Lithurgical Dance? Giving definition to this term could create as many
definitions as there are denominations. Lithurgical Dance defined
literally becomes dancing the Lithurgy, or the Word of God. Although
dancing has historically played a significant role in the world's
religions, Lithurgical Dance refers specifically to the Christian religion.
With this literal
translation, how then does the Christian dancer define Lithurgical Dance
in practical terms? At its most basic, this form of dancing could simply
be taking stock of one's music and choreography. A dancer may choose to
dance to music that has lyrics that are about God or a specific biblical
theme. In inventorying one's chosen movements, a conscious decision made
in foregoing imitation of the latest music video while incorporating a
style that interprets the lyrics or them of the music.
can be literal or symbolic. Christian dancers have incorporated sign
language into their choreography. Symbolic gestures, such as the bowing of
the head or raising one's arms, might be a part of the dance. A dance may
have neither of these and simply flow form the heart of the dancer and/or
A dance could be
used as a part of a worship service, for instance, incorporating it into the
presentation of the elements of the Lord's Supper or integrating dance with
the Celebratory or Worship Songs. Lithurgical dance may be theatrical in
nature, acting out a biblical scene or communicating Forgiveness to an
audience. Perhaps, like a ballet, a story may unfold.
Lithurgical Dance may reflect many different styles of dance. Ballet,
modern and jazz may be used. A dance might have an ethnic influence.
Elements of traditional folk dance, such as circle or line dancing, could
become part of the dance.
As much as there
is variety in Lithurgical Dance, there are a few basic elements that help
to define it. The Lithurgical Dance has one of two purposes, worshipping
God or communicating to others the lithurgy, the Word of God. In both
instances the Creator rather than the creation (the dancer) becomes the
focus of and purpose for the dance. All gifts are from God. Lithurgical
dance is a beautiful and glorious way to use God's gift of dance to return
to Him in sacrificial giving (worship) or to share God's Word with others.