Showing posts with label praise dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label praise dance. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How to Make Tabrets

I was recently asked to make tabrets for a church that I was attending. The pastor called them "those hoops with the strings." Most people don't know what to call them. Some refer to them as glory hoops or praise hoops, but they are actually called tabrets. 

The Hebrew word for tabret is tofe, and not "tambourine" or "timbrel" as translated in the King James Version of the Bible. I was surprised to find out that it actually is a one side drum, stretched over a circular frame, and decorated with brightly covered strings or ribbons. 

This instrument is not only beautiful and can be made in different ways, it is a beautiful accompaniment to any worship dance. 

I was not only inspired to learn more about this praise dance instrument, but I was also inspired to use them more in my dances. 

I first learned how to make these instruments in one of my liturgical dance classes, and I often teach others how to make this simple tool. Anyone can do it, and it will make a fun project for your children's dance ministry.

Check out more about tabrets here

©2014 Katina Davenport All Rights Reserved 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why Break Every Chain was the Best Praise Dance Song of 2013

"There is power in the name of Jesus." These are just some of the words to "Break Every Chain" sang by Tasha Cobbs. The original writer, Will Raegen, opened the door for this song to be popularized by Jesus Culture, Kim Walker, and now Tasha Cobbs.

Recently, I researched YouTube to find the best praise dance videos this year and it so happens that most of of the dance ministries on YouTube danced to "Break Every Chain" in 2013. I would say that the top ten praise dance videos of 2013 are of those that ministered to this song. The question is why is this particular song the biggest song to minister to this year. Here are 5 reasons:

1. Easy lyrics

Most people like songs that they can sing along to. Songs that are too wordy and too long become rather boring. Most people that enjoy music want to participate with the song. The lyrics to "Break Every Chain" are easy to remember therefore, praise dancers can easily interpret the words to this song to convey. Therefore choreography is easier to build.

2. The right tempo

Break Every Chain has a tempo that is not too fast and not too slow. The tempo can really allow for expressions that are with the beat and in between the beat; just a little faster yet keeping with the time.

3. "There's an army rising up"

This is my favorite part of the song. The song builds at this point and the choreography gets stronger. In majority of the videos that I saw this year, the dancers seemed to enjoy this part of the song as well. I saw more expression and movement that showed that there is an army rising up.

4. Powerful

"Break Every Chain" is a very powerful song. It speaks to the heart and it speaks of the chains that are in our lives. The name of Jesus has power to break the chains of bondage. Everyone can identify with that. We can identify with our humanity knowing that the name of Jesus has power to free us from the chains that binds us.

5. It's popular

It is that plain and simple. The reason that "Break Every Chain" was the biggest praise dance song of 2013 is because it is popular. Most may have never heard the original song, or the version that Kim Walker and Jesus Culture sings, but Tasha Cobbs has brought new life in this song, making it a breakout hit for her. I hear it on the radio and I hear it sang in praise and worship services in many churches. Most people tend to gravitate towards the more popular songs of the day to minister to. There is no problem with that. Who wouldn't want to dance to a song that is ministering to the dancer first.

Here is the most viewed dance to "Break Every Chain." See it HERE

© 2013 Katina Davenport All Rights Reserved  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

In Depth Study of Biblical Scriptures on Dance

Judges 21: 19;21

19. Then they said, Behold there is a feast of the Lord in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah
21. And see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 

If you were to look up passages in the scripture in a concordance, you would certainly come across this passage of scripture. As you read you may wonder what this has to do with liturgical dance or praise dance. It can be quit confusing, but this scripture does have something to do with praise dance.

In the entire chapter 21 of Judges, we find that the Son's of Benjamin were looking for wives because the women of Benjamin were destroyed. The elders then advised them to look for the women dancing during the Feasts.

To understand why this scripture is a significant passage of scripture for understanding praise dance, lets concentrate on the women dancing. They were rejoicing during a celebratory time. The Biblical feast days are set apart times that God instituted for Israel to remember how He brought them out of Egypt (Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread), offering first fruit of their harvest (First Fruits), when the instructions of God where shouted down from Mount Sinai (Feast of Pentecost), Repentance (Feast of Trumpets, Atonement), and how Israel lived in tents after being free from Egypt (Feast of Tabernacles). The dances, mainly done by women at this time, were done in great joy in remembering what God had done for them. Often times praise dance is done in rejoicing, with great joy, and in great praise as we remember how God brought us out of bondage of oppression, when we have reaped a harvest, when God has given us direction for our lives, how we have been forgiven, and how the Father made us live in safety as he transitioned us into our promise land.

Job 21:11, 12

11. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. 12. The take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.  

I have come across this scripture countless of times and I have never given this one to any of my students as apart of any study scriptures on dance. If you read the entire chapter of Job 21 you will find that Job is describing how the wicked is still prospering. He gave descriptions about how their homes are still standing, their families are still alive, and their children go on playing and dancing; even in their wickedness. I believe he was describing these things to say to God, look at how the wicked has all of their things intact, but I [Job] am a righteous man and I am in this terrible condition.

Many times we see the that wicked seemingly prevails while us, the righteous, are afflicted or going through hard times. We see them dance around with their children, joyfully. But, know that the Word promises us that wicked will not prevail over the righteous.

Psalms 149:3

Let them praise His name is the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp.

This is one of my favorite scriptures on dance in the Bible. Lets look at the entire context of the scripture beginning with the first verse.

1. Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of the saints. 
Whenever you see "Praise the Lord" or "Praise ye the Lord" it is interpreted HalleluYah in Hebrew. Whenever you say it with your mouth, in speaking or song, you are saying HalleluYah. HalleluYah means praise the Lord.

We see here that David was saying to praise the Lord with a new song. Sing with the congregation. I believe he had a revelation that the Father wants to hear something new from us.

2. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

Be joyful that God has made you the person, the praise dancer, that you are. Rejoice, take joy in the kingship of the Father. True kings have authority, they are heads of armies, they execute judgement, they know right from wrong, they are all powerful and the list can go on. When we get a picture of who our King is you will be able to rejoice freely in Him as creator and King.

3. Let them praise His name is the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp. 

Let them [us] say HalleluYah with movement. When we praise His name through dance we are praising His name through the movement that is inspired by our knowledge of who He is and through our relationship. Praise His name through dance; and do it with the accompaniment of music and singing. You will experience some of the most powerful times in dance ministry when you are dancing during praise and worship. As David said "Let them." Don't inhibit yourself and or others from enjoying the King of Kings and dancing before Him. 

4. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people: He will beautify the meek with salvation. 

The Lord takes pleasure in your praise and your praise dance. There is beauty in those that are humble enough to praise Him. Whether you know it or not, it is a humbling experience to get outside of yourself to dance before the Lord while others are seeing your worship. Dance unto the Lord is not meant to be an act that puffs up your ego, but it an act of meekness.

Psalms 150:4

Praise him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed instruments and organs

What an end to the book of Psalms! This chapter seems to be a finale to all of the praises, prayer, songs, worship, and prophetic messages. It gives imagery to all of the ways that we can praise the Lord, where to praise the Lord, and how to praise the Lord. From verse 4 we see that dance can be accompanied with the use of a timbrel (tambourine).  Notice that music is accompanies dance as mentioned in Psalms 149:3.

Ecclesiastes 3:4

A time to weep, and a time to laugh, and a time to mourn, and a time to dance

The first part of this chapter starts off with to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven (v1). There is a season in which you will dance the dance that our Father has given you. There are times in our lives when we will not be able to dance. For example, there will be times when the Father might call you into a season of rest. He might tell you to be still for a season and learn of Him. Be sensitive during those times so that he can impart His wisdom in you and send you back out to dance. Also, illnesses, broken limbs, torn ligaments, and pregnancy can keep you from dancing. While it is your time and season to dance, be expedient about it. Dance while you have a chance.

Jeremiah 31:4; 13

4. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.

13. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

When the Lord rebuilds His people; as they gather together there will be dancing. Praising with dancing will not be preserved just for the young women, but it will be for the old men too. They will rejoice in spontaneous dancing as sorrow is turned into joy. 

If you look at the entire chapter you will find the gathering of the people of Israel. Every tribe, nation, and tongue will be brought together in unity, where there were otherwise scattered. This is a prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled as all the tribes of Israel are still scattered through out the earth, but God promises that His people will be together and rejoice. Like wise, when we come together in our congregations for corporate worship we rejoice at the fellowship we have collectively with the Father. Praise, worship, and dancing will take place. 

Lamentations 5:15 

The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning.

I am certain that you have come across this scripture while studying dance in the Bible. If you haven't yet, you will. This particular passage of scripture speaks to what can happen when you feel your joy is gone. In order to dance before the Lord with strength, you will have to have joy. There is a joy that comes with having a relationship with the Lord. Think about it. When you are in love you feel an overwhelming sense of joy. In your alone times you might sing or dance while thinking about that person. I know I have. The same thing happens when you have a true relationship with the Heavenly Father. You will begin to express the love you have in your heart. Praise dancers tend to express that love with dance. 

What if the joy that you once had was gone? The last thing you will think about is dance. Dance is an expression that comes from the heart. It comes from a place of freedom. Watch children dance. They are natural dancers because they are joyful and free. 

Jeremiah was making his lamentations or crying out to God in this passage of scripture and throughout the book of Lamentations.  He expressed that his joy and freedom has turned into mourning. Dancing and celebration was no longer a part of his expression. His expression turned from mourning or sorrow to great anguish. 

2 Samuel 6:14;16 

14. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.
16. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

Dancing with vigor and with power is a humbling experience. David, a King, had to humble himself enough to be able to dance before the Lord in the way that he did. Different biblical commentators indicate that dancing was apart of the sacred celebrations, festivals, and anniversaries as with any other ancient culture. David more than likely danced like a wild man while celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant. His dance proclaimed his adoration for the Heavenly Father, as HIS glory was being restored to its rightful place. The Ark of the Covenant represents the very presence of God. Who wouldn't dance before the Lord as HIS presence is being ushered in. 

Although dance in those days were reserved for women, here is King David dancing and leaping before the Lord. His wife, despised him for humbling himself before the Almighty. Taking that position caused her to be barren. We must take extra precaution not to despise or hinder someone from praising the Lord through dance. There should be an abundance of support and love for those that are truly dancing before Lord, and not for themselves. 

Her displeasure and judgement against her husband caused her womb to be barren. She could not bring forth children. Children are a representation of blessing and promise. Therefore, having the same mindset against any dance minister that is doing all they can to dance in all sincerity and pureness could hinder your progress in dance ministry.  

Exodus 15:20

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

Miriam is the first instance that we see of dancing recorded in the scriptures. This leads me to ask were there other instances of dance before Miriam. I am certain there were other instances of dancing, not recorded. She already knew how to praise the Lord (HalleluYah) through dance. It is remarkable that the Father would give us dance as a way for him to SEE our outward expression of praise which is dance. The original purpose of dance is to offer an expression of praise, worship, and prophesy. 

For further Biblical study of liturgical dance to use as a reference for your dance ministry you may want to see Dancing In The Spirit: A Scriptural Study of Liturgical Dance  

©2013 Katina Davenport All Rights Reserved 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mourning into Dancing

Psalms 30:11

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness 

Last night marks my return to praise dance. The video shown is a testimony of how God has been healing me. I am expecting a full recovery.

It also marks my return to equipping other praise dance ministries. Through out my college years and up till now, I have helped other dance ministries build teams, conducted seminars, and even been a guest choreographer. I felt like I was back on my assignment. To Yah (God) be the glory!!!! If you haven't heard about what I have been going through lately, read this post The Wounded Dancer 

Below is the Living Waters Church praise dance ministry from Madison Heights, Michigan.  

copyright 2013 Katina Davenport all rights reserved blue ephod, white dress, praise dance

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Choosing the Best Music for Dance Ministry

Lately, the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me about music, the real meaning behind music, and how to choose the best music for liturgical dances. This all began with a question from my aunt. She asked me, "Why is Gospel music so depressing?" I couldn't give her a good answer, other than some gospel music will minister to people and other gospel music will minister to the Heavenly Father. As I began to listen to my favorite CD's the Holy Spirit would say "listen." It was as if I could hear the lyrics of the music so clear. The words began to speak to me and I understood why certain gospel songs would give certain feels, stir up emotions, or bring you into the presence of the Most High.

Gospel Music vs. Praise and Worship

From the negro spirituals, hymns, the blues sound of Thomas Dorsey gospel to the contemporary gospel, and praise and worship genre of gospel music; there are many choices of music to listen and dance to. We know that gospel music is forever evolving to stay within the popular culture of today, making its music relative to all people, not just the body of believers. It has long crossed over in to the secular music industry; however, what remains is the message. There is a message within the gospel music that can sometimes be obscured with a mixture of lyrics, sounds, and rhythm that some might call secular.

It is important to know that there is a between the sound and message of gospel music, and praise and worship music. It will help you select the right music to minister in dance and help determine your choreography as well.

What is gospel music?

Gospel music is a genre of Christian music that has its traditions in hymns. It is categorized by powerful vocals and lyrics representing the testimony of Jesus. Traditional gospel music infuses sounds of a Hammond organ, drums, and bass guitar with choirs and lead singers. Sometimes it only included solo artists. In today's market there is something for everyone. Now you can find contemporary sounds, urban, hip hop, gospel blues, and southern gospel.

What is Praise and Worship Music 

Praise and worship music is a genre of Christian music that is gaining in popularity as most congregations are becoming aware of the expression of praise and worship. It is crossing over into the gospel circuit as gospel artists are beginning to have praise and worship style songs on their CD's.  For example, Mary Mary has a song called I Worship You that is in keeping with their urban contemporary style of gospel. Also, Canton Jones, a gospel hip hop artist, shows that he knows the power of praise and worship in his song Worshiper.

How to Choose the Best Music for Dance Ministry

copyright2013 katina davenport liturgical dancer
Choosing the right music for dance ministry is important. Why? It will help you convey the right message through your movements. Your praise dance movements does have meaning, and so does the lyrics within the song you choose for ministry. Let's take a look at some popular dance ministry songs from Billboard and YouTube of 2012; and some songs that you may have never heard of before that can be used for dance ministry. Let's take a look at some of their lyrics (without infringing on their copyrights), find the true meaning of the song, and find a corresponding dance.

Take Me To The King #11 on the Billboard charts for gospel songs, performed by Tamela Mann has been one of the most popular dance ministry songs of 2012. With 413 search results from YouTube (plus and minus a few tribute videos to the song), ministries all over this nation grabbed this song and ministered with all of their beings.  It was ministered by soloists and in dance ministry teams. In my own area, I have viewed many sermonic solos and dance ministries as they sang or danced to this song. This song stirred up something in the emotions of the believers. For those that have been hurt in church and in life, it ministered to them. Noticed that I said to them. This is a song that is supposed to minister to the emotions so that the body of Christ can find emotional healing and forgive, so they can stand before the Heavenly Father with a clean heart.

If this song was used to dance a dance of worship then the message of the song and the dance was probably filled with mixed emotions for the congregations. This song should be used to minister to the congregation with your emotions and movements reaching towards the people and very interpretative.

Awesome #2 on the Billboard charts for gospel songs, by Charles Jenkins has been the second most popular song all year. By far it was the most played song of that year, other than Let the Church Say Amen, which was #1. Although Awesome was a very popular song, it did not reach the same popularity in praise dance ministries as dances were uploaded to YouTube 84 times (plus and minus tributes and covers).

Awesome is a song of declaration. It makes a statement of declaration about the Heavenly Father. David said to declare HIS glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among HIS people (Psalms 96:3). This song is doing just that.

I Wont Go Back #6 on the Billboard charts, by William McDowell is a testimony song. With 111 search results from YouTube (plus and minus tributes and other videos that showed up in the results page) it appears to be another song that is has been very popular among praise dancers. This is a song that details a testimony. It will minister to the congregation helping them to remember their own testimonies. It is not a worship dance. All the movements in this song will demonstrate the praise dancer's testimony.

From these examples of the most popular songs in the country in 2012 you can see the true meaning of the message and how to convey it through your dance. Now let's look at some songs that may be a few years old and others that have come out in 2012 that are not on the top 20 of the American Billboard charts for gospel, but are just as powerful and can help you choose the appropriate song for dance ministry.

Songs of Intercession and Prayer

These particular songs can be used for prayer dances. I have had the opportunity to prepare a prayer dance. A prayer dance requires song lyrics that convey intercession. For the dance that I prepared I ministered to Jason Upton's song Teach Me How to Pray. All the movements centered around prayer, and the many prayer postures one can take.

Also, you will find songs of intercession from Shekinah Glory Ministries from their song The River of God as the lyrics speak of asking God to open the skies and release HIS rivers.

Israel Houghton has a song from his 2012 CD titled Jesus At The Center Of It All in the song More And More. A dancer might covey prayer through kneeling, praying hands, bowing, and being prostrate on the floor. Although these are worship movements, these movements can work well with prayer dances as well.

Songs of Praise and Celebration 

Finding songs that convey the message of praise and celebration may be obvious at times; however there are times when you will have to listen all of the lyrics to really get the message. For example, Holy One by Dorinda Clark Cole is a song that is an expression of praise. One may not be able to tell if the song is a song of praise right away, even though the beat is uptempo. Listening for who the song points to and how the song points to them is important in knowing the meaning of the song. It references lifting up the name of the Holy One in exaltation therefore it is a song of praise.

Other songs such as Hallelujah by Spensha Baker which is a remake of the Clark Sisters song is a simple praise song that is also celebratory. Oh Give Thanks by Judith Christine Mcallister is a recognizable song of praise (thanksgiving falls under the same category). All movements should express praise with hands lifted, jumps, turns, and even with flags banners and streamers.

Songs of Worship

Worship songs are not just the slow song after the fast song. Worship songs minister back to God, telling HIM how great HE is. The song will not tell a testimony or have words that reflect back to HIS creation, which is us. These songs are all about HIM.

Israel Houghton's song You Are Good is a worship song, and it is also a praise song. Movements can reflect the expression of praise and worship through bowing, lifting of hands, leaps, and reverence. The reason this song is considered a worship song is because the song tells God how great HE is. The only difference is that everything is done faster. Another example of a faster worship song is Holy by Judith Mcallister. The tempo speeds up at the end of the song.

Songs of Warfare

There are praise and worship songs, and then there are warfare songs. Usually you will know these songs from the key change from major to minor. One great example of this song is Reclaim Your Mountain by Shekinah Glory Ministries. It is in a minor key and the rhythm of the drums can set you into the mindset of marching into battle. The lyrics speak of reclaiming your territory in battle.

Movements in songs do not always have to mimic fighting, but the movements should be strong and powerful.

Prophetic Songs

Prophetic dancing should go with prophetic music. You can't have one without the other. Prophetic songs are those that are birthed out of worship and the Heavenly Speaks back to the worshipers in song. This can happen in a church service, at home, or in the recording studio. In the song Come up Here from Jason Upton he begins to prophetically sing about what he sees in a vision and what he hears the Father say. Prophetic dance movements should be very interpretative and spontaneous. Whether you are interpreting the music or the lyrics the voice of God should be seen as you dance.

Just from these brief examples you can see that all gospel and praise and worship music is not created equal. All dancing should reflect the message of the song.

This is not the entire list but this should give you a good idea on how to choreograph your dances from the message of the song.

Billboard Top Songs of 2012

©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Royal Priesthood: Reverencing the House of Yahweh

Leviticus 19:30 "Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary."

Reverence Yahweh in the House of Yahweh 

This next post may be a controversial one. It is becoming a hot topic in the church as the church is getting back to their Hebraic roots. For a moment, I would like for you to have an open mind. I would like for you to see this in spirit and truth.

Let me start off by explaining that I am not Jewish, or Messianic. I am saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Most of us as children were taught the 10 commandments in Sunday school. One of the commandments is to "remember the Sabbath day, Keep it Holy" (Exodus 20:8). Depending on which doctrine and theology you have studied you may have heard "the Sabbath was done away with" or "everyday is the Sabbath" or "there isn't no day holier than the next". I have heard it all. I happen to believe that everything that was written in the scriptures is to be obeyed with understanding, including observance of the Sabbath day.

I have experienced ridicule by family for following the complete Word and keeping the Sabbath. Nonetheless, the Word is true. We are to remember His Sabbath and to keep it holy. This is what I follow. 

Why was this commanded?

The reason that the Heavenly Father commanded the Priest to reverence Him by keeping His Sabbaths in his sanctuary, is so that the children of Israel would not defile themselves through idol worship by not gathering on the Sabbath day. Surely, Yahweh would require the same for His children today. He doesn't want us to involve ourselves in idol worship.

Anytime the children of Israel's worship to the Most High strayed from His plan of worship, they gave themselves over to idolatry (Exodus 32). The children of Israel were told by Aaron, Moses' brother, to give him their gold; so that he can make a calf of gold for worship. He told them to do this after the commandments have already been brought forth. In chapter 31 of Exodus, the last thing that Yahweh told Moses to tell the people was to keep the Sabbath. It is a covenant between HIM and the Israelites (Exodus 31:12-18). Not too long after the commandment went forth, the Israelites began the practice of idol worship.

From this we see that when worship is done outside of the plan of Yahweh, it becomes idolatrous.

When is the Sabbath Day

The Sabbath day is on the 7th day which is Saturday. Gathering yourself on His most holy day is an appointed time. He set aside just one day for us to worship where HE WILL MEET US. We can worship everyday, all day; but His appointed time is the Sabbath.

Just imagine how more powerful your worship dance experience will be if you will follow His commandments, particularly, keeping the Sabbath. Truly it is not a time of  bondage. It is a time of joy, refreshing, and rest. Because we have grown so accustomed to gathering on Sunday it would seem that this is only a custom for the Jews. It is a commandment for all His people, we are His people saved by His mercy, and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Reverencing Yahweh's Sanctuary

Reverence for Yahweh's sanctuary or temple begins with obedience to His commandments and to His voice. What does all of this have to do with praise dance? Well, the Bible says that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22.) The Heavenly Father is more pleased with us when we obey Him than with our sacrifices. As we come before Him with our sacrifice of praise, which is dance, we must ask if we are really being obedient to His Word and His voice.

True worship is obedience to His commandments. Why? Because he has outlined how He wants us to worship Him, in His commandments. If we as praise dancers do not know what He commands for us to do in worship to Him, how then can we say we are worshiping Him in Spirit and in Truth?

God looks at the heart of the worshiper even if the truth about praise and worship has never been taught. If you have truly been giving your all in your dance to Him, them He is pleased. However, now that your true duties as a royal priesthood have been explained will you apply it? It is time for us to do as He commands so that He can bless us with His manifested presence as we dance.

I want to leave you with some resources so that you can research all 613 commandments. It is something to consider. Pray about it and really seek for true understanding. I pray that all everyone reading this post will be blessed.

All 613 Commandments  Here is the full list of all 613 commandments given to the children of Israel in the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible).

Should Christians Keep the Sabbath Here is a very thorough article about the Sabbath and why early Christians kept the Sabbath; and why Christians do today.

©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Royal Priesthood: Preparing your Sanctuary for Worship

The functionality of the royal priesthood as it relates to worship; even in dance.

This will be a series of posts describing in great detail the role that we have as a royal priesthood. Whether you are a liturgical or praise dancer, all ministries will gain greater understanding as they learn their role in worship. Those that are in music ministry and dance ministry will greatly benefit from understanding the meaning of true worship, and how the Heavenly Father designed and commanded us to worship Him. All scripture is taken from the commandments concerning the duties of the priest; found in the first five books of the Bible, the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

In this post I will be using the name for what most Christians call God, Yahweh. Yahweh means "I am who I am" in Hebrew. This is the name that was given to Moses as he received instruction on how to get Pharaoh to release the children of Israel from bondage (Exodus 3:14).

The First Commandment Concerning the Priest

Build the Holy House of Yahweh (God) Exodus 25:8-9 "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furnishings of it, even so shall you make it." 

The Most High has a set pattern for building a sanctuary. It is according to what He commands. We see here that the children of Israel were given specific instructions on how to build a sanctuary for Yahweh. Why? Because each individual furnishing and pattern represented Yahweh's plan for us to enter into His presence with worship. It is the same pattern that He expects us to follow today.

The Furnishings 

Each furnishing had a specific function within the Temple. 

The brazen or bronze altar was for the slaughtering of animal sacrifices to atone for sins. (Exodus 27:1-8)

The basin was for the washing of the hands and the feet of the priest. Why? The hands and the feet contained toxins made from oils and sweat. In order to be properly cleansed the priest had to wash themselves before they were allowed to enter to the most Holy Place.  (Exodus 30:17-21)

The veil, made of scarlet, purple, and blue; shielded the sinful man from the presence of Yahweh. The veil was the entry into the Most Holy place. The priest was the only mediator that was able enter into the presence of Yahweh. He had to be perfect before He could enter into the Most Holy Place; and he could only enter into His presence once a year to atone for the sins of the children of Israel and his sins. Entering into the presence of Yahweh before time and with sins meant death for the priest. Also, anyone that was not designated to enter into His presence would die. Only the priest had the awesome privilege of being before the Heavenly Father. (Exodus 26:31-35)

The table of the showbread or bread of His presence represented the communion that the Most High has with man.  (Exodus 25:30)

The golden altar of incense was set in front of the veil leading into the Most Holy Place to represent the aroma of the prayers, praise, and worship that goes before the Lord. (Exodus 30:1-10)

The lampstand or Menorah was set on the left side of the Most Holy Place. It was the only light in the entire Temple near the Most Holy Place. (Exodus 25:31-40) 

The ark of the covenant represented the glory of Yahweh. It is where the 10 commandments were kept as a memorial to the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:10-22) 

All of the furnishings represented the actual throne room. This is the reason that the sanctuary was so sacred. 

Preparing your Sanctuary for Worship

praise in motion, Hands lifted with purple flag Copyright 2012 Katina Davenport
Preparing a sanctuary was and is about being cleansed of your sins before you enter into His presence. Building His house is now about building our temples, which is our body. We do this by keeping sin out, through repentance, and by forgiving others so that you can be allowed to enter into His presence. Before you can offer your gift of dance to the Heavenly Father in worship you must have a forgiving heart. If you remember that your brother, mother, child, spouse, Pastor, or whomever has an ought against you, leave your gift and reconcile; or in other words forgive anyone that has offended you, Matthew 5:23-24. Also, if you do not forgive, the Heavenly Father will not forgive you, Matthew 6:15. Before you come into His presence with thanksgiving and enter into His courts with praise, remember to wash your heart. 

Forgiveness and repentance is the key to entering into His presence. This is a daily practice because the Holy Spirit dwells within; and we do not want to offend Him. 

Liturgical or praise dancers has the responsibility of building the House of Yahweh just as the entire body of Christ. We have part of the glory of the Father living within us because we accepted Him has savior  It is our job to build his Temple. Though many will see the commandment to build the Holy House of Yahweh as something that was done in the Old Testament, it is still applicable today. In fact, Yahweh still wants us to build our temples, His Holy House using both Spirit and Truth. You will find how to do this in His Word. 

©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rebuilding the Tabernancle of David Through Dance

Photo of the ark of the covenant

What is the tabernacle of David?

The tabernacle was a place of worship. According to the Old Testament it was a tent that could be constructed anywhere, and it housed the ark of the covenant or the presence of Yahweh (God). It has long been said that the tabernacle of David was a model of what took place in Heaven, continual worship to God.

In 1 Samuel 6, the ark of the covenant was removed from the children of Israel in Jerusalem. There were two attempts at returning the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The first attempt was a disaster as one of David's chosen men (Uzzah) unlawfully touched the ark and died. The ark was being carried on a cart by oxen and one of them stumbled. To keep the ark of the covenant on the cart Uzzah touched the ark and perished. His death caused great fear to fall upon David and to the men that witnessed this event. He had to find the proper method for returning the ark back to Jerusalem.

David's second attempt at returning the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem was carefully choreographed so that there would be no mistakes. He brought the ark as commanded from the scriptures found in Deuteronomy 31:9--carrying it on the shoulders of the Levites which were the priests. As the ark was being carried to Jerusalem, David would make sacrifices along the way; and David celebrated. He danced, sang, and worshiped the Lord with music and with all his might. As he settled the ark in one place David prepared a Tabernacle, a tent where the ark was placed. From that point on David would continually have musicians and those that would praise with dancing, to give praise and worship to Yahweh in the Tabernacle in front of the ark of the covenant.

The Prophesy of Rebuilding the Tabernacle

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old." Amos 9:11

This particular scripture was also mentioned in the book of Acts after the gathering on the day of Pentecost and the release of the Holy Spirit unto His people (Acts 15:13-18). The tabernacle of David represents the worship that we give to Yahweh while in His presence. David was the first worshiper that we see that loved elaborate worship. He understood the dynamics of praise and worship in the presence of God. His praise and worship encompassed all the things he wrote about in Psalms. From the book of Psalms we see the love that David has for the Heavenly Father, we see his triumphs as King and Priest, we see David as a prophet and minstrel as he worships and speaks about the coming Messiah.

The tabernacle of David also represents worshiping in Spirit and Truth. As the people gathered on the holy feast day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came and filled everyone gathered in the upper room with a heavenly language. As James began to declare the prophetic scripture on the restoration of the tabernacle of David, it is understood that the tabernacle is us, the people of God--the Church. As we return to doing what God commanded, what was once thought to be dead is now becoming alive again. Praise and worship with music, singing, and dancing from the heart is now being restored. The Church is restoring the tabernacle of David by desiring to understand worship, becoming active in praise and worship, and by desiring to do His will. They are desiring to get into the presence of God with elaborate worship. Now that there is a resurgence of dance coming back to its proper order we are beginning to see the missing pieces come together. Dancing and celebration is apart of the whole praise and worship experience. When music, singing, and dance come together out of a pure heart; it can truly usher in the presence of God.

Doing Your Part as Praise Dancers

As praise dancers you can do your part to help rebuild the tabernacle of David. It has been prophesied that the tabernacle of David will be restored. It will be restored within us first. Rebuilding the tabernacle of David is more about having a lifestyle of praise and worship; and your relationship with the Heavenly Father. As this restoration take place you may begin to see people coming together to praise and worship for 24 hours 7 days a week, in rotating shifts. You may even begin to see your church hold praise and worship gatherings for 24 hours whenever the Spirit leads. Praise dancers have their part in restoring the tabernacle of David by having the proper foundation of praise and worship. having a pure heart, desiring to be in the Presence of Yahweh and being holy.

King David was the ultimate worshiper. He was commonly referred to as "a man after God's own heart." He had revelation knowledge of how to praise and worship God as a boy while tending sheep. He stayed before the presence of Yahweh by singing praises. Psalms 22:3 says "But you are holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel." David understood how to usher in the presence of God through praise and worship. Today, we can do the same as we rebuild the tabernacle of David, first within us then in our churches.

©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hallelujah, Praise the Lord

Hallelujah is a word that is proudly shouted in church services around the globe. You can hear it ringing out during the praise and worship portion of the service. You can hear it in popular Gospel songs. It is a word that is an expression of both praise and worship. Many do not understand the powerful meaning behind this word. In every language hallelujah is the same. Have you ever noticed that in Benny Hinn crusades the traditional hymn of "Hallelujah" unites everyone in attendance? Everyone is able to sing it because it doesn't translate easily into other languages.When this hymn is sung at his healing crusades miracles take place. Why? It is because of the unity and you are giving glory to the Lord. He is being blessed every time you say hallelujah.

The Bible instructs us to "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" (Psalms 150:6). It is a command. It has been difficult to find the word hallelujah in the Bible. How do we know that this word even exist? I believe that God has perpetually kept this word in our vernacular so that He can receive the praise that He so deserves. There are two parts to the word. The first part is hallel which means to praise, to be clamorously foolish, and to give adoration to God. Jah or YAH, in the original Hebrew writing, is the name of God. So when we praise the Lord we should be free to become clamorously foolish as David did when he danced before the presence of God as the ark of the covenant was returned to Jerusalem. We are praising the actual name of the Lord halleluYAHWEH.

When we HALLELUJAH we can become the literal definition of the word through our dance even if it means becoming clamoursly foolish. As we praise the Lord in dance we can extend our hands outward in Todah which means to extend the hands out in praise. We can also Yadah--stretch up our hands to the Lord in praise.

Hands extended out in praise todah Copyright 2012 Katina Davenport
I have often wondered why the hands are used more often in liturgical dance. It is because of the praise that is offered to the Lord as an expression of praise in our hands. The next time you hear hallelujah in a praise song, think of how your hands in the dance can offer the Lord praise. As a choreography tip I would express praise the Lord using the translation of the Hebrew words for praise:

  • Todah- extend your hands out in praise to the Lord.
  • Yadah- lift your hands up to the Lord in praise.
As you use these suggestions in your choreography with understanding, you will gain a deeper appreciation of the movements that are done and will feel a deeper spiritual connection to your praise dance movements.
©2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved

Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Start a Liturgical Dance Ministry at Your Church

Liturgical Dancer in blue turning. Copyright 2008 Katina Davenport
Starting a liturgical dance ministry is an awesome mandate. It is one that is not to be taken lightly. With much prayer and resources you can build a liturgical dance ministry that brings glory to God and that is highly successful.

To begin a dance ministry you must have a passion to give your gift of dance to the Lord. It is He that gave you the gift of dance. James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." This is the foundation of beginning a liturgical dance ministry. In order to be able to fully give yourself to a ministry or even a commitment you must have a passion for it. You must know that starting a dance ministry is right for you. You will be able to articulate and teach liturgical dance from your heart.

Biblical Foundation of Dance

If you desire to begin a dance ministry in your church, you should have permission from your Pastor or leader of your church. Unfortunately, liturgical (praise) dance is not accepted in every church.  So, you will need to know if you are able to begin a liturgical dance ministry in your church. If it is permitted, you will need to know where to find Biblical scriptures on dance. This is important so that your dancers will have a Biblical foundation of dance. Here are few scriptures on dance.

Jeremiah 31:13 (NLT)
The young women will dance for joy, and the men--old and young--will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.

Psalms 149:3
Praise his name with dancing, accompanied by tambourine and harp.

Psalms 150:4
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes!

Exodus 15:20
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced.

2 Samuel 6:14 (NIV)
David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, (NIV)

1 Chronicles 15:29 (NIV)
As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart. 

Rehearsal and Training Times 

If your Pastor or church leader has given you permission to move forward with a dance ministry, it is important to find a convenient time to start rehearsals and dance training that is suitable for your church. An allotted time of two hours is sufficient time for these activities. One portion should be dedicated to dance training and the other to rehearsal for choreography. Always note that you will need extra time to rehearse choreography for a service on Sunday or a special church event. Schedule those times accordingly.

Basic Dance Technique

Now that you are establishing a liturgical dance ministry it is important to begin teaching basic dance techniques. Technique in ballet, modern, or jazz will help prepare your body and the body of your dancers for dance ministry. It will help them connect with their body so that they will know how far their body can stretch. Injury prevention is the key. It is the main reason that basic dance technique will help your dance ministry. If you are not technically trained in dance, then taking dance classes as a dance ministry leader will help you pass the knowledge you've gained on to your dance ministry. Having basic dance technique will help you build your choreography as well.

Liturgical Dance Garments

Liturgical dance garments is  perhaps one of the more exciting elements of liturgical dance. Often, you will see beautiful, yet modest garments worn by very anointed dance ministries and wonder where they purchased them. As a liturgical dance leader you should know that liturgical dance garments are not always cheap; that is with any dance garment. Because these items are special made there may be a small selection available. You may want to try searching for a seamstresses that knows how to make quality clothing, and would be willing to help make a few dance garments for a low cost. If you are unable to find a seamstress here are a few of my favorite places to buy liturgical dance garments. 

Dance Fashion Wear House 
Spiritual Expressions

Worship Flags, Banners, and Streamers

This is also one the more exciting parts in dance ministry. Worship flags are used as a tool to add beauty to dances, and are an expression of glory to the Heavenly Father. It can be used as a captivating visual aid as a banner of HALLELUJAH  is waved or GLORY. I like to call the use of worship flags, banners, and streamers the visual wind of God. Because wind is not seen with the naked eye, you can see the effects of wind. The same is true when flags are waved. It creates the movement and the sound of wind. 

You can find the lowest cost for flags at eBay. Other sites like Esty offers great worship flags that are not too high in price. 

Workshops and Conferences

Hosting or attending liturgical dance workshops and conferences can greatly augment your dance ministry. Workshops are designed as a master class. In the world of dance there are opportunities for dancers to learn choreography or other techniques from professional dancers and instructors. These opportunities provides inspiration and training that would not be available to them on a normal basis. I have had the opportunity to take master classes from professional dancers that provided tips on how to jump higher. I even learned some new dance moves. 

Conferences are a great way for dance ministries to connect with one another. Because there are so many dance ministries around the world, there may be very few opportunities for them to share with one another. Going to conferences or hosting one will certainly create a stronger sense of liturgical dance ministry community. You will enjoy discovering valuable resources and opportunities to fellowship with other dancers. This is not a requirement for dance ministry, but it is a great resource for learning. To find out more about conferences you can connect with these ministries (I am not affiliated with any of these, but they are a great resource.) 

National Liturgical Dance Network 
International Christian Dance Fellowship
Dancing Preachers International

Dance Ministry Essentials

Here are picks of essentials that you will need to begin your dance ministry:

  • Curriculum- This will include what you will teach, a course outline, and training materials.
  • Rehearsal Space- Fellowship hall or sanctuary, or another place such as a home, gym, or studio. 
  • Funding- Starting a dance ministry may cost a little money. You may want to have fundraisers to offset fees for garments, classes, guest instructors, or for any needs of the dance ministry. Don't despise small beginnings. 
  • Praise dance wear- These can be purchased in bulk or individually. You will need neutral colored tights (footed or convertible to footless), dresses, skirts, leotards, and palazzo pants. For shoes you will need a ballet shoes, pedini shoe, or foot thong depending on your desire as a dance ministry leader or what is permissible at your church. 
  • Banners
  • Training Materials- These resources can be found in various liturgical dance books and videos. 

Related Posts 

© 2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Praise Dance for Dancers with Limited Mobility

When we think of dancers we think of long, lean bodies with great muscle tone and active mobility of all limbs. We never think of dancers as having any type of disability or limited mobility, but there are those that enjoy movement despite their limitations. 

I had the pleasure of dancing with a dancer that had a paralyzed arm. As a teenager I understood that she couldn't lift one arm as I, but there really wasn't much of a difference in her heart. Her heart exuded dance and worship. With her disability she was still able to express her love for God.

Dancers with Limited Mobility

As a dance instructor you will encounter many candidates who want to dance, but may need special choreography accommodations. They may include:

Senior Citizens

Their mobility may be limited due to medical issues such as hip replacements arthritis, and lack of range of motion.

Persons with Disabilities 

Those with disabilities may include wheelchair bound individuals, prosethetic patients, and one with a paralyzed limb.

Dancers with Equilibrium Issues

Dancers with equilibrium problems may have a harder time with turning and balance. 

Choreography for Praise Dancers with Limited Mobility

If you ever have to create choreography for dancers with any type of disability it is important that they feel wanted. Help them feel apart of the group by creating movement according to their needs. For instance if you have a senior citizen that has lack of range of motion keep their steps to a minimum. Instead of a leap include an arabesque with the toes pointed on the floor. If there is an individual in a wheelchair that has use of their arms create choreography with a flag to give them more expressive movement with their arms. Just be sure to include other dancers in with the same choreography. If a dancer has vertigo or inner ear problems turning can be an issue. Have that dancer perform a unique solo while everyone else is turning or create less turns in your routines.

These are just a few ideas for creating movement for persons with disabilities. Allow the Lord to lead you. And remember dance is for everyone make allowances for inexperience and dancers with disabilities. 

Example of Dancers with Limited Mobility 

There are some dancers that may have great dance ability despite their disability. Here is an example of dancers with such traits from China. This is just an example of their ability and some of their limitations. 

© 2012 Katina Davenport all rights reserved