“Well, what’s the point in that? Why? Aren’t you too old for that? How is this going to help you in ministry?”
These are just a smattering of the questions I seem to get asked whenever I go to the gym, talk about what I’m reading about, or post any dance related picture on social media. Yes, I’m still pursuing my ballet studies, even though I never have been very good, nor have I studied at an intensive level (much to my dismay, I assure you). I still do barre workouts, stretch intensively, and am still working on my technique every day. I’m in the middle of pursuing attending a summer intensive program with a few Christian ballet companies around the world and hope to go back to weekly ballet classes. But why? Why would I bother “wasting” my time continuing this education if I have no intention of becoming a professional or teaching dance full time? Well, right now, I’m pursing my degree in Elementary Education. I want to teach. ( Most likely overseas somewhere in Europe.) I have a passion for teaching and working with kids. Teaching is my ultimate ministry goal, but I also want to use dance as a way for outreach and further ministry.
I know that there is controversy that surrounds the idea of dancing in the church and it’s place in ministry. I’m reminded of this anytime I go to practice in the school gym. Judgmental looks, whispered comments, and confrontation to my face on how I’m going to cause some to stumble. What people do not seem to understand is the validity that dance has in ministry and as an outreach. They don’t see it’s importance. I do.
As a mentor for Big Bro- Big Sis, I’m able to use my knowledge of dance to relate to my little sib and her friends. One of her favorite things to do with me is have a “dance class” in Solheim where I “teach” her ballet, and she “teaches” me hip-hop. Over the summer when we went to the park together I was able to practice Acro and hip hop with her and some of her friends. Through dance I was able to strengthen my relationship with her and build relationships with kids in the area. Through this building of trust and mutual interests, I’ve been able to share my faith with these girls. I see dance as a valid ministry because of this. God used dance to plant a seed in each one of these girls.
Ultimately, I believe that God can use anyone, and anything to lead people to Him. Dance is not an exception!
Think about it. Most little girls are enrolled in a dance class of some kind when they are in pre-school or elementary school. Why wouldn’t having Christian teachers showing these girls how this art form can be used to worship and honour God be acceptable? This seems like a mission field to me! Dance is a gorgeous form of worship, and with more Christian dance classes available, maybe ballet would be taught as such.
I understand that many Christians argue that dance is an art form that has been overly secularized, therefore it has no place in the church or Christian ministry. I would argue that music, television, books, and movies also have become overly secularized yet there are still Christian music artists, books, television shows, and movies. We even sing songs to worship the Lord in churches! How scandalous! Just like we omit foul language and sexual innuendos from our music, books, and other media forms, you can omit teaching and performing overly sexualized dance moves as a Christian. In my opinion, the only way that the church will be able to redeem this art form is to train dancers and encourage dancing in the church. I’m aware that I have people that disagree with me strongly. This does not stop me from pursuing ballet and I still see it’s validity in the church and Christian ministry.
Regardless of the controversy and the questioning, I want to teach in an elementary school and I still want to teach dance in some capacity. Whether that’s at an after school program or teaching dance part time at a studio I don’t know. I just want to be able to use dance in some capacity. Dance is a way to widen my area of ministry and reach kids that I would not have been able to otherwise.
Dance is in our culture. It’s a respected art form worldwide and has no limits to it’s place in ministry. This is why I’m still dancing. This is why I’m in classes, stretching, practicing, and pushing myself further. God has given me a passion for teaching and dance (especially teaching dance). Many may criticize and call me crazy, but I’m going for the passions that God has given me. It’s as simple as that. 🙂