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Liturgical Dance

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  • michael144000
    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
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 3, 2007
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      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?
    • JWF
      Hi Michael, Thanks for dropping by. There are two ways to answer your question about liturgical dance. 1. The practice of liturgical dance, as you described
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 3, 2007
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        Hi Michael,



        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

        frfenton@...



        _____

        From: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of michael144000
        Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 11:41 AM
        To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
        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?





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Christopher Orr
        I would say that there is a place for religiously inspired dance, which itself can be quite liturgical . But, as Fr. John has noted, there is simply no
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 3, 2007
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          I would say that there is a place for religiously inspired dance, which
          itself can be quite 'liturgical'. But, as Fr. John has noted, there is
          simply no history of dance taking place in the Christian Church in any
          widespread or consistent way - whatever an OT example may show (we have
          dropped polygamy and monarchy, too).

          In a traditionally served Byzantine Rite there is quite a lot of 'dance'
          that takes place with all of the crosses, crossing and bowing, bowing,
          crossing and prostrating, etc. all at their particular times. Then there is
          the censing of the temple at various points during the services, which
          requires the congregants to move out of the way of the Deacon or Priest, the
          procession to the center of the nave, to the narthex, and even out to the
          street or around the entire church building (or around the block in a city
          parish such as mine) and you get quite a lot of motion - in addition to the
          other Entrances Fr. John mentioned.

          Christopher






          > From: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
          > [mailto:LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>]
          > On Behalf Of michael144000
          > Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 11:41 AM
          > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com<LutheransLookingEast%40yahoogroups.com>
          > 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?
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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