Written by: Dyanna Groves
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heaven!
Praise Him for His mighty works; praise His unequaled greatness!
Praise Him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise Him with instruments!
Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing; praise Him with strings and flutes!
Praise Him with a clash of cymbals; praise Him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Let’s be honest, stepping into this dance elective for Reaction Tour, I felt a little out of place, maybe even a little underqualified, but so very filled with anticipation!
When we began that first morning, we knew these students had the skill to dance, we knew they had the heart, but we still felt the Lord’s direction to lay the foundation for the true purpose of dance. We talked about King David, giving the example of what it would be like if they had seen their own leaders worship God so enthusiastically that they danced right out of their clothes – which, of course, we didn’t advocate!
II Samuel 6
David danced with great abandon before God…he said “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory – more recklessly than this...as far as I’m concerned…I’ll gladly look like a fool.”
We’ve all seen the way people use their bodies to dance in ways that are anything but glorifying to God. All of us, including these students have Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Usher, and all the other “greats” as examples of talent and skill. And although all of these performers are indeed talented, they are not the example of one who’s heart is set to worship our One True God.
So, our heart was to, not only teach, but demonstrate that dance is – at its core – the abandonment of self in worship to God: using every part of your body to tell God just how amazing He is, and how much you adore Him. Dance is a beautiful expression of a passionate heart.
The song Glorie chose and choreographed was “Sideways” by KB and Lacrae. It is basically saying that it doesn’t matter if people look at you “sideways” for living for God. That thought is what we reminded them of, over and over. Live for God – live big for God – and don’t care what people think about you!
One we got to the actual dancing, it came as NO surprise that they learned the moves crazy fast. I’m talking that after the first day of practice, they had the first section covered and were rockin’ it! The energy and comradery among the group was seriously contagious. I don’t think I have ever seen a group of people more ready to work hard, and encourage each other. Their favorite part – which became our favorite to watch – was the “dance battle.” We would divide the group in two and they would perform facing each other. They were electrified – hollering and cheering for each other every single time! What an example!
The other favorite of mine was the “after party,” meaning when class would be over and they would then teach us some of their traditional dances, or even dances they were making up as we went along! And then we’d have long conversations about the differences and similarities from our cultures. Those moments made every day valuable to me.
Well, 5 days with anybody causes you to build relationships, and the conversations that I was blessed to have with these students marked me for life. There were heart-to-heart, real-life moments of open venerability, not just conversation about culture. It’s in these moments that you pray to God that you’ve said the right thing, listened to their heart, and somehow helped them – even if it’s just in some little way.
And although this elective was supposed to be all about worshipping God in the dance, I believe so much more was accomplished. I pray hearts were opened, eyes were given a vision, and new steps were learned – but not just as part of the choreography!
And as to the final dance performance, yeah, they put their whole heart and being into it and truly did worship the Lord… and gave a great performance as well!