26.12.10

Moving Forward...


"...I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead..."
--Ricardo Sanchez

     "20X" is coming to an end. It's been a year of High Dimensional Communications for many of us, and hopefully we have been successful in communicating a clear message to others. Even if we haven't always been as successful as we would have liked, we can learn from our mistakes and improve on our shortcomings.

It’s not that I’ve already reached the goal or have already completed the course. But I run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14 (GWT)


     Have you started thinking about some of the things you want to accomplish in the next year? It's not too early to start planning and strategizing. Too often, we do a lot of talking about what we would like to see happen, but never seem to be able to move past the initial idea. It's not about making resolutions, but setting realistic goals for ourselves that are doable and measurable. This time, let's make a sincere effort to put some of those plans into action through Prayer, Fasting, Strategic Networking and Forward Motion. What happened to that book, blog, play, choreography, ensemble, workshop, class, business plan or outreach ministry that got shelved? Let's write the vision, and make it plain so we can run with it when God says: "Move". We have so much to do, and not necessarily a lot of time left to accomplish it. No more procrastinating...'cause in 2011, it's "on and crackin'!"

Then the Lord answered me,
“Write the vision.
Make it clear on tablets
so that anyone can read it quickly".
Hab. 2:2 (GWT)


    Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog this year, and especially for you 18 faithful followers. I hope that something that I've written has challenged and encouraged you in whatever you do for God in your season. See you next year!


     Please enjoy this video of Moving Forward from last summer's Purify Conference in New York. It was a blessing to be at that praise party!


24.12.10

Worshipful Season

     While we are all preparing for the holidays, remember to keep the worship of God at the center of all things. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, don't get caught up in the busy-ness, commercialism and greed that overtakes many during this time. Find someone to bless, who cannot return the blessing and continue to seek out opportunities to share whatever you have with someone else!

Being kind to the poor is like lending to the Lord;
he will reward you for what you have done.
Prov. 19:17 (NCV)

Generous people will be blessed,
because they share their food with the poor.
Prov. 22:9 (NCV)
 
When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't count the cost. Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled," and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call God's attention to you and your blatant sin.
Deut. 15:7 (The Message)




    

8.12.10

Shopping, Anyone?

   For those of you who thought that this was going to be another one of those Christmas-shopping-bashing articles---NOT! I love shopping, especially for other people. Hopefully if you love to shop, you also love to share. If you are still looking for a special holiday gift, there are  two great places to find beautiful, well-made garments and worship instruments at just the right price.

     Annette Johnson is a very dilgent garment maker in the Atlanta area, specializing in elegant, one-of-a-kind garments. She has many beautiful items on her website for large or small dance ministries and soloists. Annette speads a lot of time studying dancers' movements in order to create garments that will illustrate God's glory and beauty, while maintaining modesty in the sanctuary. Her large inventory features tunics, palazzo sets, full-length dresses with palazzos, ephods and sashes in the fabric and color of your choice. Garment of Praise gives you "...another reason to dance like David!"

     Another exciting website to visit is Foot Of the Cross Ministries, owned by Kathleen Grace Brown in Houston.  Kathleen makes beautiful tabrets, glory hoops and streamers for worship.  Her worship instruments are specifically designed and named for different types of worship dances: "Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So", "River of Healing", and "Fire" to name a few.She also makes dainty jewelry items with dancers in various poses, just perfect for that special dancer in your life. Kathleen is also a member of the NLDN and CDF, and ministers regularly in dance all around the Houston area. Watch her website for teachings on worship instruments in 2011!

   Please visit these websites while you are doing your holiday shopping, where you will find all kinds of items for everyone. Blessings!

Garment of Praise - http://www.garmentofpraisecoga.com/

Foof of the Cross Mnistries - http://www.footofthecrossministries.com/

1.12.10

"Non-Traditional" Tradition!

     This is a repost from December 2010:

     There are many ways to creatively share the Good News while maintaining the integrity of God's Word and communicating a clear message. There is nothing entitled "The Christmas Story" in the Bible, although the birth of Christ is clearly stated and can be told at any time of the year.  Because of this, we have an unlimited number of frameworks from which to write plays, poetry, cantatas, do choreography or create artworks that have the birth of Christ as their central theme.  Gone are the days when we are limited to basic recitations for Children's Church or re-enacting the Nativity as a period piece. These are wonderful starting points, but with the blessing of leadership and much prayer, research and collaboration, recitations can have a fresh approach and the Nativity can be brought into the modern day---remembering to maintain the truth of God's Word.

     I once attended a Christmas production where stations were placed at different locations on the church grounds, and the audience could interactively experience different aspects of the Christian walk. At the end of the journey, participants gathered to sing carols and enjoy all kinds of  Christmas treats. There was something for everyone, young and old. One of the most innovative Christmas productions I have ever been in was centered around a giant chess game with a spiritual warfare theme. The possibilities are endless! Even if we use traditional musical selections, we can choose contemporary arrangements. The important thing in this case is to  always make sure that the artist and genre of music selected are appropriate for a worship setting. When in doubt, collaborate with the Minister of Music and of course the Pastor so that no one is offended.

     With some extra planning and prayer, you can creatively present the Good News in a way that will challenge today's complex thinkers (and stay well within your ministry budget). It's time to think outside the box and get into Non-Traditional Tradition!

Please enjoy this unique Christmas presentation of music, drama and dance:


22.11.10

May I Have This Dance?

        People love to dance! Just a look at the most popular network shows gives us an idea of how many people love dance, so much that they are either doing it themselves, or watching others. Many people who join dance ministries are great dancers who danced it up in the clubs or in the streets, and they bring that same zeal for dance with them to church. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but what is wrong is that a lot of them are putting on worship garments and dancing with the same spirits that they danced with "up in da' club" and although they may be doing different steps, they have not yet changed partners. It takes time to learn how to be a worshipper, we learn as we go along walking with God on a daily basis. Are we willing to take the time to learn, or are we just in a hurry to get our praise on? I once heard a very wise Pastor say that there is really no such thing as "getting our praise on", because since the praise really belongs to God,  it's not something that we own; we are just giving His praise back to Him...Selah. 

     We have all seen dance ministries who seem to only be interested in attending conferences to present their dances without attending any of the workshops, or show up at concerts and musicals to perform and leave early, and of course the never ending line-up of dancers on You-Tube who don't wear the proper attire for ministry, etc. With so much good information circulating, it is hard to understand why there are still so many who don't know the basics about dance ministry. But, guess what? If we have seen any of these things, and did nothing more that talk about them among ourselves when we have knowledge to share,  God is not pleased with us! Some of us have notebooks and hard drives full of information that we have yet to pass along to others. What are we doing with it?
    
     We can continue to talk and complain about what others are doing until we are tired, and nothing will change. Even if we were to tie the dancers to their seats and lock all of the the doors so they can't exit the building, if their hearts are not ready to learn, or if they feel that they are being scrutinized and judged, they won't listen to anything that we have to say:

An offended brother is more resistant than a strong city,
and disputes are like the locked gate of a castle tower.
 Proverbs 18:19 (GWT)

     What are some things that we as seasoned worshippers can do to help those who are not as knowledgeable we are?  How about sharing books and resource materials with them and inviting them to workshops? If you are on a social networking page, send them a friend request so they can see what you are doing.  If you beong to a Liturgical dance organization, how about telling them how excited you are about what is going on in your area,  making sure to have some flyers or brochures ready to give them?  Even if they aren't ready to listen at first, they will remember the way you approached them. Was it with a kind spirit, or were you judging them? It's not about enlarging the membership roster of your group,  it's about promoting excellence in the Kingdom of God. When your group has an event, do all that you can to sincerely make them feel welcome if they decide to attend. Those who really want to dance for God will see the difference and want to know more about what you have to offer. Your kind words can accomplish a lot more than your criticism ever will. And remember, God is saying to them as He once said to you: "May I have this dance?"

     Of course, the most important thing we can do is pray for ourselves and others. We do our part by sharing knowledge, and God does the rest:  Lord Jesus look on us, Your worshippers. You know the hearts and motivations of all people. let those who have an ear to hear,  be open to learn and receive Your Word, so that they can learn to be true worshippers at all times. let them learn that worship is not an activity, it is a lifestyle of prayer, praise, the Word, fasting, and giving. Help us to be good examples, and not their judges.  this is our prayer Lord, in Your Name, AMEN.

Enjoy this praise by

 

22.10.10

What Are You Known For?

      What's the first thing that people say when your name or ministry is mentioned? Do you know what you are really remembered for?  After people read that wonderful book, see that powerful choreography or play or hear your "dope" poetry, what are people saying about you?  Our reputation is just as important as our talents and gifts. There are too many ministries today that are recognized as great, while carrying tainted reputations. Some of what is being said may be exaggerated, but if there is even a small amount of truth to it, it's time to think about what needs to be changed.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35 (NKJV)

      It is one thing to be known for what we do, but quite another to be known for who we are. God is working on all of us, so none of us can point out anyone else's faults without first looking at ourselves. It's time for self -examination. If we find ourselves always snapping at others when we are stressed, maybe we are too busy, and need to ask for help. Moses could not lead the Israelites alone, he appointed elders to be in charge of the masses of people that he was responsible for getting to the Promised Land (Ex.18:25).  If we feel the need to talk about others behind their backs, we need to find out what is lacking in our own lives. We can make beautiful garments and put on grand productions, but weave tangled knots of confusion if our way of life does not match up to our craft.
 
      There is a dance minister on the East Coast who is well-known for his powerful ministry and exciting classes. He has danced with a renowned professional company in New York, and has his own company. The first thing people speak of after commenting on his phenomenal dancing is his graciousness towards everyone, and how they can't wait to be in his classes that are always full. Students don't want to leave his presence at the end of  class, because of what they receive from him spiritually as well as technically.  They feel loved, not abused. They are empowered, not dismantled.  People are drawn to him because of his loving heart. That is the ministry of Christ! Why have a fantastic public ministry, while behind the scenes people are being crushed by our behavior? Even if they never say anything about it, God sees what we do, and He hears everything that we say. Being a leader or having a title does not give us the right to harm anyone with our words or actions. We will have to answer to God for every person whom we have injured. If we are guilty of any of these things, we need to pray and ask for more of the fruit of the Spirit to be in our lives.

God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.
Gal 5:22-23 (CEV)

Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.
Hebrews 4:13 (CEV)

     It has been said that our gifts determine our direction in life, but our character determines how far we will go with our gifts. It's never too late to humble ourselves, check our reputations, make changes,  pray for healing and make amends wherever we can. Let's make sure that our names remind people of God's goodness!

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold.
 Proverbs 22:1 (CEV)


10.10.10

Free to be Me!

     Have you ever felt the pressure to belong, to be understood, or just to be like everyone else?  I thought about that today while looking at all of the conformity and compromise that has been going on in the worship ministry as of late. I'm not talking about the conforming to God's Word that we are supposed to do, but the trend to do what everyone else is doing or to try to outdo what we see others doing to "fit in". It seems as if many of us want to do whatever it takes to get the platforms, the notoriety and the validation of those who we think will help us "make it"---whatever that means. In the process, we lose our uniqueness, identity, and creativity and although we may get what we were seeking from people, we are losing God's approval of what we do. 

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Mark 8:36, The Message)

    What are you trading your soul for, in order to become what people want you to be to make them comfortable with what you do? God has given you a unique way of showing Himself to the world through your gifts and talents, but because you haven't seen anyone else minister (serve) in that way, you are compromising and changing your kingdom assignment to become acceptable to man. Or, maybe someone criticized or made fun of your ministry in front of others and you allowed that to stop your flow.  It is very hurtful to be made fun of or rejected, but when we answered the call from God, we agreed to be a partaker with the sufferings of Christ. He was criticized, he was mocked, he was humiliated publicly, but He did not ever change what God assigned Him to do in the earth.( Matt. 27:29-31; Mark 3:22) Thank God! When you back down from the works that God called you to do in the way He has inspired you, there are people who are missing out on what God wants to do through you. He will not anoint compromise. He is not concerned with who is the most popular, if they are out of His will. It is very possible that the very ones we are trying to follow may not even be getting God's attention, most of the time. Only He knows the condition of their hearts, but we are not called to please people!

      Whenever anyone preaches or teaches about compromise, most of the time they are referring to questionable lifestyle choices such as certain types of entertainment, activities, associations, sexual sins, and the like. But beyond the obvious is the more insidious type of compromise that doesn't appear to be wrong---when we stop being ourselves to become someone else that people will like or accept. Maybe you are supposed to do mime and only make-up half of your face (like the Phantom of the Opera), but because you haven't seen anyone else doing it, you change your look to "fit in", and lose God's approval and anointing.

  What has God given you to share with the world?  Don't allow others to control His expression through you by their approval, opinions, or behavior. There's no room for compromise!

       Enjoy this unique ministry presentation:


   

2.10.10

In-Vest!

     We are living in a time when everything is expensive! Basics like food, water, shelter, clothing and transportation are causing many of us to struggle just to make ends meet. For those of us who are part of the Worship Arts Minstries, it can become even more challenging to get garments, music, worship instruments, and other things that we need...so it seems. There are already many suggestions that have been offered on how to save money, raise funds, and do things to be well-equipped for ministry without "breaking the bank".

     Anytime we make a committment to do something, there is always a cost involved, and if we are really commissioned of God to a ministry, He will provide us with everything we need to do His work, even if it comes to us in ways that we didn't expect:

"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.' "(Luke 14:28 - The Message)


     I recently attended a Dance Conference where it was reported that garments were stolen--yes stolen from a vendor's rack, and someone even took a garment that someone else had saved up money to purchase. I can't imagine which God they are going to praise while wearing some stolen garments, and I hope and pray that they won't dance in them. I also hope that the ones who were stolen from will receive double from what was taken away, especially the one who saved up for their special praise wear. I also know of people who will join a dance ministry and say: "If I have to buy garments, I'm not dancing" or complain about how much the items cost...expecting the ministry to pay for their garments. While it is true that some churches have the budgets to purchase garments for their dance ministries, most of the time we have to purchase our own. Remember if God called you, He will make provision for what you need. You don't ever have to steal, feel entitled, or demand that someone else pay for what you need.

    When I was in college, we had an Acting instructor who had three words for us when we were preparing our stage work for class: "Invest! Invest! Invest!". By this, he meant, (1) Spend time honing your craft; (2) Spend time researching your work and (3) Spend money on your costumes, props and anything else you need to have an excellent performance. The secular arena is aware of this, so how dare do we who know God try to get away with anything less? Time out for not investing our resources into what God has given us to do....time out for not knowing why we do what we do... and time out for not honing our skills to be our best. It's time to In-Vest!

14.9.10

Introducing...UrbanArtsLive! (TM)

     I have opened a new web page on Blogger for my Children's Creative Arts Program, UrbanArtsLive!(TM) promoting healthy lifestyles for kids through art. Art was always my favorite subject in school, and my projects were always a little "different"...which was not always encouraged at the time. When I was four, I remembered painting a ceramic ear of corn lime green and being criticized by the arts and crafts teacher because everyone knew that corn was yellow. But what he didn't realize was that my grandmother grew corn in our backyard, and it was green at the time, so I painted it green! I also remember getting in trouble with the meanest Kindergarten teacher in the world (who I believe really hated kids) for making a mess with the paint...This is Kindergarten, remember?

    All of my art experiences weren't bad ones, but I always looked forward to creating something that no one had ever seen before. Once I started working with children I realized that art was the one time that they didn't fight, enjoyed what they were doing, and stayed on task. They would constantly ask: '"Is this art day?" Even the ones who didn't want to participate at first changed their minds and joined in for a few minutes.  I have directed art projects for service learning projects, where kids created artworks for patients at the Children's Hospital, put up a mural at the Police station, and made a Freedom banner that was carried  in the Independence Day Parade.

    This is the gift that God has given me, and I am believing that someone will see what I do, catch the vision and that He will prosper me with it, while inspiring kids to create art that will help others. It's not about becoming a great artist, it's about creating beauty in a sometimes not-so-beautiful world. I encourage kids in my art classes to look at the concept, and then create something of their own that is different from everyone else's.I sending this out to the universe and praying for the four winds to carry the voice...of UrbanArtsLive!(TM)

    Please go to: urbanartzlive.blogspot.com

    Blessings...Wynne

11.9.10

His Banner Over Me is Love - Banners, Flags, Streamers and More! Pt 2

     We left off in part 1 watching some excellent footage of a soloist and group dancing with worship flags. If you watch carefully, the flags are always in motion, and the movements are free and expansive. In other words, the flags are not a distraction and don't appear to be a hindrance to the worship dancer's flow. The same principle applies to billow cloths, banners, tambourines, tabrets, and glory hoops. Although I have not used all of these, there are many good resources online and at bookstores on how to use these worship instruments properly. Remember, we don't go out and buy items to use because it's popular, or because the group we saw at last week's concert had them! We do all things by faith, being led of  God.

     When using a banner, it's best for it to be carried by a strong, tall individual who can place it where it can be easily seen by the congregation. Banners are not intended to be waved back and forth but held steadily until they are set down in a predetermined area, where they will not be knocked over or obstruct doorways or traffic. Some churches place their banners on the walls, drape them over the balcony or keep them in view near the altar as an exhortation to the worshipers.

     Billow cloths are another beautiful enhancement to worship dance, and can be made in various fabrics, colors, and sizes. As with flags and streamers, they must flow freely and not shaken quickly (which gives the effect of shaking out a rug)! There is no limit to how the billow cloths can be used, they can be wrapped around the head or the body, or can represent different objects depending on the dance that is being ministered. Whatever you do, never let it look like you are bullfighting with the cloth; keep it moving and mostly above your waist and head, so that the congregation can receive the full message of your ministry.

     If you would like more information on worship instruments, ZionFire Ministries at www.zionfire.com has excellent information on their website. Helena Thomas is extremely knowledgeable about flags, banners, and the creation of these instruments. Kathleen Grace Brown of Footofthecrossministries.com makes beautiful tabrets and also has information on their use to share with the worship community. Let's take time to learn about what we are doing, so that we can be excellent in all that we do for God!

     Enjoy these videos of worship dance with streamers and billow cloths. Both are excellent examples of their use:





1.9.10

His Banner Over Me is Love - Banners, Flags, Streamers and more! Pt 1

     Flags, banners and streamers can add a very beautiful dimension and visual effect to worship when used correctly. If not, they create little more than a flag show. When the dance ministry was restored to the church, worship instruments were used by a few ministries who understood their complete purpose and use. As the dance ministry continues to increase in popularity, there are many who are using them with good intentions, but often appear to be "going through the motions" because it's the thing to do. Many of the comments on YouTube and similar websites confirm that what people are observing either does not line up with the Word, or does not make sense to them, so that the flags and banners are just another spectacle in God's House.

     Let's do some homework, and learn where the use of flags, banners, and streamers originated so we can have a knowledge base for our framework. Historically, banners were used as a point of consolidation for armies to rally, and where the flag was, the king was. Our King is Christ! In the Old Testament, the word
Nissi from Nec = banner, flag, standard is interchangeable with the word miracle. Banners that glorify God testify to His miracles and chase away darkness (Ps 20:5; Ps. 68:1; Ps. 60:4; Zech. 9:16; Deut. 26:8). God is the miracle worker,and His banner over us is love! (Song of Sol. 2:4)*

     The colors of the worship instruments used are important. One mistake that is often made is to automatically match the color of the flags or streamers to the garments. Don't get stuck in a box--Different colors carry different spiritual meanings, and God may direct you to change flags in the middle of a dance, or to have different dancers use different colors at the same time, so be led by the Holy Spirit! Be sure to use the appropriate sized worship instruments. An adult should always use an adult-sized flag or streamer, and a child should use one that they can carry comfortably. Keep the flag or streamer high in the air, not too close to your body, or directly in front of your face. Relax, breathe, lift your arms from your back, and allow the flags to flow freely with the air, otherwise it will look as if you are fighting with the flags, and that they are winning! I have seen this before, and it doesn't look nice. If you drop your flag, or your streamer gets detached from the rod, keep dancing! One of two things will happen: Someone else in the group will pick it up for you on beat if you can't, or if you can gracefully sweep the streamer up from the floor at some point, you can do it and keep dancing with just the streamer. I have been in both situations and God still got the glory. A flag can become tangled around its rod if you don't hold the cloth properly between your thumb and index finger. Ask your leader how to do this, and practice! 

     Stay tuned for Part 2 of our study...and in the meanwhile, enjoy some excellent examples of worship with flags and streamers.











* From God's Processions: His Victorious Army from Warriors of Praise, teachings by Jan Hamel, Julie Eymann, Charlotte Baker and Alison Garies

28.8.10

Please C.Y.A. ...Part II!

     I received so much response from this article that I was inspired to continue with a Part II of Please Cover Your Assets! There is so much to say about this topic that it's impossible to tell  it all, but if all of us who have voices will speak out, I believe that those who have ears to hear will listen, and act accordingly. There are many who want to please God, but don't have anyone to give them positive guidance, and still others who have already decided that they will do as they like, regardless of what is said or shown to them. We already know that there is a trend, not just in the dance ministry but in the world, to show as much of ourselves as we possibly can and that same trend comes to church services every week-- not only among dancers but in the Praise Team, the choir, and the congregation.

     God tells us that there should be a difference between the way we look, and the way that others look. Did you know that some countries in the Middle East call the United States "The Great Satan" because of the way women are dressed? I was saved in an Apostolic church that did not believe that women should wear pants, jewelry, make-up, seamed stockings, open-toed shoes or sleeveless dresses. Now that is an extreme, but there is truth in the doctrine that we are to be separate from the world. We can be beautiful and fashionable, and still dress appropriately.

   Many past and present arguments state:
  •    Women should dress modestly so that men won't stumble
  •    Women are their brother's keeper
  •    Women have to dress in a certain way to show that they are "good" girls
    I don't agree with any of those statements, and this is why:
  •    If a man has an issue, he will have one until he gives it to God,  although we should not be part of it
  •    We should be concerned about others, but their problems are theirs until they release them
  •    Just because a woman dresses in a certain way does not always mean that her heart is right
    The reason for wearing appropriate garments is that we are perceived in whatever way we present ourselves. If we appear naked, then that is the way people will see us. We dress in a certain way because of the One that we represent. A while back, I danced at a traditional Baptist church where there were some older "church mothers". I didn't have a lot of garments or money to buy an overlay, so I bought a piece of chiffon fabric and wrapped it around the bodice of the dress. One of them came to me after I danced and said: "I saw the worship in your dance. That was very classy". Thank God for that! So, for those of us who continue to make excuses for dancing without appropriate garments, what do you think these same elders are saying when you dance?

     So, before you go out to minister, or even go outside, here are some things to think about:
  • What do I want people to see when they look at me?
  • Do my garments enhance the message I am bringing, or do they take away from the essence of it?
  • What does God think of what I am wearing?
     Lastly, on a teleconference, I heard a well-known dance garment maker say: "If you are not ready to buy appropriate garments, maybe you are not ready to minister in dance". That may sound harsh, but there is truth in what she is saying. Once again, if you don't know what to do, find out first, count the cost, pray for guidance, and...Please Cover Your Assets!

27.8.10

Please C.Y.A. (Cover Your Assets)!


     There is a growing trend in the dance ministry to dance without coverings underneath skirts and dresses. Even with the large number of conferences and workshops where classes are taught about proper dance ministry attire, it is still going on and bringing a lot of undue attention where it is not needed. The body is not dirty or shameful, because everything that God has created is good (Gen.1:31) however, because we live in a fallen world, we have to be careful of what we are showing when we dance in a worship community. What is appropriate for the dance studio or the stage is not for the sanctuary, which is sacred space where all of the focus is to be on the glory and beauty of God, and not on us. Many people have written about this topic in blogs and articles throughout the internet, but it can never be stressed enough...Cover Your Assets!

     In the book of Exodus, God gave instructions to Moses that Aaron and his sons were to wear certain types of priestly garments in the tabernacle for glory and beauty (Ex.28:2). In verses 42-43, He told him to make garments to cover their nakedness:

Make linen underwear to cover their nakedness from waist to thigh. Aaron and his sons must wear it whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the Altar to minister in the Holy Place so that they won't incur guilt and die. This is a permanent rule for Aaron and all his priest-descendants.
(The Message)
   
     There are other elements of the garments that God required, and although we are no longer under the law of Moses there are still certain standards that we have to maintain to keep the reverence and respect of worship in the sanctuary. This is not being legalistic or to put anyone in bondage. Once again, the focus of worship dance is always on God and not on the person, although they are the channel God uses to bring the message in movement. Imagine someone doing an anointed dance, and when they jump, all you see is...you get it. There are so many beautiful inexpensive palazzo (wide legged) pants being made to go under skirts and dresses in all colors and patterns,  there is no excuse for anyone to be going without them. A lot of pastors do not allow dance in their churches because of dancers wearing garments that reveal too much, are too tight, or specifically, the dancers are not covered properly underneath. So many men (and women) come into the church struggling with all kinds of visual addictions, and the last thing they need to see is someone's crotch in the sanctuary...just keeping it real! 

     We must always remember who and what we represent when we dance. Contrary to what anyone says or what you see anyone else doing, it does matter what we do in the sanctuary. Don't be a hindrance to anyone; if you are not sure about what is appropriate, do some research, ask questions, invest in workshops, learn about dance garments, and look around to see what is correct. Listen if someone makes a suggestion about how to be well covered, and don't get an attitude!

We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.
2 Cor 6:3 (NIV)

      Someone is always watching what we do. With the advent of YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and other social networking venues, our work can go around the world in less than 2 minutes. Just because someone says they are in awe of us publicly does not mean that in private, other things are not being said. We can't control people's thoughts or conversations, but we can control what they see. Let's be sure to keep our assets properly covered!

    Please enjoy this video and watch how freely dancers can move for Christ with the proper attire:


18.8.10

PURIFY Worship Conference Highlights

                                    
       The PURIFY Worship Conference was held at The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York from July 28-August 1. Worshipers traveled nationally and internationally to participate in the purification process according to Numbers 8: 6-7a & 11 that began with five months of online preparation classes on the various aspects of Biblical purification led by Rev. Eyesha Marable, founder of the National Liturgical Dance Network. Those who planned to attend were also invited to join in 50 days of prayer and fasting prior to the conference. Registrants chose classes in Dance, Step, Pageantry, and Sign Language with special sections for teens and children.

     Highlights of the conference included sessions and workshops on The Purification Process, Why Purification is Needed, and Results of Purification and were led by a dynamic team of facilitators from all over the country. There was time during the day for quiet reflection in the chapel, where attendees were welcomed by prayerful attendants who kept an atmosphere of worship for all to enjoy. Delicious food was served by a great hospitality team, and the busy days culminated in powerful evening worship services where conference delegates were invited to participate in the service by dancing in the aisles along with the Allen Liturgical Dance Ministry. Evening speakers were: Pastor Marvin Winans, Bishop Paul Morton, and Pastor Jackie McCullough. On Sunday morning, Pastor Donnie McClurkin delivered the message at the 8:30 and 11:15 services.  During Friday Morning's Morning Glory Service, NLDN members danced to Donnie McClurkin's We All Are One, a ministry piece that was learned long-distance via YouTube by many, but came together on that day as a unified praise!

     There were challenging technical classes in Modern, Jazz, African, Lyrical, and Ballet taught by anointed professional dancers/ministers such as Freddie Moore, Dr. Amanda Standard, Yvonne Peters,and many others. It was difficult to choose which class to take!  On Saturday, which was also National Dance Day, dances learned in the various workshops were presented as part of the outreach at St. Alban’s Park. The children and youth were not left out of the purification process and also had their opportunity to participate in Friday outreach activities at Camp Kingdom. Friday workshops for adults offered classes in Purify my Marriage, Purify my Heart, Soul and Mind, Purify my Finances, Purify my Heart, (CPR) and many others. The marketplace ministry featured friendly vendors with quality garments, worship instruments, books, clothing and personal items for every budget and taste. Each participant was encouraged to bring a gift for someone else, and was able to receive one also.

     At the close of the afternoon's activities at St. Alban’s Park, conference delegates had the opportunity to spend their evening in the New York area for fun and fellowship with old and new friends. On Sunday morning, conference participants also danced in a processional to Wave of Glory by Bishop Neil Ellis that was choreographed according to scripture and was a wonderful opportunity for spiritual as well as technical growth.

     The PURIFY Conference was an awesome time of worship, learning, reflecting, and meeting new people from everywhere! For more information about upcoming events or the National Liturgical Dance Network, please e-mail: Natldancenet@aol.com.

8.8.10

When God Calls...

       It always amazes me to see Christian artists soliciting ministry opportunities on social networking sites. In other words, when someone posts an event that they are sponsoring or participating in, such as a concert, conference, or workshop, there will always be one or more people who will ask for a spot on the program. Whatever happened to practice (to become skillful), preparation (to become effective), and prayer (for God to open doors)? This does not mean that we are to be passive (lazy) or to stop reaching out to connect with like-minded people, but what are our real motives for doing so? Do we have a hidden agenda? Unless there is an open call for dance, drama, mime or an open mic for spoken word, it is never appropriate to call and ask to be put "on program".  Trust me on this, it isn't.

     In the secular arena, casting directors call agents or managers for the talent they want for their productions. Performers do not call casting directly, but if casting is interested, they will call the agent. That's where the saying "Don't call us...we'll call you" came from. In God's kingdom, the Holy Spirit is the casting agent for ministries that have God's backing. If we have practiced, prepared ourselves and have prayed for God to open doors for us, He knows where we are, and will make sure that our name gets on the "A" (Approved) list for the places where He wants us to be. We never have to fight or compete for an opportunity to teach, minister or do anything else when we are depending on God to provide for us. In fact, when we become competitive, it shows that we really are not ready to do the work that we are seeking to do. Think about this: What are you imparting to others if you have to fight and argue to teach that class or present that dance?

      Recently, an event was announced, and I really wanted to minister there. I prayed and asked God to open the door for me, I even had the appropriate song to minister. The people hosting the event knew me well. But...God didn't open the door, and when I attended the event, guess what song was ministered on the program? I was even asked by one person in leadership at the event why I didn't minister. We can want something, but if God does not want it for us, we have to accept His will, instead of always trying to fight and make ways for ourselves. In my heart I was disappointed, because I believe that I would have done an excellent job, but God saw past all of that and apparently, that was not the assignment for me  for any number of reasons.

     There is more than enough room for everyone to minister in the unique places where God is calling us. Let's allow the ultimate casting agent to send us to where He wants us to be! (Rev. 3:7-8).

4.8.10

A Word in Season...

     Last Saturday, July 31 was National Dance Day. Also on this day, a great man of God and minister of dance passed from this realm to the heavenlies. Michael McCray is no longer with us, but we will always remember him as one who truly loved to worship God with everything he had. I never met him in person, but via Facebook, he recently sent a message to my inbox and simply said "Please send me your address, I want to send you something". I had no idea that I was going to receive something that I could keep for the rest of my life. It was a DVD of his ministry. As soon as I started watching, I could feel the power and presence of God in my livingroom. It was intense! I have no idea as to why he sent me the video, or how many he sent out. But I am so glad that I have it. I found an article that he wrote on MySpace and wanted to share it with everyone, I don't think Michael would mind:

To Leaders, Especially Dance Leaders:

Grace and Peace be unto all of you, saints and friends! Truly, today is a great day, and I thank and praise God for it!

Today, I want to encourage all of the LEADERS IN MINISTRY. One thing that I’ve discovered in dealing with people is that everyone is not going to be supportive of you. There are some who are envious, or jealous, of the call that God has placed on your life. There are those who really don’t like you, and will not celebrate the anointing that God has on you. There are even those that seek your demise, and not just a great fall, but people may want you dead! But the Word of the Lord came to me through Daniel 6:3..

"Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."
If you read the entire 6 Chapter of Daniel, you will see that King Darius appointed Daniel to be over other leaders in the kingdom. It’s quite obvious that Daniel had some "haters" to deal with because they (the Leaders) plotted to destroy him. They wanted Daniel dead! But what they failed to realize is that Daniel had two things going for him...One, Daniel was a PRAYING MAN! Prayer is so essential. Even when faced with tough odds, Daniel continued to pray three times a day! Daniel was not shakened nor moved by his haters, but he was moved to pray without ceasing! Two, Daniel has an EXCELLENT SPIRIT! That blew me away! What I got from this is that even as a Leader, in order to be effective, I must possess a spirit of excellence! This is why King Darius chose Daniel over all the other leaders, even those leaders that had a longer tenure with him. Daniel’s spirit was also RIGHT! He had no hidden agendas, no motives...he just did what was right.

So Leaders, Christians and Friends: Let your haters continue to hate on you! Don’t get discouraged! Continue to PRAY, even for them, and make sure that your spirit is one of excellence! Make sure that your heart is right and your motives are pure! And when you do this, watch "The King" move you into heights unknown! The Word declares that your gifts will make room for you, and place you before great men! (Proverbs 18:16) So don’t ever feel that you have to push your way into a position...what God has for YOU, it’s for YOU!

PRAYER: Lord, I thank You for teaching me how to move forward inspite of my enemies. I thank You for allowing me to possess the gifts and talents that I do, knowing that every good and perfect gift is from above. I pray that in all that I do, it will be done to Your glory and honor, and that it will edify my brothers and sisters in the household of faith. This is my prayer, in Jesus’ name...Amen!

Extracted from: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=18553179&blogId=367786559

  
To everyone: Life is a vapor...we can be here today and gone in the next minute so don't take anyone for granted. All life is valuable even if you think the person who holds the life is not. So, take time to say things to people around you that need to be said TODAY, thank them today, appreciate them today, while they can hear you today and please, don't wait until they are gone to show that you care. And remember that any of us can be gone at anytime for any reason. It’s a vapor…


Selah.


2.7.10

What About the Children?

     Children are everywhere! We see them in our homes, at the park, in the mall, at the supermarket, riding bikes and skateboards, or just playing with dolls on the front porch. They seem to have unlimited amounts of energy and ask endless questions that don't have simple answers. But, what about the children?  Recent statistics show that 1 in every 58 children in the United States, were abused in 2006.

More than half (61 percent) of the children (771,700 children) were victims of neglect, meaning a parent or guardian failed to provide for the child's basic needs. Forms of neglect include educational neglect (360,500 children), physical neglect (295,300 children), and emotional neglect (193,400).


Another 44 percent were victims of abuse (553,300 children), including physical abuse (325,000 children), sexual abuse (135,000 children), and emotional abuse (148,500 children).

An average of nearly four children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect (1,760 in 2007).*

Christ was very clear in His Word about the way he felt about children. He loved them, and expected them to be taken care of. This is what He says:  "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom." (Mark 10:14 MSG) And He also says this, which is the whole reason for this evening's blog: "Feed my lambs." John 21:15.

     Everyone knows that public prayers are not allowed in the public schools, and children who openly speak about their faith in God are often ostracized or harassed by school administrators, and ridiculed by their peers. The emptiness of soul of many children is evident, manifesting itself in destructive behaviors such as low self-esteem and disrespect towards others, poor grades, pervasive anger, drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, and violence. What makes this even worse, is that too often many of these same children come from Christian homes, whose parents are leaders in the church. What about the children?  This is not a judgement of anyone's parenting skills, or lack thereof. But something is clearly wrong.

     A lot of children and youth workers in churches have no calling to work with children, and are wounding the little ones with the words of their mouths, and in even worse ways. Some will remain silent, some will tell their parents. Some will completely walk away from the church or if they stay, will simply pack it up, "shut down" and only come to distract others from learning the ttruth. They will sit in church and text, or listen to their iPod and not hear the Word because they have been wounded by those who they were supposed to trust.  But God sees it all: "On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a around your neck." (Mark 9:42 MSG) If you are working with children and youth without the heart and calling of God, please leave the ministry now!

     Many parents send their children to church but don't attend themselves, so they have no Christ-like examples to follow at home. They know the words to the latest songs, but cannot remember scripture, or do not know how to apply God's Word to their lives. Children enter a war zone every day when they go to school, so they need to know how to put on the full armor of God, just as adults do. If they are not hearing God's Word at home, when they come to church they need to hear it in a way that is relevant to them. Children and youth workers, please be creative, listen to the Holy Spirit and let God lead and guide you in presenting the Word to them for their world. Children can quickly discern fakeness and phoniness! So be honest, and live your lives authenically, so that the young ones can see the light of Christ in you.  Teach them the Word, teach them how to pray, and teach them how to worship. Children are not the church of tomorrow, they are part of the church today. So...what about the children?



*National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System.










23.6.10

The Posture of Worship Pt. II

 
 I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about you
All about you, Jesus.
I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made it
When it's all about you,
All about you ,Jesus.
~Matt Redman

Imagine for a moment on Sunday morning....there is no Praise Team, no band, no sound system, special effects, or no flags, streamers, banners or beautiful garments for the dancers. Could we still offer extravagant praise to God without any of these things? How many times after praise and worship have we complained about the way the musicians played, or how the worship leader switched gears in the middle of the song, or even worse, forgot the words to the song  and threw everything "off"? Could it be, that we have taken ownership of the worship time and made it about us, instead giving worship to the One who made heaven and earth? Unfortunately, many of us have been guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit in this way.

The story of  the song: The Heart of Worship tells of how the songwriter's pastor in England got rid of the sound system and band in the church for a short time, to allow people to worship from their hearts. He asked the church members one question: "When you come through the doors on a Sunday, what are you bringing as your offering to God?" The article states that the congregation was uncomfortable at first without their music and sound, but they learned how to really honor and reverence God in a way that they never had before. In other words, the people put their focus back on God, and not on acting out what they thought was praise and worship. Matt Redman wrote the song in his bedroom as his response to what he learned from this experience, and it subsequently became popular around the world.

Worship is all about God, and who He is. Now imagine again...that everyone came to worship Him just because He is God. What kind of atmosphere would be in our gatherings if we all did that? God is calling. Let's go back to the posture of worship!

What may I give to the Lord for all the good things which he has done for me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and give praise to the name of the Lord. (Psalm 116:12-13)







Footnote: Song Story: Matt Redman's The Heart of Worship,  by David Schrader (http://www.crosswalk.com/)

15.6.10

The Posture of Worship Pt. I


"Come let us worship and bow down...let us kneel before the LORD our maker, for He is our God" (Psalm 95:6-7).

There are so many things that can be said about what worship is, and what it is not. Let's look at the definition of worship from Webster's Dictionary: worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being; reverance toward a divine being or supernatural power, or the expression of such reverence; extravagant respect, admiration or devotion; to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power.
It's very interesting how the word "reverence" is repeated several times in the definition of worship. This means that our worship is to honor or respect the supernatural Divine being, Creator of the Universe, the True and Living God. Notice that it says nothing about what we do when we worship, the garments we wear, the banners, flags, tabrets, streamers, or anything else that accompanies our worship. The true worship of God starts in our hearts, and everthing else follows. Over time, we have become so preoccupied with external things, that we have forgotten about the One whom we are worshipping. Worship time is now on the clock, and has to fit in with everything else that goes on in a service. It has taken on a life of its own, and sometimes has all of the characteristics of a staged show. Many times before a worship service, dancers are waiting "in the wings" talking about everything else but God, and say a quick prayer before going back to their original conversations until "showtime".

Worshipers, this should not be! If we are going to give honor and reverence to the supernatural Divine being, the posture of our hearts, as well as our bodies should be one of quiet meditation, even if we are going to dance to an upbeat song. Our worship is spiritual warfare, and lets the enemy know that our God is greater than anything he would try to perpetrate in our midst, on the people or in the atmosphere. We cannnot do this without starting from the posture of worship.

God has given us the awesome opportunity to publicly lead others into worshipping Him. Let's not be guilty of reducing worship down to another performance, or something we do because we are part of the Praise Team. We are all called to give extravagant respect, admiration and devotion to the Maker of heaven and earth, from the posture of worship! Selah...


*Thanks to Lynnea Johnson of Baltimore, MD for permssion to use this picture.


5.6.10

So Much to do...Not Much Money?

This is a repost...but it never gets old.



      There are so many classes, workshops, retreats and conferences going on, but most of us have to choose between attending only a few, or none at all. We can't be everywhere all the time, due to job and family obligations, and if an event involves travel, that's an added expense. Of course when we arrive at our destination, we need to have money to purchase food (if not included) books, resources and most importantly have emergency funds -- just in case.

     How do we do this, in the midst of economic challenges? In her e-book, Garments of Glory, Jocelyn Richard (http://www.thepraisedancelife.com/) has many fundraising suggestions for your ministry. A few of her suggestions are:  Having a ballroom dancing class for married couples or seniors; a silent auction; a car wash; sponsor a walk; a dance ministry concert;  a baby praise ballet class for preschoolers, and temporarily cutting back on items that are not important for a worthwhile cause (From Garments of Glory, page 19). There are so many creative ways to generate funds, if we plan ahead.  One of the ways I save money for a special occasion is to put all of my spare change aside, and not spend it unless I absolutely have to. It is surprising how quickly those quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies add up! We can also save rebate checks and money saved from store coupons.  If there is recycling in our area, we can utilize that resource. How about  not going to that weekly $12 movie, or taking lunch and snacks to work instead of stopping at that fast-food place?  So much of our money that could go towards things that have eternal value for us and others is being wasted, because it's going to the wrong places.  Some of us can always find money to shop at the mall and spend, spend, spend...but when it's time to get equipped for Kingdom business, we complain about how expensive it is. It's time to rethink our priorities and put our money where God's heart is. And remember, if we consistently give to God and share with others, it will come back to us when we need it (Matt. 6: 28-33).

     If there's an event that we would like to participate in that will especially enhance our training, we can write fundraiser letters for sponsorships to help us attend. After we have prayed and saved all that we possibly can,  people who know what we do, know our character and are able to help will be more than willing to contribute.  If we want something we never had, sometimes we have to do something we have never done before!

    So, next time there is a conference, retreat, class, or workshop that you feel is out of reach, think again. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Calling all worship dancers! Get ready for The Sound...at Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, July 25-29, 2012. Conference fees: Adults - $300; Teens $275. Group rates and payment plans available. More info to follow. Start planning now...

23.5.10

Let's Do it...Well!


I recently had the opportunity to attend a Spoken Word presentation at Da' Poetry Lounge and one of the artists did a performance that I will never forget. I didn't agree with his content, what he stood for or believed, but I had the greatest respect for his boldness. He made no apologies for who he was, and how he saw the world, and he had everyone's attention. There was complete silence in the room because of his uncomprising stance and strong presence that shook the theatre. We could have all gone home after that! Even when he left the stage, he left in so much power that the next performer had to admit that he was a hard act to follow, and had to collect himself before he started his poem.

     We should never make excuses when we present a piece of work to an audience, whether it is in song, dance, music or words. Making statements like "Please bear with me while I attempt this song", or describing the challenges you had before coming onstage gives people an excuse not to listen to you. Think of this:  If you went to someone's home for dinner, and they told you that the dish they prepared really wasn't that good, would you really want to eat it? You might try it just to be polite, but in the back of your mind you would probably be wondering exactly what happened in the kitchen before you arrived and wouldn't want to eat much of it.

      In Poetri Smith's Spoken Funk Workshop, he always says: "No excuses,  no red flags, and no holding back". A red flag is calling attention to a mistake. If you are a soloist and forget a line, a step or part of a song, make something up! If you are really prepared and something goes wrong (with the music, the sound system or something completely out of your control) the audience will never know. Holding back deprives you and your audience of whatever experience you were supposed to have together when you went before them. As ministers of God, we are to present our best (just as He did), and not just do something for form or fashion. So, now that we know what to do, let's do it...well!

5.5.10

Is This What They Really See?

     I recently watched a YouTube video in which a man stated that there were only five basic moves in Praise Dance, as he proceeded to demonstrate each one. This was meant as comedy, but the truth is, what he was doing was showing what many people see and laugh at when they see dance done without thought or preparation. He was making a parody of  moves that he called  "the flutter kick", " the dog paddle", "pulling down the rain", "frustration and running for cover" and "running around".
    
     I don't know this man's heart or intention, so I cannot judge him. But, we must admit that we have all seen these same types of dance movements done badly over and over again, mostly by dancers who repeat what they see others doing because they are not willing to take the time and effort to learn how to move clearly. The result is a dance that looks comical. On a side note:  In my own experience I have seen dancers wearing gloves that are too big for their hands, so that the gloves flop around like a duck's bill.  There are only a few instances that gloves are appropriate for dance ( I am not referring mime, or mime dance), and if they are worn at all, they should fit properly and be worn with shoes to complete the look. Wearing gloves with bare feet really doesn't make sense! These are the types of mistakes that give people like this man something to make fun of. Now I agree that the scoffers and mockers never need an excuse for their behavior, but why make it easy for them? If we are studying to do it the right way, they will lose their audience soon enough.

     If our movement vocabulary is limited, then we need to look for opportunities to expand and increase it. Every weekend, someone somewhere is hosting low or no-cost dance ministry workshops -- so there are very few excuses to not attend. Even if our budgets cannot accomodate classes at a professional studio, we can take advantage of classes offered by the Recreation and Parks department, or the local Y. Commuinity Colleges offer classes in a variety of dance styles from professional instructors twice a week per semester at reasonable prices. At some colleges, free tickets to see at least one major dance company perform are included because attending staged perfomances is a class requirement. It is worth the sacrifice of time and finances to make our ministries the best they can become. The Bible says in Matt. 22:14 that "Many are called, but few are chosen", meaning that there are many people who God has called into the movement ministry, but only the ones who prepare themselves to be all they can possibly be to represent Him well will be chosen. People will always make a mockery of what they don't understand, but we never have to give them a reason to do it. The challenge is: How much are you willing to invest in your ministry so that it will not be laughing stock? It's time to get busy!


26.4.10

Health Benefits of Ballet

This is a link to an excellent article by Debra Cornelius about the Health Benefits of Ballet on edubook.com. Read and enjoy...


Health Benefits of Ballet

Class, Anyone?


    The dance ministry attracts many people, some of whom have no formal training. While God does not call or anoint us based on our skill, we should always strive to learn as much as we can about dance, spiritually and physically. Besides having a Biblical understanding of dance, prayer, praise, worship and spiritual warfare, we also need to know how to move safely and properly so that our message in movement will be clearly understood. Many leaders still teach that it is not necessary to study dance or attend dance classes, and that all we need is a heart to worship God, which is not entirely correct, because the benefits of good dance training are endless.
     In a basic dance class ( I recommend starting with Ballet) you will learn body alignment, positions, coordination, gain strength and flexibility, awareness of space, timing, and presence, which will help in any other dance style.  Remember: The goal of a ballet class is not to become a Ballerina, unless that is what you are called to do, but to become a stronger minister of whatever style of dance you do as a soloist or a group.
     If you are new to the dance ministry or would like to learn more about the ministry of dance, Jocelyn Richard of the Praise Dance Life will be teaching the Biblical Study of Dance teleseminar from May 6 to May 20 at 7PM, EST. The series will discuss The Purpose of the Dance, The Dancer as Worship Leader, The Dance of the Prophet Killer, and more. The teleseminar is interactive and includes coaching and thought-provoking discussions with Jocelyn, who is a dynamic minister of dance and director of  the Visual Praise Dance Studio in Augusta GA. for more information or to register for the class, please go to:
http://biblicalstudyofdance-poetry.eventbrite.com/.

Keep Dancing...

6.4.10

PURIFY!

                                                   
      The word "purify" simply means: to make or become pure.  When we think of something that is purified, we immediately think of it as being clean and in its natural state, free from contaminants, preservatives, additives, artificial colors, flavors, etc. In nature, purification takes place on a regular basis. For example, if our bodies don't eliminate toxins properly, we will eventually fall ill.  Many serious illnesses can be linked to some kind of toxicity in the body.

     Another form of purification involves getting rid of excesses in our lives, including relationships and associations that have passed their expiration date. Just as consuming spoiled food can harm us physically, toxic relationships can harm us spiritually and cause us to become ineffective in our lives and minstry of service to God and others. Each of us can find areas in our lives that need purification.   Maybe we have lost certain spiritual abilities over time, or we lack the inspiration and drive we used to have. Some of us have become weary and discouraged. Whatever the problem, it has One solution: PURIFY! (Numbers 8:6-7)

     Calling all Worshippers! Looking for all dancers, steppers, dramatists, musicians to join us at Greater Allen Cathedral in New York City. Let's PURIFY together. July 28-August 1, 2010!


http://www.gacatallencathedral.org/

22.3.10

Passion!

Ths is a repost from April, 2010 as we prepare for Resurrection programs and presentations....

ANGELS: Who do you seek in the tomb, O Christians?
MARYS: Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified, O heavenly ones.
ANGELS: He is not here. He is risen. Go and annound that He is risen from the tomb as foretold.
~ Quem quaritis - (Whom do you seek?) c.950
    
     This is the season when many churches are planning productions for  Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Day (Easter). These presenations include drama, dance, pageantry, or a combination of all three. In larger churches, cast members may audition for these productions, or in smaller ministries everyone is invited to participate, making it an exciting time for teaching and learning.
     Liturgical drama as we know it, evolved from a four-lined 10th century scene known as a trope. The trope was a short musical interlude in the church service that was used to teach the Bible to those who could not read Latin. The earliest and best known trope was the Quem quaritis - "Whom do you seek", performed during the Easter service. Over time, the dramas became more complex, involving more detail with costumes, props, and characters. The most popular form of liturgical drama was the Passion Play, depicting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and has taken on many variations through the years. It is amazing that the elaborate church productions that we enjoy today originated from only four lines!
     Whatever type of production you are doing this year, there are some basic things to remember:
(1) If you have never been in a production before, have fun, and don't be afraid to ask questions. We are all here to tell a story that someone else needs to know.
(2) If you are experienced, don't look down on those who are less skilled than you are, and be available to share your knowledge with others -- but remember that there is only one director.
(3) Be on time! in professional theatre, the saying is: "If you are on time, you're late", meaning, if a rehearsal starts at 7:00, be there at 6:45, ready to work at 7:00 and please don't drag in at 7:15. (That goes for directors too)!
(4) Study your character, understand their motivation. Even if you are part of a crowd that yells: "Crucify Him!" know why you are saying it, and to whom you are talking.  Who are you? a shopkeeper, a farmer, or a elderly person? What did He say or do that caused you to want Him dead? Where are you? When does this take place? Why are you part of the crowd?
(5) Don't talk during rehearsals. If you are waiting for your scene to come up, listen to what others are saying and doing and don't be a distraction. You might miss important information that the director will get tired of repeating.
(6) Mark your script with any notes and cues that are given to you with a highlighter and a pencil, and remember them.
(7) Know your lines and the ones before and after yours, just in case someone misses a cue and you have to keep going. You would be surprised how often this happens, even in professional theatre. Remember, this is live, so there are no retakes.
(8) Speak clearly. There is something actors are taught to do on stage, which is called "popping consonants". It means to pronounce the beginning and ending of each word, so much that even though it sounds exaggerated to you, the people in the audience will hear the words normally.
 (9) Project your voice - speak so the people on the back row and in the balcony can hear you. This does not mean to yell your lines, but it does mean that you have to use your diaphragm to speak. If you are not familiar with this, your director will be able to teach you.
(10) To combat stage fright, stay focused on what you are doing, and remember that people in the audience want you to do well. If you make a mistake, don't show it, even if you have to make something up to get back on track. It has happened to everyone.

    Last of all, be excited about going on stage for Christ, and don't forget your Passion for Him!