(The following picture is not a picture of the praise dancers at Bethel Gospel Assembly)
BEthel Gospel Assembly, A Pentecostal Church in Harlem showing off their praise dance
There’s nothing more glorious than dancing for the Lord. It looks
like it would be very rewarding on the inside. The church I attend
is Greater Works Deliverance Ministries in Romulus Michigan.
They have praise dancers. We can all see the spirit behind the dancing. You just feel it, like you feel a strong that evokes emotion. One of the most emotional Gospel songsis Thank you Lord. How would someone praise dance to that?There’s a lot of great songs to praise dance to.
But I would just like to turn your attention to this Black church
in New York. The atmosphere they set up:
Teenage ballerinas and midraff baring hip hoppers gather together
in the halls of the New Dance Group building in Midtown Manhattan.
In this group you will see twenty five women bowed on their knews
in circle position, eyes closed, foreheads to the floor.
Wendy Heagy, the founder of Raise Him Up Praise Dance School and Ministry leads the group in prayer. The class is mostly our Black people from ages 20 to mid 60s, dressed up in warm up clothes and have scriptures written on the backs of their T-shirts.We all know they had to go in and out with style.
Ms. Heagy starts by leading with a secular warm up of head rolls with feet
in parallel second position. The upbeat jazz version of the Lord’s Prayer
accompanies their dance ministry on the stereo. Ms. Heagy is both
soothing and demanding as a teacher. Her requests are to pull in your
stomach and squeeze your butt.
Praise dance is deep, and a form of worshippng God that seeks to articulate the word and spirit of God by using the body. Even in biblical times,dancing was embraced during festivals and worships. Unfortunately,
it was forced out of the Christian church at the Reformation era
and has been welcomed back in the 20 of so past years. So that’s a
little history for you.
Fact: In recent years, praise dance has become a very popular part
of church services across the country, especially among America’s
growing Pentecostal movement and has been taken to New York too.
Note:1 in 10 people in New York is pentecostal anyways.
A lot of praise dance ministries include American sign language
to sign out scripture during a song.
In New York, many many churches have added praise movement
ministries to their worship services such as the Greater Allen A.M.E
Cathedral in Jamaica QUeens.It is a powerful dance ministry with over
400 dancers, along with other churches in or close to the city like
Mount Calvary Holy Church on State Island, City Gate International
Church in East Harlem, Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport on Long
Island and Bibleway Healing Assembly in upstate Henrietta. So…
if you visiting the New York area, something to think about.
Ms.Heady’s Choreography is blend of modern, African and jazz movement
that comes through prayer.
THe church dances to the song “He’s Been Faithful” by the Christiansinger Vicki Yohe to represent blessing, honor, glory, power,
wisdom, and dominion. At the cue of blessing,both hands start at the mouth and the arms then fan out in
a sun shape. At the cue of power, arms areraised equal distance apart with fists clenched. For wisdom, fingers touch the temple and come to
meet in the center.
So when people praise dance it’s a representation of a theme.
It can be many themes. What do you interpret from praise
Would you ever praise dance? I wish I could praise dance. I know I could with practice. Praise dance to me
is like a spirit and an attitude. What do you get from it?
The facial expressions of the people in my church are so
intense. It’s like they are one with God in the dance.Praise dance is body and spirit. The body feels the spirit in the praise dance. You could feel like your
jogging through time through a spiritual journey.
I remember even imitating some moves of praisedance I saw in videos and got a good feel of it.I was thinking wow, it’s very impressive and