The Dancer's Journey: Behind the Creative Process

"Worship is giving God the best that he has given you.  Be careful what you do with the best you have.  Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift.  Take time to mediate before God and offer the blessing back to him in a deliberate act of worship.  If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into a spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded.  God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself; it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others."

-Oswald Chambers

 

You all have been given a wonderful gift!      

 "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness." 1 Chronicles 16:29

You have been given a gift that you are able to use as an offering in which you are able to teach, perform, choreograph, and BEST of all- WORSHIP!     Your worship and ministry holds a great responsibility great responsibility in that you must remain faithful to the Lord in your work, seeking Him in all that you do, including in every step of your creative process.   The creative process for a dancer is a physical, mental, and most of all, spiritual journey that begins with a thought and is then expounded upon through research, movement development, and finding the personal connection.

 

    1. Each dance is planted with a thought   

  "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3

Any dancer/ choreographer that is using their gifts in ministry should begin everything with prayer, seeking and asking God to reveal to them the story, theme, or direction that the choreographic process should begin.  God knows YOUR deepest needs, along with the needs of your dancers and the future audience. By allowing the Lord to fully intercede in your thoughts He will plant seeds of direction and send you affirmation along your creative process  

God wants to use ALL talents, including dance, and will fully equip the choreographer and dancers every step of the way to ensure His message is heard loud and clearly. 

If YOU are a choreographer, I URGE you to spend time in prayer before creating. What you might have to offer on your own may be good, but nothing can compete with the movements and idea innovation when you allow God to flow in and over you.

 

2. Research            

   "Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses the way." Proverbs 19:2

Once the thematic intention of a piece has been planted inside of you as the choreographer, the research begins! The best place to begin this research is the Bible itself! Think of your theme and different words that correlate with it, then see what the Bible has to say about it! (and I promise you, whatever your theme is, the Bible DOES have insight on it.) Find verses, chapters, or bible stories that you feel truly captures the idea of the theme you are trying to portray, and USE THAT as your frame of reference. 

Every dance also has to include a beginning (starting point), middle (climax), and end (resolution). You MUST think of ALL THREE of these concepts before starting the choreography. It is easy to become distracted in the creation process, by just creating movement because it "looks good" with the flow of the music. By having a firm layout of your beginning, middle and end, you are creating guidance and self-accountability along your choreographic journey to stay on task, and get your FULL message across.  

 

 3. Development of movement  

 "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might"     Ecclesiastes 9:10

In a matter of only 8 counts, you could potentially be making over 50 movement choices in the creation of the dance.  Every movement choice, down to the simplest placement of a finger, needs to be thought about carefully of how it will correlate directly to the original God planted idea. A movement with no internal purpose is literally meaningless.  Just because a leap, extension, or turn looks pretty, does not mean it will add value to your dance. 

If you find yourself stuck in the process of developing movement, there are several different movement exercises that you can use to help keep you on track. For example, pick one word or phrase that can best represent the beginning, middle, and end of your piece. Once you picked a word for each section, creative a list of adverbs and adjectives for each word. Example-

  •  Beginning- fearful- low, collapsed, contracted, falling, sharp
  • Climax- acknowledged- rising, reaching, sustained, large pathways
  • resolution- forgiven- jumping, fluid, circular, large, neutral 

Having a guide like this handy while creating will allow you to not only stay on task, but also prompt you in your movement when you feel as though you may be running creatively dry. 

Remember that you are trying to portray a message in your choreography.  The more thought and intention you put into the development of each movement will enable you to have a stronger, more effective piece. 

 

4. Personal Connection

    "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ."   1 Corinthians 12:12  

The creation of a dance has a rippling effect.  It begins with the choreographer who is actively seeking the Lord through the innovation process and is then passed down to the dancers in the ensemble. Although they are dancing as a group, each dancer has their own individual role, and it is critical that each dancer knows the entire purpose of what they are representing.  The choreographer must give the dancers a clear intention of the piece, and share with them the purpose behind each movement. When a dancer knows the full intention behind each movement and knows the simple question of WHY they are dancing, then they can begin to commit mentally, physically, and most of all spiritually to a dance. This is their opportunity to bring to life their  own experiences from their christian journey into the dance.  

The more a dancer is able to connect to the piece they are dancing, the more RAW and AUTHENTIC it becomes. They are able to bring their true feelings and emotions into the dance which makes for it to be a REAL experience for the audience. Most audience members can not relate to pirouettes or Grand Jeté but what they CAN relate to is the RAW emotion a dancer can create on stage, which is stemmed from their own personal journey in the dance. 

 

The creative process should be a worship journey that the choreographer, ensemble, and audience all get to experience together. Remember through the process that "Whatever you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, put these into practice. And the God of peace will be with you" (Phil. 4:9) Keep yourself, the dance, the dancers, and the audience members covered in prayer, and seek after the Lord in all you do, and with that, the final product will be excellent and praiseworthy in the eyes of the Lord. 

 

 

 

Posted on November 3, 2017 .