Christian, It’s Okay to Dance.

Woman Wearing White Dress Dancing on Brown Sand

Of all performing arts, I think dance is one of the most misunderstood by Christians, considered to be totally sinful by some (perhaps more historically, but still a little bit in the present day as well).

Full disclosure: I am a dancer. I’m going to school to be a dance major next year. So obviously there is some bias in this…but I feel like that also makes me qualified to address it.

Dance as Worship

I don’t debate that some dance is inappropriate. Certainly, there are dance moves, and even whole styles of dance, that Christians should stay far away from; costumes can be risque, music can be edgy. (There’s a reason I’m planning to study dance at a Christian college!)

But I feel that very conservative Christians, as they so often do, have run too far in the other direction and become overly legalistic in ways that God never intended. Because dance, just like all of the other arts, can be a form of worship. We see this all throughout the Old Testament:

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.”

-Exodus 15:20

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…So David and the house of Isarel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn.”

-2 Samuel 6:14-15

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”

-Psalm 149:3

Think about it: the concept of dance only exists because God created it. He made us with bodies that can move in graceful and beautiful ways, and minds that can appreciate and create that kind of movement. The way the fall has marred parts of dance doesn’t invalidate its capability to express God’s beauty.

I’ve been lucky enough to study dance with a teacher who gets this. When we perform, it is ultimately for God’s glory. And that makes a huge difference! There is a kind of worship that I find in dancing that I can’t really get anywhere else, a unique kind of communion with God that happens on stage and in the studio.

Dance in Worship?

I do want to clarify that I don’t believe in having dance performances as part of church services. This is because a church service is not meant to be a performance, but a participatory act of worship. Sitting in chairs, passively watching other people dance, is not church.

Watching a dance performance can be a kind of worship, certainly, but it doesn’t belong on Sunday mornings (and for the record, this opinion extends to musical performances as well).

(If the entire congregation was dancing, I think that would be okay, but that’s a little awkward, and it probably isn’t a great idea to make people uncomfortable by forcing them to dance in church, either!)

The Purpose of Dance

Ultimately, dance is just one more means that God has given us to express His beauty, understand Him more fully, and worship Him in a deeper way. Christians who ignore the beauty of dance and only focus on its ugly aspects are missing the point of art, and missing out on a way of worship that can be incredibly meaningful, whether you are an audience member or a dancer.

What do you think? What has your experience been with dance, and how do you feel about it? What is your opinion on dancing in church? Share in the comments below! 

love, grace

Read more:

Why Christians Should Care About the Arts

Guys? Swimwear? Common Modesty Questions

When You Don’t Know Your Purpose (and the Future Seems a Scary Thing)

 

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4 thoughts on “Christian, It’s Okay to Dance.

  1. The Story Sponge says:

    I am not really a dancer, but I love dance and I really appreciate this post! All beauty comes from God. Humans take that and twist it, but sometimes we get confused and think that the twisted version was the original. We think that dance or theatre or whatever it is must be evil in it of itself, and this couldn’t be farther from the truth! God wants to take these things back for his glory. As Christians we should be taking hold of these art forms and using them to praise God, portraying them in the form they were meant to take, not shunning them and running away. Dance is an amazing form of worship. Sometimes it can be discouraging to see the twisted versions of things, and we can start to think that maybe there was nothing good in it after all, and that’s when we need to be reminded that God created all these things. God created art. God created us, and humans were made to be artistic. God was the first artist, and art of all kinds is meant to glorify Him.
    Thank you so much for this post, it is really thought-provoking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • graceevalyn says:

      So well-said! Exactly what I’m trying to convey through this series on the arts. Just because something has been twisted doesn’t mean it’s bad in and of itself. I’m so glad you liked the post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Beth says:

    Totally agree, dance is a wonderful expression of worship, culture, and sometimes just plain joy! In my latest post at http://www.crushedbygod.com there are pics of me dancing to an Armenian band…after a time of tribulation and trauma God blessed me with an unexpected party and I broke lose! 😀 And with such joy.
    Beautiful post, you are a blessing Grace. (When I have extra moment I’d like to respond in previous post re magic/fantasy/witchcraft)
    God bless you sister. 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • graceevalyn says:

      Aw, you’re so sweet! I’m so glad you liked it! Cultural expression is definitely another important element to dance as well, thanks for mentioning that. And joy! Ultimately that is the biggest thing many arts express, in such a beautiful way.

      Like

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