Have you ever experienced that feeling where there is this idea that keeps buzzing around your head, and you know that it is potentially the best idea ever, better than any you have tried, but it just scares you spitless so you put it off and put it off….. But then the buzzing gets louder, and more insistent, and it becomes much harder to ignore, so you venture a step towards it, and slowly start to wonder if it actually might be possible?
Well, I have that. Right now. I’m not even officially DOING it, just thinking about doing it, even starting to TALK about doing it, and it really does scare the crud out of me. But, it feels so right, it feels like I have been waiting my whole life to do it, and so if I can just get over the mountain of my fears I may just see an incredible valley on the other side.
It’s hard to really describe what it is, so I will do my best to bumble through.
I have a lot of very deep passions in my life (thus this blog). My faith/religion, my family, and my dancing would be the main three. In so many ways I have had to put them each into compartments – I have my set aside dance time where I take a break from being a mommy and I have my religious and family things I do when I am not teaching dance since I work with dancers of varying faiths and beliefs and want to ensure they feel respected. In some ways this works really well, because each place refreshes me for the others so I am better for it.
But the idea keeps whispering to me, what if there were a way to combine these things more, to express my faith through dance, and to involve my family more as well?
There a a few background beliefs that pull me in different directions on this:
1-I really believe the arts are an EXTREMELY powerful way of affecting others – both emotionally and spiritually. The arts have a way of getting into the minds and hearts of people that nothing else really has. People learn in many different ways, but primarily through visual, audio, and kinesthetic means. We are moved by paintings, we are inspired by music – by the things we SEE and HEAR. But dancing somehow slips under the radar in it’s power to move and influence, which is interesting, because a dance done well has the ability to hit all three – through the music it uses, through the visual of the costumes, colors, lighting, background, and lines, and kinesthetically through the movement of the dancers. So, hypothetically, a dance done right has the potential to touch the full range of learning styles, and reach the ENTIRE audience (and by extension the entire world but I’ll calm down a bit for now!)
2) I say “slips under the radar” but what I really mean is that dance is being used alright, and to affect people’s minds and emotions alright, but SO MUCH of it – I would say upwards of 90% of it if not more, is not in a positive way. Our senses are overwhelmed with tricks and inhuman flexibility on younger and younger dancers, the choreography has become faster and faster and we are whisked away giddily on an ever increasing paced merry go round of impressive skills, physical prowess, innovative dance filmography, and “Wasn’t that AHmazing?! Did you see that when she…. And then they…. I didn’t even know that was POSSIBLE!!” It gives us something to talk about because of the high level feats we witnessed. We feel important. But did it MOVE us? Did it CHANGE us? No. But it kept us moving so fast and stimulated so much that we were so full of dessert we never realized we missed dinner.
In addition, dancing has become incredibly sexual in its content, music, and costumes, and is being used, to be quite frank, but a power that is not Christ-based in order to distract and defile and debase something that I believe was created to be a powerful tool in the hands of God to teach people of beauty, give them a taste of heaven, and build faith in who they really are. And I don’t for one second believe that who we are at our very core is sexual and naughty and seductive and explicit. I fully believe that at our base we are divine beings with a divine heritage and that’s it is time for us to stand up for that heritage and rise above what the world would tell us we really are. We are beauty, let’s proclaim it with all the purity and strength and power that we have been given by the very source of that power, God Himself.
Well, we have faith based and inspiring music – some of which makes it onto mainstream stations. We have faith based and religious paintings and even jewelry that are used. But faith based dance? That brings me to #3:
It IS out there.
Aaaaannnddd this may sound rude, but that’s a big reason reason I hesitate.
Unfortunately my exposure to faith based dancing is of three styles. 1-People dressed like pioneers doing farm work dances, 2-people dressed in baggy white long sleeved floor length dresses with 90% of the dance having arms raised up to the sky, and 3-People wearing either of the aforementioned style costumes thrashing around being depressed.
None of these really connected with me. I feel terrible saying it, because I applaud ANY dancing done with good intent, and I MOST CERTAINLY applaud them and the positive impact that I am sure they are having on their target audience.
I am just not their target audience. Even within my faith, I go about things a little differently. I take the concepts taught and I make it real – down into the grungy truth of every day living and how does it apply to a real person, not just an ethereal concept that sounds nice on Sunday and then we all go home to “real life.” So I guess that is what I would want any faith based or Christ – centered dancing to be – REAL. Something we can all relate to, and be uplifted by, but that looks like real dancing as well. I would combine solid technical dancing with contemporary styles and real life themes, and in the process uplift people and bring them closer to their Savior. I would find movement that means something to the audience and bring in the beauty of trained dancers as well. I would even love to bring in music as separate numbers – singers and musicians who can also teach through their art. And most certainly I will bring in some of the concepts I used and learned in my “Dance Your Truth” Show with Elle Vie Dance Company, because of the way it shows the beauty and power of the human soul. (Just wait, some cool posts to come on that whole showcase!)
Well, that’s the idea anyway. I know it’s something I want to do, I know it’s something I can do and would be good at doing, and I know it’s something I am meant to do, but I am just having to take this a step at a time because it’s the HOW to get there I’m unsure of. WHO would be my dancers? I certainly want to keep my regular company going as is, so it wouldn’t be a replacement for that but a new project I did on the side. (Yes, I know, busy mom of 5 and already have a business, and adding more…. ) So where do I get dancers? Local youth from my church that dance? Not so local? Not so youth? Where do I even start? Who can I find to head up the music end of things? Where and when would we perform? I know there are a lot of weekday events in my church we could perform at, but it’s getting in the door. And how do I convince them that this will be a powerful movement (double meaning intended) that will be nothing like the preconceived ideas they may also have about religious based dancing?
I don’t have all of these answers. By giving time and attention to that buzzing around my head, I have more questions than answers. But, I am beginning to look into finding those answers, the conversations have begun, and I am walking forward in faith believing that if this is truly something I am supposed to do, a way will be provided, doors will be opened, and people will come (See 1 Nephi 3:7)
So, if you read this (and I know this was longer than I usually like to write so kudos for long attention span!) and have ideas, or want to contribute or participate or put your two cents in, feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me another way if we are friends :).
As always, thanks for reading.