She stood poised at the center of the stage, a tall, slender girl who already seemed to light up the room. The music began and my sister floated across the stage, dancing gracefully and effortlessly to the music of Nicole C. Mullen, “I Know My Redeemer Lives”. In the midst of that crowded auditorium, you could feel a lightness, a beauty that pervaded and spread.
Unfortunately, her dance, with its spirit of light, was one of the exceptions that night.
Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
We are deeply affected by the arts. They have a way of pulling us in and taking us on a journey. Sometimes we scarcely realize we have left. All we know is that we are experiencing something beyond ourselves.
But what exactly are we experiencing? Is this dance pulling us toward and lifting our thoughts to the Truth of who God is? Do the movements point to what is honorable? Is the choreography supportive of what is right and true? Are we being taken on a journey to experience what is lovely? Do we get the impression of the dancers having a good reputation? Is the music, dance, choreography excellent and worthy of praise?
Or does the dance, instead, exhibit the deeds of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, envy, drunkenness, carousing.
God created a world of beauty. After forming each aspect of creation, He called it “good”. He put attributes of Himself into our world and gave us the ability to express those attributes.
Because of the negative extremes to which dance has been taken, some Christians likewise respond in the negative, deeming all dance to be sinful. While I agree that many of the dances mainstream media exposes us to do exhibit the deeds of the flesh, I would challenge us to evaluate: where does the sin lie? Does it lie with the art of dance itself, or does it lie with those involved in the creation and expression of the dance?
Is literature immoral because one person chose to write in a spirit of lust? Do sculptures become despicable because one person created in a spirit of idolatry? Should music be avoided because one person wrote and performed in a spirit of hatred?
Dance can be an enjoyable and beautiful way of expressing the light of God. Dancers can find themselves drawn closer to God. Those of us who watch can find our thoughts lifted to the light and truth of God. My hope is that we can learn to truly enjoy the beauty and light that dance can bring and, as Proverbs 4:23 tells us “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”
While I don’t have access to the video of my sister’s dance, I did come across this video of a father dancing with his daughters to “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. This is the first version they did. The family performed another version two years later. Enjoy!