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Related pages on Dance in Christian Worship site
Dance in the Bible
Using dance in the church
Safety matters
Dealing with objections to dance
This site is here to help those new to dance in worship, who have a calling but no experience, and do not know where to start! I've been there too! We are called to worship God and this must be the focus of our dancing. It is not necessary to be a trained dancer in order to worship and minister in Christian dance. I have done no formal dance training, but am sharing from about 10 years experience of expressive worship dance. At the bottom of the page are links to pages containing related material.
All worship dance should be glorifying to God, and lead anyone watching to a greater depth in worship. As well as choreographed "presentation" pieces we can worship Jesus by just dancing freely as led by the Spirit. If this is a new experience, try dancing to some worship music at home whilst on your own. I always advise Christian dancers to make sure they have the agreement of their church leaders for what they are doing Hebrews 13 v17
We must listen to the Holy Spirit and do exactly what He tells us, even if we don't understand why. John 15 v4 & Proverbs 3 v5-6
Praise and worship are powerful spiritual weapons against the powers of darkness. Christian dance ministries are prime targets for spiritual attack, which may come in many forms such as illness, discord, mechanical failures and opposition. Intercessory prayer is needed for a dance group!
God does not call us to do something without equiping us for the task. Those who have a call to worship dance will be given the ability to choreograph. This may take time to develop. It is always good to pray first, worship is definately God's will so expect Him to answer!
I've found it helpful to play a worship CD and just move freely to this alone at home. You will begin to get some movements to express a few of the words in the song. The movements you get to start with will not be the polished finished article. You may not get them in chronological order, or linking together at the start. If you keep playing the music over and over again, the dance will gradually develop and become more polished.
CHOREOGRAPHIC TIPS - how to polish your presentations!

Try to use most of the available floor area rather than dancing in one tiny spot.

You don't need to choreograph every single word or phrase in the song lyrics, it can make the dance look hurried or cluttered. Try to convey the general sense of the words.

It is OK to stand still and hold a pose sometimes, you don't have to be on the move all of the time.

Movements at different levels makes the dance look more interesting, some movements high in the air, some at ground level, others inbetween.

Try to have each dancers movements different, if everyone does EXACTLY the same it looks boring. You can mirror, do the same movement at different heights or directions, or have totally different movements.

Take into account the levels of fitness and flexibility of the dancers. Keep the movements within their capabilities, to minimise the risks of injury. It is also better to do something simple very well, than do more complicated things badly.

Keep in time with the music and each other!. This is done by ear, and (with practice) it is possible for two dancers standing back to back to move in unison.

Practice a LOT! 2 Samuel 24 v 21-25, Exodus 23 v19, Deuteronomy 15v21 in order to produce a quality piece of work. Being well rehearsed will enable you to focus on worship, rather than the next movement or following someone else.

Our facial expressions are an important element of the dance, whats inside shows on the outside! The worship or what we are portraying needs to be engaging our soul, or else the dance is just empty movements devoid of meaning.

Singing whilst doing worship dance takes away rather than adds to the impact of the piece. DO NOT eat sweets or chew gum whilst dancing, it looks bad and there is a risk of choking.

Remember that dance is a visual medium and every gesture and facial movement has an impact. Related aspects like costumes, makeup, and how to make the best of the church environment is covered in the links below.

Think about how movements are positioned, can the congregation see the dancers faces. It is OK to have some movements where part of the group have their back to the congregation. Try and get some variety, but directly facing and an oblique angle are easier to see.

Have a tidy start and finish to the dance. This means choreographing from sitting down in the congregation before you start, to sitting down after the dance. This involves seating dancers where they can get out easily, and in an order that they can get neatly into their starting positions. When the group need to change body position it is best if everyone does this in unison. This would include standing up and sitting down at the beginning and end, but also if some group members have a kneeling or arms raised position to start or finish.

Have someone stand back and watch the dance especially in the later stages. It is usual to need some fine tuning. Pray about who should have this important role. It should be someone encouraging who will only give constructive criticism to improve the dance, not batter your confidence.This is a gift that develops alongside the dance ministry, the right person may or may not be a dancer.

If you are doing graceful flowing movements it is helpful if you relax as much as possible, especially in the hands. It will get easier as you gain more experience and confidence.

If you are doing dance/drama or your lyrics include some "negative" concepts like suffering sin or shame, you are likely to need to do movements (and facial expressions) other than worship. Most of the previous guidance applies, but it may be appropriate (and necessary) to do movements that are tense, unco-ordinated, lacking in gracefulness, and not in time.

It is important for the group to interact properly, the relationship between dancers is visible and why unity is important. Maintain eye contact where appropriate, and correct facial expressions. There is much more power in a group working together than individuals doing completely separate movements.

This may all seem a lot to take in, but mostly requires comittment to produce a dance that glorifies God and blesses the congregation. When you first start it may feel a bit "mechanical" and not like free worship. You gain more freedom as your confidence grows. It takes time for gifts to develop,
and for dances to take shape. If you are learning someone elses choreography, you are likely to find that you will need to learn the large body movements first, then the finer points later.

I personally find it easier to receive choreography from the Holy Spirit when I am relaxed. If I am anxious it doesn't flow!