Thanks for dropping by.
There are two ways to answer your question about liturgical dance.
1. The practice of liturgical dance, as you described it, is not within
the tradition of the Church. Although a similar or identical practice may be
found in one place or during one particular time, that does not mean it is
within the Church's liturgical tradition. To be within the Church's
tradition means that the practice must be received (even if not practiced
everywhere). Indications of such "reception" are longstanding use, or
approval through several diocese/jurisdictions. (This is not an exhaustive
list of how practices may be received; simply an example.)
2. The Orthodox churches of various rites already have a form of
"liturgical dance." It is not the interpretive movements of an individual or
group of specially trained "dancers." Rather, it is the movement of the
bishop or priest with his attendant clergy and servers. For example, the
Great Entrance in the Byzantine Rite is most certainly a "dance" as the
priest processes the gifts through the assembly with incense, cross, fans,
icons, and other items being carried. In the Western Rite, the movements of
the celebrant, clergy and servers are carefully choreographed to indicate
both reverence and elegance. In both instances, the "dance" is regulated by
rubrics and so is not "free-form." In other words, the servers at the
liturgy submit and conform their movements or "dance" not to their own
interpretation, but to the Church's tradition. In this way, the Church's art
of "liturgical dance" is similar to the Church's art of iconography, which
is not left to the individual artist's tastes or desires; rather, the artist
submits himself to the received discipline (i.e., tradition) of the Church.
I hope this helps to answer to your question. If not-or if it prompts
further questions-please ask again!
Fr John W Fenton
Holy Incarnation <http://holyincarnation.org/
> Orthodox Church
] On Behalf Of michael144000
Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 11:41 AM
Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Liturgical Dance
I have a question. My wife has for years had a ministry in liturgical
dance -- by which I mean, not wild or immodest gyrations, but a
graceful interpretive movement that seeks to embody the Word appointed
for the day. She has done this since she was thirteen, and it is a
big part of her life.
In the holy Scriptures I note that David danced before the Ark (much
to the chagrin of his wife Michal if you recall), and Miriam on the
shores of the Red Sea. I believe it is also true that, in limited
fashion, there were rubrics in Toledo that in Christmas week the
deacons and acolytes did a kind of dance.
On the other hand, it is clear to me that Orthodox Divine Liturgy and
Vespers would really have no place for such.
Is there any context at all, in Orthodoxy, in which this would be
recognized as a valid ministry?
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