What Is the Meaning of Praise Dance Movements?

By Miranda Morley

According to the Seattle Pi, dancing was once something done only in charismatic circles, but today more and more Christian churches are incorporating praise dance movements. Although they seem similar to other forms of modern dance, praise dance movements actually have a specific history, significance and meaning that gives them a liturgical purpose.

History

According to Kathleen Kline-Chesson, dance has been an important part of religious expression throughout history. In the Christian tradition, dance was mentioned several times throughout the Old Testament, as the faithful danced to express worship, praise and thanks.

Significance

According to Anne Stevens' book, "Restoring the Dance: Seeking God's Order" dancing in praise allows individuals to use their bodies as temples to God. Through dancing, the faithful show their intimacy and devotion to their Lord.

Misconceptions

Christianity and dance have often been seen as less than compatible because of the focus on the body, according to the Seattle Pi. Stevens suggests that this is because the body is often associated with the carnal, or sexuality. However, praise dancing is about faith not sexuality.

Types

Both choreographed and spontaneous dance are performed in the church. While spontaneous dance is seen as the movement of the Holy Spirit, Stevens suggests choreographed dance can be similarly liturgical. She instructs choreographers to wait until God gives them the right dance moves, much in the same way that pastors are inspired to craft sermons.

Potential

According to Seattle Pi, the praise dance industry is growing, featuring programs for youth and sparking a number of Christians who want to become professional dancers.

About the Author

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.