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Op-Ed: Process Not Outcome

Dance as a children’s ministry is process oriented, not outcome oriented. Anything more is icing on the cake. I’ve not seen too many dances featuring children (who take dance once a week at their corps) who really put on a stirring performance. It’s usually sloppy, untechnical and a bit disconnected; leaning on their cute-factor to get by.

AND THAT’S GREAT!

There are so many opportunities for ministry within the process of learning to dance:

-Providing a safe/clean/warm space
-Checking-in with each dancer while taking attendance
-Exposure to positive/Christian music during warm ups
-Deep discussions regarding the meaning of the story/lyrics
-Coming to church on Sundays for performances
-Developing personal relationships with Christian leaders and other like-minded children

We don’t need to worry if the Sunday dance is less than perfect. The Spirit is already at work.

My good friend Erin Morgan brought up a great point. Both a skilled musician and dancer, she noted, we would never ask a beginner brass player to learn middle C through teaching a piece they will play in three weeks in front of the congregation. We would first teach middle C and all the technical elements surrounding the production of that that note. Later, we would work towards a performance piece.  Dance is just the same, but rarely receives the same courtesy.

For some reason, dance in the Army is perceived as “easier”, but could it be that we’ve set our standards much lower for what’s expected? SA Music has a two-hundred-year advantage on dance; generation after generation of leaders passing on their skills to the next. We need to give dance a chance by allowing our dancers to focus on technique before asking them to perform. Performance is not the goal. It’s a process.

 

Kathryn Higgins
Dance Ministries Specialist/
Kroc Center Creative Arts Liaison

 

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