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Praise Dance

Dance as a Form of Worship

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Praise dance, a form of liturgical or spiritual dance, is a form of dance in which the focus is on worship. Praise dancers use their bodies to help express the word and spirit of God. Praise dance is considered by many churches to be an acceptable form of Christian expression. Choreographed dances are often used before congregations to create exciting and emotional atmospheres. Sometimes a praise dance can be part of a bigger production in which an entire story is told.

Characteristics of Praise Dance

Praise dance, as opposed to other forms of worship dance, is typically performed to a much faster and upbeat music tempo. Praise dancers can be seen waving their arms above their heads, clapping wildly, swaying their bodies, and moving their heads to the music. Praise dance is an expression of joy that uses the human body to project. Praise dancers are expressive with both their bodies and their faces, enlightening their audience with the joy they feel within their hearts.

Praise dancers can be old or young, male or female, experienced or novice...anyone who feels joy and wants to project it can join in a praise dance. Some dance studios incorporate praise dance classes into their curriculum. Praise dance conventions unite praise dancers together for exchanging ideas. Competitions also exist for praise dance teams who wish to compete.

Types of Praise Dance

Praise dance can be performed using several different genres of dance. Modern dance seems to be the most popular, but other styles that are used include ballet, jazz and hip-hop, among others.

Praise dances are sometimes choreographed pieces for a few or even several dancers. Often times the dance is performed by a soloist, with or without a set choreography. Some soloist praise dancers prefer to perform on spontaneity, without a previously choreographed routine.

Praise Dance Clothing and Props

Although praise dance is a type of dance, the clothes worn by praise dancers are usually not typical dance attire. Instead of tight fitting tights and leotards that show off a dancer's body lines, praise dancers tend to wear much more loose-fitting, modest attire. Praise dancers wear clothing that actually draws attention away from their bodies, keeping attention on the message they are trying to convey through their movements.

A typical praise dance costume might include a leotard worn underneath a loose top or cape along with a long, flowing skirt or loose pants. Praise dance skirts are easily recognizable in dance wear stores because they are extremely long and full.

Sometimes a praise dancer will make use of colorful streamers, flags or banners. These props enliven a dancer's routine and build excitement among the audience. Sometimes tambourines are used to further elevate the spirit of the dance.

Praise Dance History

As referenced in the bible, dance has always been an important part of worship. Many religions valued praise dancing as an integral part of their worship services. However, the Restoration forced dance out of the Christian church. It was not until the 20th century that praise dance reentered the church.

Praise Dance Future

Praise dance seems to be becoming more and more popular in many Christian denominations. More and more churches are incorporating praise dance into their services. Praise dance teams are becoming ministries in churches just as choirs and prayer teams.

However, many Christians still object to dance within the church. Some people believe that dance should not be a part of a serious worship service, even though it is a form of religious expression. Some Christians even view praise dancing as immoral, going as far as to ban it from their church.

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