a 2019 dance weekend!! This has been something I have been mulling over for a while, and this week took the plunge.

So save the date! We are doing to a new location, with a different format and will challenge you to go deeper and explore further. This won’t replace our ‘normal’ dance weekend that has been happening every other year, but is in addition.

Keep an eye for further information as super early bird booking will open this side of Christmas.