Monday, June 02, 2008

The Gift of Dance

This past weekend my daughter River had her first dance recital. As you've seen before here, she absolutely loves to dance. And loves to be in costume, and loves to learn the steps, and loves to watch others dance. Growing up, I was the same way. I could sit and watch the bigger girls dance in the studio I took lessons at, and just be in awe. How could they move so beautifully, and how could I learn to do that?

What I learned at an early age was that to be one of them you had to be perfect in poise and skill, as showy as possible, and that even if you were one of the best, if you didn't have money and popularity, you wouldn't really get too far. Oh, and one other could never be skinny enough. The sad thing is, is that I really believed some of these things. Thankfully, I was not one of the most perfect, popular or best, and therefore, did not have to succumb to as much scrutiny as those who were. But that was often really hard to not be one of them. To not be wanted as much as someone else. Looking back, I am thankful, that I only had a small amount of damage, as opposed to some who developed terrible self images, eating disorders, and other self deprecating practices to "make themselves better".

However, this past weekend, I was able to participate in something so different. The studio that River has been taking lessons with is not at all about those things. They truly believe that we are to "praise His name with dancing". That the gift of dance, is a way to worship God. An expression of who He is in us, coming out in such an expressive way. The studio does also have a desire for excellence, but it is not so proud that it shames any who don't "measure up". Rather, the dancers and teachers here, seek to encourage each dancer, not just in their accuracy, but also in who they are in Christ.

I've been able to dance with them, too, a little bit. I still dance some, even though I'm not anything like these girl prodigies that are pirouetting around me! But that's the thing, I am still seeing it in that skewed way, of me "not being good enough" to really count. And I'm so thankful that that isn't true, even though I struggle to not believe it. I think being able to see them and hear them long to worship through their dance, and seeing how young they are, but still knowing the true reason why we are dancing, has been so amazing for me to see. They really get it, and they're truly ministering through this gift. What an honor it has been to dance alongside these women of God!

I think all of what I've experienced could be summed up in something I asked River about the other day. She was doing a beautiful dance, just making it up as she went. She likes choreographing and I love to watch and find out what she's thinking as she's dancing. So I asked her what her dance was about. She said, "It's a dance to ask God into my heart."

I'm so thankful to have her in a place where instead of idolizing the showy and proud, she's already seeing the true gift of dance. How beautiful a thing it is to "praise His name with dancing".

"Let them praise His name with dancing!" Psalm 149:3

1 comment:

Brooke said...

How beautiful. I didn't know great dance classes like that existed. I'll remember this if my daughter wants to take dancing.