entering the land of the gods

a study abroad journey

Sharing the Gift of Dance

As the summer rolls along, my time spent in India feels like a dream. It is so easy to settle into “normal” life- living at home, seeing friends, working, etc.

I am working at First Presbyterian Church this summer for my second year as their Children’s Ministry Intern. Basically, I help plan and coordinate summer activities for elementary aged children to keep them engaged in the Word of God throughout the summer months. It is a delight to be among encouraging people, energetic children, and a community of faith!

One of the ministries I began last summer was Liturgical Dance and it was high on my list of things to do again this year. Well, two weeks ago we had camp- 4 days of learning dances, bonding as sisters in Christ, and discovering what it means to praise the Lord through dance- it was incredible! I had 12 elementary girls in the mornings and then 5 middle schoolers in the afternoon. I was amazed by how open they all were to the Lord and didn’t hesitate to dance with full body and soul.

On our last day of camp I decided to add a worldly focus to devotions.The day before, Pastor Carolyn elaborated on the various scriptures in the Bible that describe people singing and dancing for the Lord. But did you know people were dancing even before Christ and in other religions? I decided to give the girls a taste of my experiences by describing Hinduism, bringing in pictures of the gods to elaborate. The girls were amazed by how interesting Ganesh and Krishna looked, not having encountered these concepts before. However my main point was that dance in India is used to worship and tell stories about their gods just like we worship our God through dance.

With my bells strapped to my ankles, I explained how the dance form of Kuchipudi uses many hand gestures to convey the meaning of the dance, just like we use certain poses or moves to show a particular mood. They loved the way my bells jingled as I performed a bit of Kuchipudi dance. As I practiced the night before, I was amazed at how well I could remember it all. My body was sore doing the movements, but it was still there inside of me!

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I hope that through telling the girls about cultural dance, that they are more open to other religions and other beliefs in general. I appreciated their questions about India and hope that this week will stick with them, encouraging them to explore the world like I have!

I am so blessed to be able to share these experiences and hope that the opportunities to do so will continue to present themselves.

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The middle school dancers!
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And here are the elementary girls!

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2 thoughts on “Sharing the Gift of Dance

  1. Ayush on said:

    So proud of all the great work that you are doing. Keep up the awesome job, Maria.

  2. Mike on said:

    The dancers were wonderful, and Jane really loves participating in this with you. We are blessed to have you!

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