What is Messianic Dance?
Messianic dance combines Israeli folk dance, contemporary worship music, and Jewish melodies to formulate choreographed dances. Historians have found that dance was a significant component of the Temple worship in the time of Yeshua. Throughout recorded history dance has been a meaningful demonstration of corporate praise and worship. It has always been the Jewish depiction of celebration. Jewish life cycle events, religious holidays, and triumph from warfare have all been celebrated with dance within the Jewish faith community.
The reason we dance is for the continuity of our spiritual heritage. We express through dance the biblical roots of our faith in our Messiah.
Is Messianic Dance Biblical?
Exodus 15:20 – Miriam and the other women respond to G-d’s triumph over the Egyptians in an expression of dance.
Judges 21:21 - We can note harvest dances in the book of as well as the demonstration of the joy of Japheth’s daughter at his return (11:34).
1 Samuel – Depicts the children of Israel praising David their king by dancing and singing songs of his exploits (21:11)
2 Samuel 6:15 - Describes how David led the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem when he “danced before the L-RD with all his might.”
Jeremiah 31:13 - Shows us that G-d’s redemption causes His people to dance before Him. Jeremiah 31:4, dance is seen as a response to G-d’s love for His people.
Other scriptures relating to dance
1 Samuel 29:5; Ecclesiastes 3:4; Psalm 30:11; Psalm 149:3-4
The Temple that Yeshua walked in employed dance as a means of worship. These many illustrations of dance throughout Israel’s history record in Scripture the potent basis for dance as praise and worship in the faith life of G-d’s people.
Forms and Styles of Dance
Messianic dance is generally done in a circle or a line dance. Messianic movement has employed and reinterpreted Israeli Folk Dance forms as the foundation its new creations. It is a form of community expression. In worship, it is communication with G-d. The singers use voices, the orchestra uses instruments, and the dancers use their bodies. A dancer’s body is an instrument yielded to the power of the Ruach HaKodesh. In no way should it bring reproach to the Name of the L-RD. Rather it should represent grace, purity and order. Dance is prayer in motion.
The three most popular styles are Israeli folk, Yemenite and Hasidic.
Israeli Folk Dance
This dance has become the foundation of messianic circle dances. It is made of the basic Yemenite, mayim, hora, and tcherkessia steps.
Rooted in the Semitic cultures of Arabia and North Africa. This style has bouncy and assertive steps, effective in praise and spiritual warfare.
Developed over the last 200 years by Jews living in the cultural greenhouse of shtetl, small Eastern European Jewish communities. The music is filled with joy of thanksgiving. Other times there is melodic longing for deliverance and the coming of the Messiah.
Restrained and constraining in its movement, the traditional klezmer step is very popular in messianic choreography. The shuffling steps and movements in and out of the circle define this dance style. Arms are often hand-in-hand over the shoulder or on each other’s shoulders.
Davidic dance is a regular part of our praise and worship. If you would like to learn the dances we do congregationally, we have Beginners Dance on the last Shabbat of the month, following our service and Oneg. All are welcome!
If you would like to learn more advanced dances and be a part of our Dance Ministry Team and participate in special Holiday and Outreach opportunities, Beginners/Intermediate Dance meets on Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the synagogue.