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Where do I start with the dance? A quickening happens with the surge of music – the music races through my blood and something stirs on the inside. The genius of that person’s music is waiting to be interpreted. I think that anointed music deserves the finishing touch of the visual. I am inspired by all my senses, by touching fabric when I go shopping, by smell and sound.

Beautiful Messianic music is now coming from the “believing Jewish community” in Israel. What a sign of the end-times! There are even hymns in the church from the past that need the visual touch. I remember when I choreographed “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” that some people were shocked – it was so sacred. Those men and women were so inspired when they wrote. There are sounds that transport and excite, leaving me searching, in excellence, to express. There is loads of “flat stuff” churned out as Christian Music these days. I can often only use one track on a CD, if that. We use Christian Artists such as Steve Green, Paul Wilbur, Chuck King (Praise and Worship Leader from King of Kings Assembly in Israel), Marty Goetz. I also respect Don Moen as a Praise and Worship leader, Steve Fry. Adrian Snell’s music is very dramatic and full. I find some pieces of Christian music with the emphasis on “heavy metal” or a heavy beat “jar” inside of me. As soon as there is a heavy beat, people’s movements go into the ground, becoming animal-like. You see it often in cultural dances. I have a problem with “redeeming” cultural dances. With the exception of Israeli, they are based on pagan concepts and rituals. I love upward movements towards God which is totally the opposite. I feel comfortable with Messianic Artists like Jonathan Settel, Carol Cantrell, Barry and Batja Segal, Helen Shapiro and Steve McConnell.

Secondly, the lyrics are important to me and I always check them out. I often throw something out if it is not true to the values that I hold. It should be the truth of who God is. If it is not glorifying, even if it is beautiful and brilliant, I will not use it. I cannot study or read with songs in the background, I pick up every word. I often exclaim “Did you hear what they’re singing about?” My husband looks blank and my children moan “Oh mom…!” Long word studies in the Concordance of Hebrew and Greek brings clarity. I often find by searching out the original meaning of a particular verse, that God gives me the idea of a movement. An example as follows: the word “goel” in Hebrew is usually translated into “redeemer”. Our freedom is given by the kinsman-redeemer, (a truer translation meaning “one closer than a brother”). We know that One to be our Lord Jesus. He bought this freedom at the cost of His life. I was once shacked to sin but, Hallelujah, released to be who He planned I should be. The particular movement coming out of all of this is: tied wrists, then throwing them to the other side, with a vigorous side step. There you have a wonderful movement for “redeemer”, in an energetic Messianic number.

The third step. After much thought and prayer the dance starts forming. I often see a dance in pictures. I have woken up at night with an idea, which I have learnt to record immediately otherwise it would be “gone” in the morning. I’m inspired by everything around me, by something I see in a shopping centre, somebody moving in a specific way, other visual effects of everyday life. The movements usually describe the lyrics. I get disappointed when I watch dances that don’t express what the songwriter was trying to get across, they are just a formation of beautiful steps. I think we have to be very responsible with other people’s work. Sometimes a dance gets put on the shelf for a season. At the moment I have about ten potential numbers needing to be choreographed that are strong possibilities for dance. The Lord later directs me back to a certain piece of music.

Step four. Once I have these pictures I would start steps and movements in my bedroom, in my bathroom, kitchen, anywhere. Often in my excitement I would try to choreograph in my own strength, ending up frustrated and battling. Once I’ve recognized and repented of doing so, I then ask the Master Choreographer to lead my mind and give His Creativity to the dance. How amazingly it just flows, once this right order has been established. It is like an instant gift with supernatural timing, compared to an arduous labour.

With step five I would take the dance into a bigger space and start to look at formations and direction. I also consider whether it is suitable for a group, duet or solo or parts thereof. Now it is ready to share with the company and I get to class bursting with the excitement of the new dance. This is like a full “pregnancy” as we all share the “new baby” the Lord is giving, and so the hard work begins.

With step six comes the decisions of costumes, colour, accessories, cloth and finishing touches. I am aware that most groups have a limited supply of these things but even small changes to your white costume can create a different effect. Your setting is also important, just one prop in the right place, a few small drapes or you might find an artist to paint a couple of small backdrops or banners.

Lastly, we come to the finishing off of a dance. We spent far more time polishing a dance than learning it. Sloppy work and untrained movement is not worthy of the King. We see in the Word, that the temple priests, in worship of the Lord, were in full time service. They were skilled in their duties. Why is it, that in the dance, men and women assume a “calling to the ministry”, just because they enjoy what they see. With no bother to train, they throw themselves into their movements, often causing the viewer to cringe at their lack of finesse. Would an orchestra allow a violinist of one month’s training into their midst?

Firstly we attend to footwork, the basics, then arm movements and body direction. Headwork with eyes and even mouth, is important. A closed mouth often stifles a dance behind the teeth. Looking at a particular thing at a particular time, brings unity in the group.

One of the exciting things of working with Christian dancers, is watching the person developing “in the Lord”. As the truth of the Word washes over that person, he or she is renewed in their minds. Old hurts melt away, they start understanding that they are loved by God and understood by Him. We all come into a place of confidence with our Heavenly Father. This is the beauty of choosing numbers where you are “dancing the Word”. It is a powerful two-edged sword in our lives. As a choreographer, I am very aware that all these beautiful things and ideas are given. There is nothing new under the sun and nothing we can claim as our own. I used to grapple with the fact that “my job” was not financially beneficial compared to the world’s choreographers and dance teachers, however, God has multiplied not only the Messianic ministry but more than met all my needs, as I have let these views go. I sometimes “get” a dance in 15 minutes. I believe those are direct blessings from God because I have been able to release my work to the body of Christ. I am immensely satisfied and fulfilled in the work He has given me to share.