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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Pilgrim on June 05, 2015, 10:39:44 AM

Title: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Pilgrim on June 05, 2015, 10:39:44 AM
I heard this morning, and saw a picture of - an allegedly "ballet drag performer" recruited from New York City to perform a liturgical dance at the North Carolina Synod Assembly worship. The picture I saw showed him performing in "tidy whites & t-shirt". True? I'm curious. It's one of those things that boggles the mind, if in fact it occurred. It apparently appeared on "Lutheran Satire" and was removed by the ELCA according to the reports from Lutheran Satire.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 05, 2015, 10:53:21 AM
Like any other art form used in worship, liturgical dance can be done poorly, in poor taste or pointlessly.  Like any other art form in worship its introduction where it has not previously been used must be done carefully with much education and explanation.  Otherwise it becomes simply a novelty, entertainment, or distraction.

Lets not forget that an early proponent of liturgical dance was one David, son of Jesse.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 11:02:18 AM
It has since been removed from that particular synod's facebook page.  I think it broke the internet yesterday.  ;D
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 05, 2015, 11:05:49 AM
As I recall reading the use of pipe organs in worship was quite controversial when they were first introduced.  Previously they had been used for pagan Roman religious festivals and gladiatorial spectacles.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: John Mundinger on June 05, 2015, 11:09:40 AM
Like any other art form used in worship, liturgical dance can be done poorly, in poor taste or pointlessly.  Like any other art form in worship its introduction where it has not previously been used must be done carefully with much education and explanation.  Otherwise it becomes simply a novelty, entertainment, or distraction.

Lets not forget that an early proponent of liturgical dance was one David, son of Jesse.

*Like* +1

As I recall reading the use of pipe organs in worship was quite controversial when they were first introduced.  Previously they had been used for pagan Roman religious festivals and gladiatorial spectacles.

*Like* +2
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Voelker on June 05, 2015, 11:11:51 AM
As I recall reading the use of pipe organs in worship was quite controversial when they were first introduced.  Previously they had been used for pagan Roman religious festivals and gladiatorial spectacles.
They still are controversial, it would seem! I've come across the blog of a Calvinist professor who regularly goes off on, and quotes Calvinists on all eras against, instrumentation in worship. The argument: since God never told us to use instruments in NT-era worship, we can't. That's OT stuff, with the harps and lyres and horns and stuff. I'm fascinated by this line of thinking in a rubbernecking-on-the-highway sort of way.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 05, 2015, 11:19:33 AM
Like +3 to Dan Fienen


http://stlorenz.org/ministry/girls-of-grace/
This always impressed me, though I do think it's gender structured as all heck, and that bothers me.  But it is interesting that liturgical dance is done at a place that carries a huge reverence for its worship space, particularly chancel and pulpit. 

Liturgical dance isn't my thing, but I'm glad it's there. 
FWIW my Lutheran life was Red Hymnal >>>>> emergent>> contemporary.  Aesthetically speaking, of course. 

They still are controversial, it would seem! I've come across the blog of a Calvinist professor who regularly goes off on, and quotes Calvinists on all eras against, instrumentation in worship. The argument: since God never told us to use instruments in NT-era worship, we can't. That's OT stuff, with the harps and lyres and horns and stuff. I'm fascinated by this line of thinking in a rubbernecking-on-the-highway sort of way.

I think you're on to something.  I think it expresses my troubles as I've watched the LCMS and ELCA argue back and forth on some topics - particularly where people feel that Scripture supports them. 

An example reading.
http://www.bereacoc.com/whychrisworship.htm
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: BrotherBoris on June 05, 2015, 11:44:22 AM
I am not a fan of liturgical dance.  However, if we must have it, or at least must tolerate it, and we are going to give Middle Eastern precedents for it, like David dancing in front of the Ark in the Old Testament, then I submit we should have liturgical belly dancing.  Belly Dancing grows out of the same Middle Eastern culture that gave us the Bible. Its rhythm reminds of Moses and Miriam dancing by the shores of the Red Sea as the evil Egyptians were washed away. You can hear the sound of Israeli campfire music in it and the roots of Jewish and Byzantine chant.

I think it would work best liturgically during an extended Allleluia during a Gospel Procession. As the Alleluia is sung in three times in rapid succession, three groups of three female belly dancers could erotically add "life" to these supposedly 'dead' liturgical forms, by twirling, gyrating, and bouncing their hips back and forth like the skipping she-goats of the Song of Solomon. It would certainly be a service I would attend.  And think of the unchurched men it would attract.

Something like this:  https://youtu.be/8YQM_zfYO7Q
 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 05, 2015, 11:54:27 AM
It wasn't the fact that the liturgical dancer was male that was so disturbing about the picture posted on the Synod's official FB page; he was wearing the equivalent of tighty-whities (sp?) or perhaps Hooter's hot pants and a tee-shirt that showed his belly in the pose pictured.  I cannot imagine any female liturgical dancer wearing the same without generating extreme controversy.  He was intentionally showing off his body (like I said, the pants didn't really fully cover his, um, cheeks) in a way that would be extraordinarily inappropriate regardless of whether he was male or female.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 05, 2015, 11:59:04 AM
This being the internet, I found the picture.  Click here for it (https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11427236_775050192504_3787385843400203590_n.jpg?oh=7000a2fb3559f17079e7efc61547b488&oe=55EA0BD7) (though I feel like I need to give a trigger warning).
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 05, 2015, 12:05:40 PM
In the early days, there were attempts to avoid the word "dance," so a congregation might have a "motion choir".


The choir at the college I attended would sign Beautiful Savior as they sang. (They began doing this when the parents of one of the members were deaf. It was so well received they kept doing it.) Could those arm and hand movements be considered a type of dance?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 12:49:10 PM
 I'm not sure about the point of getting all upset about what someone else far away does.  If you don't like this kind of liturgical action, don't schedule it for any of your events.  I'm wondering why the deaconness wanted to post that picture here. On second thought, I'm not wondering at all.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on June 05, 2015, 01:16:37 PM
I'm not sure about the point of getting all upset about what someone else far away does.  If you don't like this kind of liturgical action, don't schedule it for any of your events.  I'm wondering why the deaconness wanted to post that picture here. On second thought, I'm not wondering at all.

Uh....the Deaconess never said she wanted to post it nor did she post the picture. Wait....maybe she uses the pseudonym Scott Yakimow and is actually a man with a beard.

You wonder about some things. So do I. I wonder if you jump to criticize the good Deaconess because she is a living contradiction of what you believe women to be and think. "On second thought, I'm not wondering at all."
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Daniel L. Gard on June 05, 2015, 01:18:36 PM
This being the internet, I found the picture.  Click here for it (https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11427236_775050192504_3787385843400203590_n.jpg?oh=7000a2fb3559f17079e7efc61547b488&oe=55EA0BD7) (though I feel like I need to give a trigger warning).

Thanks a lot, Professor. I clicked on the link and now I cannot un-see it.  :-\
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 05, 2015, 01:22:01 PM
This being the internet, I found the picture.  Click here for it (https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11427236_775050192504_3787385843400203590_n.jpg?oh=7000a2fb3559f17079e7efc61547b488&oe=55EA0BD7) (though I feel like I need to give a trigger warning).

Thanks a lot, Professor. I clicked on the link and now I cannot un-see it.  :-\

You're welcome. Glad to be of help.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: James_Gale on June 05, 2015, 02:02:18 PM
This being the internet, I found the picture.  Click here for it (https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11427236_775050192504_3787385843400203590_n.jpg?oh=7000a2fb3559f17079e7efc61547b488&oe=55EA0BD7) (though I feel like I need to give a trigger warning).

Thanks a lot, Professor. I clicked on the link and now I cannot un-see it.  :-\

You're welcome. Glad to be of help.


You've made me feel unsafe.  You need to check your privilege, stop with the micro-aggressions, and provide a safe space filled with play-doh, soothing music, and play-doh.  Lots of play-doh.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 02:15:41 PM
I'm not sure about the point of getting all upset about what someone else far away does.  If you don't like this kind of liturgical action, don't schedule it for any of your events.  I'm wondering why the deaconness wanted to post that picture here. On second thought, I'm not wondering at all.

Actually, it made the rounds on Facebook yesterday, and I started by pointing it out on the "Prayers" thread.  Can anyone, Charles included, explain how a man gyrating around in his skivvies before the Holy altar of God provides any benefit to the gathered worshipping assembly?  Reverence, decorum, decency . . . is this typified through such offerings?

I am glad, Charles, that you are no longer wondering about my intentions.  By the way, if anyone likes this sort of thing, here is another opportunity (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/01/tallywackers-all-male-hooters_n_7486112.html) to imbibe.  Outside of the gathered worshipping assembly, of course.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dave Likeness on June 05, 2015, 02:29:52 PM
A Royal Dance was held at King Herod's birthday party.
He invited Rita Hayworth to do the dance of the seven
veils.  Her name was condensed to Salome. Her reward
for the dance was the murder of John the Baptist. Perhaps,
you have read Salome's book, "How To Get Ahead in Life".
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 05, 2015, 02:36:58 PM
I think it would work best liturgically during an extended Allleluia during a Gospel Procession. As the Alleluia is sung in three times in rapid succession, three groups of three female belly dancers could erotically add "life".....
Especially if the dancer was named Zoe.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 02:42:38 PM
Here is a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mY-PwxNLAPU) of the dancer at a gathered worshipping assembly in which he is actually clothed.  He is a gifted dancer.  Elegant, graceful, athletic.

I am a dance mom (well, not THAT kind of dance mom . . . the mother of a dancer I like to say).  My daughter dances competitively.  She dances for the glory of God (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCZIUXi8Gn0) in her solos (at least in her lyrical solo . . . her musical theater number is all for fun).  [And the skin tone is actually fabric, not bare skin.]  She has four boys in her competition dance company.  I frequent 4 or more regional dance competitions per year plus one national competition every other year, all involving hundreds upon hundreds of dancers.  I have yet to encounter a male dancer in his underwear in that venue.  How is it acceptable in the house of God?  It is creepy to those of us looking in from the outside.  I would welcome an explanation from someone in the know.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Pilgrim on June 05, 2015, 02:45:50 PM
Just to correct myself, apparently this occurred in Metro NY, not North Carolina. Be that as it may, I, too, would be interested in just how Charles would "defend" this is the midst of the worship of God's people, not within a local parish that may have wandered from the tracks, but within an entire Synod Assembly! If the good folks of Iowa with whom you were raised would have been exposed to such a thing 40-years ago, can you even imagine the riotous response? Is this "progress" in any constructive sense of the word for Christian witness and the Kingdom to which we have been called to serve?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 02:47:07 PM
This is a case where a picture is not worth a thousand words. Without context, without the actions involved, without the larger experience, we cannot really know what the whole deal was.
But the picture alone, out of any context, gives some people the "ain't it awful!" ammo they like to shoot.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Pilgrim on June 05, 2015, 02:49:38 PM
Nice non-answer answer, you sly reporter you!
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: BrotherBoris on June 05, 2015, 03:05:17 PM
I think it would work best liturgically during an extended Allleluia during a Gospel Procession. As the Alleluia is sung in three times in rapid succession, three groups of three female belly dancers could erotically add "life".....
Especially if the dancer was named Zoe.

I'm glad to see SOMEONE caught on to the fact that I was being facetious!   ;)


Zoe the Orthodox Belly Dancer from Damascus? Perhaps a new form of outreach for the Antiochian Archdiocese.   8)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 05, 2015, 03:25:23 PM
This is a case where a picture is not worth a thousand words. Without context, without the actions involved, without the larger experience, we cannot really know what the whole deal was.
But the picture alone, out of any context, gives some people the "ain't it awful!" ammo they like to shoot.
And the response gives you the "ain't it awful!" ammo you like to shoot.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Sandra on June 05, 2015, 03:29:25 PM
Here is a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mY-PwxNLAPU) of the dancer at a gathered worshipping assembly in which he is actually clothed.  He is a gifted dancer.  Elegant, graceful, athletic.

Are men in pointe a new thing now?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 03:41:03 PM
Here is a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mY-PwxNLAPU) of the dancer at a gathered worshipping assembly in which he is actually clothed.  He is a gifted dancer.  Elegant, graceful, athletic.

Are men in pointe a new thing now?

It worked for The Rock (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_vpHlyAMN8k) in The Game Plan.   ;D  Well, not actually "en pointe," but ballet techniques.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 04:24:57 PM
listen carefully. That dance might have been the worst thing ever since somebody decided to put pineapple on pizza. My point is that we do not know exactly what it was, how it looked or in what context it was presented. So I don't know whether it was a good thing or not and neither does anyone else who wasn't there.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on June 05, 2015, 04:34:01 PM
So if the dancer had been totally nude, we still couldn't object since we weren't there and don't know how it looked?  The objections here seem to be for the young man's attire and not for liturgical dance, per se.  And we know what that attire looked like based on the photograph.  So, no, one does not need to be there to have an opinion or make a judgment.

Oh, and by the way, I have had pizza with pineapple. And it was good.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: LutherMan on June 05, 2015, 04:47:05 PM
This being the internet, I found the picture.  Click here for it (https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xft1/v/t1.0-9/11427236_775050192504_3787385843400203590_n.jpg?oh=7000a2fb3559f17079e7efc61547b488&oe=55EA0BD7) (though I feel like I need to give a trigger warning).
I wear more than that to bed at night...
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 04:52:02 PM
well, he wasn't nude, was he? and of course you would think that having pineapple on pizza is good.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 05, 2015, 05:13:03 PM
Have we heard from anyone who was actually present to see if this actually happened at the Metro NY Synod Assembly? About all I get from their webpage is that the assembly was held May 29-30. (If it was being held next weekend, as ours is, I would have said the picture is a fake.)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Weedon on June 05, 2015, 05:26:34 PM
Krauser would have been there. Jimbo?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Satis Est on June 05, 2015, 05:34:34 PM
listen carefully. That dance might have been the worst thing ever since somebody decided to put pineapple on pizza. My point is that we do not know exactly what it was, how it looked or in what context it was presented. So I don't know whether it was a good thing or not and neither does anyone else who wasn't there.

I agree with Charles on this. (Well, maybe not with the pineapple on pizza part. Spam and pineapple on pizza can be sorta good. But I digress...) Context is everything in the arts, and especially with dance. The photo is unfortunate in that there is no context.

Now, I don't really care for liturgical dance in worship, usually. (It is often badly done, is 'stuck in' for no good theological or liturgical reason, and is performance and leaves the worshipping community out except as spectators. There are exceptions, and I am usually open to the exceptions when they occur.) When it is done, exceptional care needs to be taken for the costuming worn, because of the worship setting and often the closeness of the congregation to the dancers. What works on stage often does not work in the center aisle or on the chancel.

In an attempt to be 8th commandment explanation here, it appears in the photo that this dance's theme could be baptism (the colors of white and blue, the flowing blue fabric, the appearance of a bowl with water on a blue cloth). The dancer's costume (that is what it is, after all) could be an attempt to approximate the new life rising from the waters of Holy Baptism. (Yes, this might be a stretch, but work with me here!) Not having seen the dance, and not knowing anything about the worship service itself, I cannot begin to guess if that is close to being what is going on, or if the dance was effective both as a piece of art and as an expression of worship that added to the experience of the assembly in worship. Did it give glory to God? We just don't have enough information to know.

I personally think the costume needed to be revised, as my first thought before reading any comments when seeing the photo earlier today was, yes, "Tighty-whities in worship? No!" However, I have no reason to think that the dancer was trying to shock in that setting. I just don't think it worked, as the costume only draws attention to him and not to what he is doing in praise of God. But I'm sure no one here has ever, ever, ever made a wardrobe choice that they later regretted after seeing a photo of themselves on Facebook.   ::)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 05, 2015, 05:39:40 PM
Here's a video of Roberto Lara doing liturgical dance in his congregation, St. Peter's Lutheran, New York. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY-PwxNLAPU It's not something we would do. We have no orchestra. We have no choir. We have no dancers.


I note that the picture of him that showed up on Facebook, was not posted there by anyone from the Metro New York Synod. The original seems to have been posted on this site http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/ (scroll down some) where his name is misspelled. It's not clear if that is a picture from the synod assembly, or a stock picture of Lara, with a statement that he danced at the assembly.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 05, 2015, 05:43:36 PM
He has some credentials: http://www.networkdance.com/Roberto-Lara/#CV
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 05:55:57 PM
It was published on the Metropolitan New York Synod's Facebook page yesterday with a caption of "Liturgical dancer Roberto Lara at the opening of Synod assembly."  The context was there.  It now is not because it was removed from the FB page.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 06:04:11 PM
And again, the problem isn't with liturgical dance or his particular skill at it (he's gifted and credentialed), it's with the lack of coverage.  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!)  That certainly goes without saying in the church realm.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 05, 2015, 06:25:45 PM
It was published on the Metropolitan New York Synod's Facebook page yesterday with a caption of "Liturgical dancer Roberto Lara at the opening of Synod assembly."  The context was there.  It now is not because it was removed from the FB page.


OK. I searched for Metro New York Synod on Facebook and there was no synod group. However, there is one when searching for Metropolitan New York Synod. There's a nice picture of Bishop Benke in the collection of pictures that are still there.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Satis Est on June 05, 2015, 06:30:06 PM
  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!) 

 Tell it to the New York City Ballet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqLmH-f9VOw
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Matt Hummel on June 05, 2015, 06:37:08 PM
The picture was up on the MNYS  Facebook page early this AM. It was not there after Noon.

I usually brag on my MNYS roots. Not this time. How anyone can think that having someone however talented & credentialed flopping around like a Captain Underpants story as interpreted by Martha Graham is a good idea boggles the mind. And to think that posting it to Social Media would not bring well deserved scorn shows a second lapse in judgment. The low rumble you hear is William Lazareth rotating at high speed.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 07:57:06 PM
  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!) 

 Tell it to the New York City Ballet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqLmH-f9VOw

Must be a New York thing.  :-\

Though I know some ballet companies offer the occasional contemporary performance which might not involve the typical leotard.

I'm baffled that anyone would even try to explain this away or justify it in a church setting.  Apparently enough people agreed or the post wouldn't have been removed.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 08:16:03 PM
We out here don't need the approval of non-ELCAers far away. Maybe the post was removed because we are disgusted with your response.  Don't need the hassle.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 05, 2015, 08:48:35 PM
Now, I don't really care for liturgical dance in worship, usually. (It is often badly done, is 'stuck in' for no good theological or liturgical reason, and is performance and leaves the worshipping community out except as spectators.

That's why I prefer liturgical square dancing.  Everyone get's involved. ;)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Satis Est on June 05, 2015, 08:54:39 PM
  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!) 

 Tell it to the New York City Ballet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqLmH-f9VOw

Must be a New York thing.  :-\


No. It's a professional dance company thing.

Here is a (wonderful, by the way) clip of Rudolf Nureyev in "Sleeping Beauty," a classical ballet, and he is fully clothed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNqVhddnbiQ
   
 For a male ballet dancer in a classical role, that is. The first time my mother (a proper Southern lady) saw a male ballet dancer walk through the hallways while she and I were waiting for class to begin, she promptly clapped her hands over my eyes! And then said, "Well, THAT left nothing to the imagination!" (I was 14.) If one isn't used to seeing male ballet dancers, even with legs fully covered in leotards, well, let's just say it does take some getting used to.

Which is why I both agree with you, Deaconess, and disagree with you. Yes, what works on the stage for a professional dance company may not work in the context of a worship service. Some physical things which are fine in one venue are not in another. It is too distracting, especially when dance in worship is only an occasional thing and not an everyday occurance. The issue is not whether the dancer was male, or had the ability to perform properly.

Where I disagree (and will defend this dancer and the Metropolitan New York Synod in this one instance) is over the matter of whether we actually have enough evidence to make a judgement here. One picture does not tell the whole story. And even if the costume was ill-chosen (and I think it may well have been), that doesn't automatically translate into the entire dance being inappropriate. A little charity toward the arts (and to one sharing his art and his gifts and talents with the church) might be in order.

Of all the things I have complained about in my former synod, this is one I find to be so not a problem.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 05, 2015, 08:59:25 PM
certainly not so great a problem as putting pineapple on a pizza.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 05, 2015, 10:10:02 PM
  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!) 

 Tell it to the New York City Ballet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqLmH-f9VOw

Must be a New York thing.  :-\


No. It's a professional dance company thing.

Here is a (wonderful, by the way) clip of Rudolf Nureyev in "Sleeping Beauty," a classical ballet, and he is fully clothed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNqVhddnbiQ
   
 For a male ballet dancer in a classical role, that is. The first time my mother (a proper Southern lady) saw a male ballet dancer walk through the hallways while she and I were waiting for class to begin, she promptly clapped her hands over my eyes! And then said, "Well, THAT left nothing to the imagination!" (I was 14.) If one isn't used to seeing male ballet dancers, even with legs fully covered in leotards, well, let's just say it does take some getting used to.

Which is why I both agree with you, Deaconess, and disagree with you. Yes, what works on the stage for a professional dance company may not work in the context of a worship service. Some physical things which are fine in one venue are not in another. It is too distracting, especially when dance in worship is only an occasional thing and not an everyday occurance. The issue is not whether the dancer was male, or had the ability to perform properly.

Where I disagree (and will defend this dancer and the Metropolitan New York Synod in this one instance) is over the matter of whether we actually have enough evidence to make a judgement here. One picture does not tell the whole story. And even if the costume was ill-chosen (and I think it may well have been), that doesn't automatically translate into the entire dance being inappropriate. A little charity toward the arts (and to one sharing his art and his gifts and talents with the church) might be in order.

Of all the things I have complained about in my former synod, this is one I find to be so not a problem.

Yeah, actually I disagree with you here.

An interesting thing just happened.  My parents are in town (my mom is an ELCA pastor), and so I showed them the picture.  My dad, of course, cracked a joke.

However, my eldest daughter was also in the room (11 yrs) and asked to see the picture, too.  I instinctively hesitated, not wanting to expose her to the view that was on full display during a worship service -- for similar but still quite different reasons I would not want to show my 14 yr old son a picture of a woman similarly dressed.  She did not need to see a grown man in that state of deshabille.

But the puzzle was that this was a public worship service done by Lutherans.  Should it not be accessible to all?  Are we now to have a rating system for divine worship?  If so, I can't see this as a "G" rated service.  Perhaps PG-13 or PG at best.  Isn't that in itself a problem?  Shouldn't I be able to show my daughter a picture of the service without reservations, without any qualms?

I think that the picture gives enough information to make a decision as to whether or not it is appropriate for a grown man (or a grown woman) to dance in a costume the equivalent of underwear / hot pants in a worship service.  The dance may have been beautiful (it was apparently done by someone with world-class talent) and the themes may have been great, but the costume is simply wrong.  Incredibly wrong.

And I think I may still be using understatement.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: LutherMan on June 05, 2015, 10:13:38 PM
  It is quite unusual for men to dance in such little attire within the dance realm.  (Crikey, even Chippendale dancers wear pants!) 

 Tell it to the New York City Ballet.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqLmH-f9VOw

Must be a New York thing.  :-\


No. It's a professional dance company thing.

Here is a (wonderful, by the way) clip of Rudolf Nureyev in "Sleeping Beauty," a classical ballet, and he is fully clothed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNqVhddnbiQ
   
 For a male ballet dancer in a classical role, that is. The first time my mother (a proper Southern lady) saw a male ballet dancer walk through the hallways while she and I were waiting for class to begin, she promptly clapped her hands over my eyes! And then said, "Well, THAT left nothing to the imagination!" (I was 14.) If one isn't used to seeing male ballet dancers, even with legs fully covered in leotards, well, let's just say it does take some getting used to.

Which is why I both agree with you, Deaconess, and disagree with you. Yes, what works on the stage for a professional dance company may not work in the context of a worship service. Some physical things which are fine in one venue are not in another. It is too distracting, especially when dance in worship is only an occasional thing and not an everyday occurance. The issue is not whether the dancer was male, or had the ability to perform properly.

Where I disagree (and will defend this dancer and the Metropolitan New York Synod in this one instance) is over the matter of whether we actually have enough evidence to make a judgement here. One picture does not tell the whole story. And even if the costume was ill-chosen (and I think it may well have been), that doesn't automatically translate into the entire dance being inappropriate. A little charity toward the arts (and to one sharing his art and his gifts and talents with the church) might be in order.

Of all the things I have complained about in my former synod, this is one I find to be so not a problem.

Yeah, actually I disagree with you here.

An interesting thing just happened.  My parents are in town (my mom is an ELCA pastor), and so I showed them the picture.  My dad, of course, cracked a joke.

However, my eldest daughter was also in the room (11 yrs) and asked to see the picture, too.  I instinctively hesitated, not wanting to expose her to the view that was on full display during a worship service -- for similar but still quite different reasons I would not want to show my 14 yr old son a picture of a woman similarly dressed.  She did not need to see a grown man in that state of deshabille.

But the puzzle was that this was a public worship service done by Lutherans.  Should it not be accessible to all?  Are we now to have a rating system for divine worship?  If so, I can't see this as a "G" rated service.  Perhaps PG-13 or PG at best.  Isn't that in itself a problem?  Shouldn't I be able to show my daughter a picture of the service without reservations, without any qualms?

I think that the picture gives enough information to make a decision as to whether or not it is appropriate for a grown man (or a grown woman) to dance in a costume the equivalent of underwear / hot pants in a worship service.  The dance may have been beautiful (it was apparently done by someone with world-class talent) and the themes may have been great, but the costume is simply wrong.  Incredibly wrong.

And I think I may still be using understatement.
Like I said, I sleep in more clothes than that...
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 10:25:49 PM
We out here don't need the approval of non-ELCAers far away. Maybe the post was removed because we are disgusted with your response.  Don't need the hassle.

Actually, I first saw it being commented on by those in the ELCA (in a derogatory manner).  Then I saw an ELCA friend post about it with subsequent comments from some other insiders.  It would seem that even those in the ELCA disagree with the costume choice.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on June 05, 2015, 10:34:04 PM
We out here don't need the approval of non-ELCAers far away. Maybe the post was removed because we are disgusted with your response.  Don't need the hassle.

Keep that sentiment in mind next time you want to post on something in the LCMS.  Please.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Chuck on June 05, 2015, 10:40:54 PM
Which is why I both agree with you, Deaconess, and disagree with you. Yes, what works on the stage for a professional dance company may not work in the context of a worship service. Some physical things which are fine in one venue are not in another. It is too distracting, especially when dance in worship is only an occasional thing and not an everyday occurance. The issue is not whether the dancer was male, or had the ability to perform properly.

Where I disagree (and will defend this dancer and the Metropolitan New York Synod in this one instance) is over the matter of whether we actually have enough evidence to make a judgement here. One picture does not tell the whole story. And even if the costume was ill-chosen (and I think it may well have been), that doesn't automatically translate into the entire dance being inappropriate. A little charity toward the arts (and to one sharing his art and his gifts and talents with the church) might be in order.

Of all the things I have complained about in my former synod, this is one I find to be so not a problem.
Well said, Pr. Wolf.

Of course the deaconess has yet to explain how she thinks this is different from the LCMS National Youth Gathering (https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionalLutheranMemes/posts/547446558669112) a couple years ago.

It appears that the original posting in the "Prayers Requested" thread was solely for the purpose of scorn, else why post it there? Stones and glass houses and all that, you know.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 10:42:51 PM
Yeah, actually I disagree with you here.

An interesting thing just happened.  My parents are in town (my mom is an ELCA pastor), and so I showed them the picture.  My dad, of course, cracked a joke.

However, my eldest daughter was also in the room (11 yrs) and asked to see the picture, too.  I instinctively hesitated, not wanting to expose her to the view that was on full display during a worship service -- for similar but still quite different reasons I would not want to show my 14 yr old son a picture of a woman similarly dressed.  She did not need to see a grown man in that state of deshabille.

But the puzzle was that this was a public worship service done by Lutherans.  Should it not be accessible to all?  Are we now to have a rating system for divine worship?  If so, I can't see this as a "G" rated service.  Perhaps PG-13 or PG at best.  Isn't that in itself a problem?  Shouldn't I be able to show my daughter a picture of the service without reservations, without any qualms?

I think that the picture gives enough information to make a decision as to whether or not it is appropriate for a grown man (or a grown woman) to dance in a costume the equivalent of underwear / hot pants in a worship service.  The dance may have been beautiful (it was apparently done by someone with world-class talent) and the themes may have been great, but the costume is simply wrong.  Incredibly wrong.

And I think I may still be using understatement.

BINGO.  I had the same thought about children or impressionable youth witnessing this without expecting it, but I presume there aren't any/many at a Synod gathering like this.  I wouldn't pay to watch a production with such costuming nor take my children to one (and I did consulting work for a professional ballet company), so I certainly wouldn't want to be subjected to it in worship.  I thought he was appropriately dressed in the video I linked to above, so I'm not sure why the deviation in this particular venue.  Any way, not my circus.  This just happened to get my attention yesterday as a result of the Facebook comments showing up in my feed by many ELCA members.  It was actually refreshing that they voiced their concerns about this . . . it gave me some hope.

I guess we should be grateful it was more than a fig leaf used for costuming.   :)

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. (Gen 3:7)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Buckeye Deaconess on June 05, 2015, 10:48:23 PM
Of course the deaconess has yet to explain how she thinks this is different from the LCMS National Youth Gathering (https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionalLutheranMemes/posts/547446558669112) a couple years ago.

You posted a link to a meme on Facebook that was not part of an official church organization.  I have no idea if that was an actual picture from a Youth Gathering.  If it was and should ever be replicated, I would be having a few words with those in charge of the event.  The actual photo I first linked to was on an official church organization page, now removed apparently because of the negative attention it drew.  Obviously many others have a problem with the choice of attire.

As I mentioned above, I was particularly surprised at the amount of negative comments being made by those WITHIN the ELCA.  That is how it got my attention.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: NCLutheran2 on June 05, 2015, 11:43:03 PM
I see far, far more skin during my visits to Wal-Mart than I do this picture. Perhaps it is because it is hotter in the South, or maybe we are just too poor to afford much fabric  ;), but I really don't think his clothes are that revealing, especially since it looks like he is the middle of a movement. Who knows how the outfit could have moved/stretched/failed at that particular moment that led to an unfortunate picture?

Granted, it is a little odd to see it on a man, but I wouldn't blink twice at shorts like that on a woman. However, the male form I am most used to seeing is that of plumber's crack or beer belly bursting from underneath a stretched t-shirt variety...

Although I have to admit I do not have a very favorable opinion to liturgical dance, I file this one under the "good in theory, but bad in practice" category. There are far too many variables in dance to make a judgement from one picture. I don't think any of us would have trouble thinking of several cringe-worthy moments during services ourselves, either.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 05, 2015, 11:57:41 PM
I see far, far more skin during my visits to Wal-Mart than I do this picture. Perhaps it is because it is hotter in the South, or maybe we are just too poor to afford much fabric...

Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

But I work in Portland.  Yup, home of the naked bicycle ride.  Home of Last Thursday on Alberta where I saw I large, hairy man in a thong (and nothing else) being led on a dog chain by a guy on stilts last time I was there.  Or then there's the 70-ish hairy guy who lives along a busy 4-lane road and was working on his car barefoot wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys (or, I guess, tighty-grayies, given their, um, state).  So this type of stuff is a wee bit more common up here than in many places.

I'm still pretty sure none of them should be dancing in church dressed (or undressed) like that, however.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: peter_speckhard on June 06, 2015, 12:50:29 AM
The picture was self-caricature. Defending that act as somehow being salutary for a worship service is laughable. Recently Richard Johnson asked me about possibly doing project together for FL in which I gave my impressions of the ELCA and he gave his impressions of the LCMS. If I simply submitted that picture I'd be accused of a low blow. Stop trying to justify it and simply admit it was silliness on display and just as well that those in authority came to their senses and took the picture down. Yeah, I know, David. David did a lot of things, not all of them worth imitating.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: NCLutheran2 on June 06, 2015, 01:11:00 AM
I'm still sure none of them should be dancing in church dressed (or undressed) like that, however.

While I prefer to not mix dance and church, period, I've been exposed to it through my girlfriend's family's church, who regularly features their dance troup. It's really amazing how it always seems to happen, but I always seem to get an emergency phone call right before that portion of the service.

Seriously, I tend to agree, but the only thing that makes me think this could be legitimately okay is that the guy appears to be turning mid-stride, for lack of better words. I think anyone's clothes would ride up if they did that. If he was just standing there and they were that short, it would be different.

Quote
But I work in Portland.  Yup, home of the naked bicycle ride.  Home of Last Thursday on Alberta where I saw I large, hairy man in a thong (and nothing else) being led on a dog chain by a guy on stilts last time I was there.  Or then there's the 70-ish hairy guy who lives along a busy 4-lane road and was working on his car barefoot wearing nothing but tighty-whiteys (or, I guess, tighty-grayies, given their, um, state).  So this type of stuff is a wee bit more common up here than in many places.

I have always observed that the more permissible nudity is, the less attractive the people practicing said nudity are.  :D
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: LutherMan on June 06, 2015, 01:17:54 AM

I have always observed that the more permissible nudity is, the less attractive the people practicing said nudity are.  :D
Yep.  When I lived in San Diego and went to Black's Beach at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, the nudies were always tons of fun and looked like leathery Jabba the Hut's...
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 02:59:52 AM
Also consider that dressing (or lack thereof) for a large crowd in a hotel ballroom is probably less fitting for a closeup picture. That's also true for gestures that need to be large to be seen by a few hundred people, but become quite exaggerated when the speaker is televised and picture closeup on a screen. Before microphones, we were told to project to the people in the back of the room (which appears like shouting for those (if any) sitting in the front pews.


The impression we get from a still photo is likely to be a bit different than if we had seen him in continual motion.


In contrast to the dancer's clothing, pictures of Bishop Rimbo show him well-vested when presiding at worship.


The thought also comes to mind that the comments indicate more about the critic than they do the actual event. Dancing in skimping clothing (as we can all see on Dancing with the Stars, as well as the video of the New York ballet) was probably normal for him. Perhaps, in a similar way, should there have been a rock and roll band or reggae group doing the music in their style; people would complain because they don't believe that's the proper kind of music for worship services.


Note: I served for five years as a co-chair of a synod worship committee. While we worked with and helped the committees who planned synod worship services and worked with trying to make them high quality that would be meaning to all the people attending the events; we didn't always know exactly what was going to happen; or how people would react. We have had people walk out of something that others said was the most meaningful part of the assembly.


We often had to trust someone would say, "We have an excellent liturgical dancer (or organist or pianist or choir) in our congregation who's willing to perform. These are his credentials." We give the OK, not knowing for sure what they will do or how well. No one, except the dancer, may have known about his attire until he began.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 06, 2015, 06:49:52 AM
Back when I was an affiliated pastor at St. Peter's, Manhattan, we had a professional dancer who sometimes led the procession on holidays. One Christmas Eve, she carried a bowl of incense and her graceful moves and leaps sent clouds of frankincense smoke down the aisles and around the altar. Now, I suppose if one were to focus on the revelatory diaphanosity of her body stocking and airy cape/cope, which in certain light displayed in gauzy, yet discernible detail those blessings with which the Blessed Virgin Mary nourished the Christ Child, one might be inclined to take offense.
However, in context - please note, in the context of that procession and service, attended by New Yorkers and a few New Jerseyans and residents of Connecticut, none but the most small-minded would have found anything wrong with her dress.
But take her picture, isolating it from the setting, music and movement; and you might have a perfume ad in Vogue.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: J. Eriksson on June 06, 2015, 07:33:14 AM
Okay

my cents worth;  I've been in  worship services a small single digit number of times where there has been liturgical dance or what this generation thinks is such.  Like many I don't care for it; no matter who does it or how they are clothed.  We must remember that synod assemblies are places for new things, avant-garde things.  Where there is a captive audience; much too good mannered to vote with their feet.

we all know(or should) that King David danced before the Lord,  but aside from Michal the daughter of Saul was anybody else watching?
Seriously, was OT liturgical dancing a participatory or a spectator event?  IMO I think that everybody is supposed to get caught up in the event and dance. ( I'm of the opinion that David didn't plan to dance but was too excited not to.), much like the dancing that happens on a Hasidic Sabbath or Simchat Torah.  or The shaking that was done by the Shakers.

and if Liturgical dancing is participatory.. then when it is staged not spontaneous for everyone.   It will result in a sort of psychological release(emotional catharsis).  and then what is the difference between this and the dancing that happens at Obon in Japan when we dance to tell the spirits of the dead that life is good for us and so  they can go back and rest quietly for another year. or the dancing that happened at Beltane in pre-Christian Europe.  or the jumping up and down at a dance rave, or may I say at a  super well done praise band event.

So what is the slogan from the bad vestments blog?   "because Christian Worship is not supposed to about you"

Philistinely yours but probably too polite to walk out
james in japan who obviously needs a good editor

best to all
ps i do like ballet
pps  At St. Peters Manhatten was everyone else singing the processional hymn?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 07:53:03 AM
2 points for whoever predicted I would bring "social construction" into the conversation.

1st thing worth noting -He is wearing shorts and a t-shirt. 
2nd thing - stuff like this is appropriate for dance, figure skating, etc.

The length of appropriate shorts is dependent on the culture and community.  We can look at the length of basketball shorts and see how that's changed over the years.  Heck, my rugby shorts might be an inch longer. 

White is an appropriate color for Church services, but I can definitely see how outside communities can find it strange or associate it with other things.   Those outside the community are bringing their schema and associations of objects and ideas in with them as they view the photo or the dance itself. 

Same thing happens when people have issues with collars (of which I am very much in favor) or have issues with ties (I hate ties in general), or other such things.  I know a community that regularly wears shorts to church, and the pastor may dress down, but denim is still verboten in the chancel while a polo is not. 

If it's not for you, it's not for you - and that's okay.  If one believes that liturgical dancing or such a vestment for a dancer is not appropriate, that's okay too. 

Charles Austin makes a great point about Mary and Jesus.  That should be bolded, highlighted, and underscored. 
Would I have an issue with a live action reenactment?  Probably.  But, I understand that my issue would come from my socially constructed ideas of what is appropriate and what is not in given contexts.  And I have to add, I don't sexualize religious paintings or liturgical dance. 


Edit - A solo dancer, to me, is no different than a solo harp or singer in terms of worship setting.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 06, 2015, 07:59:39 AM
While that Christmas Eve processional dancer was bringing in the incense, the rest of us were singing. And there were organ interludes between the verses.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Terry W Culler on June 06, 2015, 08:47:19 AM
When my daughter (now 35) was still a babe in arms our pastor went to a conference and saw some liturgical dance.  He decided to do a sermon in same.  We were in the 3rd row.  When he began leaping about Beth started laughing and laughed through the entire display.  He never did it again.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 08:54:06 AM
When my daughter (now 35) was still a babe in arms our pastor went to a conference and saw some liturgical dance.  He decided to do a sermon in same.  We were in the 3rd row.  When he began leaping about Beth started laughing and laughed through the entire display.  He never did it again.

I always had trouble stifling a giggle when the organist goofed. 
I mean... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9gBGaB5bwI  this just hits my funny bone.

so does https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxnY2SWZTvk
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Steven W Bohler on June 06, 2015, 08:58:03 AM
When David danced half-naked before the Ark, do we know if that was God-pleasing?  I know the Bible says David chastised Michal for complaining and that it says she was barren after that, but does that necessarily mean the problem was her objection to the dancing?  Was it perhaps because of HOW she chastised him?  That is, just as Noah's son was punished by God for laughing at his father's drunken nakedness does that mean that God was pleased with Noah's drunken nakedness?  Wasn't the punishment because the son showed a lack of respect and honor for his father?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 09:05:59 AM
When David danced half-naked before the Ark, do we know if that was God-pleasing?  I know the Bible says David chastised Michal for complaining and that it says she was barren after that, but does that necessarily mean the problem was her objection to the dancing?  Was it perhaps because of HOW she chastised him?  That is, just as Noah's son was punished by God for laughing at his father's drunken nakedness does that mean that God was pleased with Noah's drunken nakedness?  Wasn't the punishment because the son showed a lack of respect and honor for his father?

FWIW, I don't think pointing to David dancing in the streets is the best example either way.

Psalm 149 seems to make a better case for the people praising God with Dance. Even in the assembly of saints. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Randy Bosch on June 06, 2015, 10:26:21 AM
Clearly, cultural sensitivities (secular and religious) play a part in determining "reasonable and proper" for a lot of activities and displays.
To properly prepare potential pastors for proper performance, perhaps the seminaries might have required courses in a.) Liturgical dance; and, to be diverse, b.) Chancel prancing.1 These best occur at the end of the seminarian's education, with a required pre-call addendum to acquaint each with what will perhaps be appropriately edgy at their new congregation.2  New Jersey and New York may differ just a tad from Wyoming or Guam.  Of course, your mileage may vary. 3
__________
1.  “Society seems intent on making a noteworthy contribution to entropy” Adorno
2.  “How often we mistake the nature of our own gifts!”  Anthony Daniels
3.  The First Law of Holes: If you’re in one, stop digging (attributed to Denis Healey).


Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 06, 2015, 10:31:49 AM
Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

That's cause they don't know how to cook grits in Ohio.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Randy Bosch on June 06, 2015, 10:42:28 AM
Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

That's cause they don't know how to cook grits in Ohio.

“Snobbery?  But it's only a form of despair.” Joseph Brodsky
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dave Likeness on June 06, 2015, 10:50:42 AM
King David wore a linen ephod as he danced before
the Lord with all his might.   Michal's mention of his
disrobing is a reference to David having worn only
a linen ephod rather than his royal robe.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Satis Est on June 06, 2015, 11:49:32 AM
Full disclosure:  I committed liturgical dance when I was younger. Let me tell you, it is not an easy thing to pull off and have it work well. For one thing, most space in a worship area (church, hotel ballroom, whatever) is NOT designed for dance and dancers. Often there are multiple levels to be navigated (very hazardous for dancers in motion), a lot of furniture (much of which cannot or should not be moved), and the congregation itself. The sightlines are often poor. And often (though not always) there is very little thought given by the worship planners as to how this dance will actually work physically in the space; just, "Oh, let's have some liturgical dance in the service; won't that look nice and be something different/beautiful/cutting edge/trendy/like what church xyz did last Christmas?"

And then there is what to wear. This is not a minor consideration. For a dancer in motion, the tighter and more skin-clinging the fabric is, the better, as it lessens the danger of being tripped by one's costume and having a nasty fall. However, the tighter the fabric the more form-revealing the costume is (or more revealing of other things as well). Not as much a problem on stage, with distance from the audience. Much more a problem in an intimate place such as many worship places. And what might be very modest when standing relatively still can become very revealing when in motion, especially with jumps, leaps, turn, and spins. (Ever watch square-dancers or groups that do clogging as performance? Notice what the women are wearing, underneath those fancy skirts that swirl out under those stiffened petticoats? There's a reason for that!)

So the dancer's shirt rode up when he was in mid-stride, leap, turn? Perfectly normal. And those pants he was wearing while dancing at Saint Peter's were, frankly, much more dangerous for him as a dancer, as they are much more likely to cause an accident while moving, because of the looser fabric. And such an accident could cost a dancer his career.

Now we all can reflect on why the church long banned dance in the church and in worship. The remnent is all those very sedate processions, with everyone well covered and moving slowly enough to not get hurt.  (Unless the thurifer gets a bit carried away, that is.)   ;D

P.S. And very often there is no opportunity for the dancer to rehearse in the actual performance space when the worship is at a special venue such as a synod assembly in a hotel ballroom. I saw the assembly photos on the MNYS Facebook page, and the photos of the platform on which the dancer would have been performing, at the opening worship service. I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that he had very little or no rehersal time before that opening service, which puts any dancer at a great disadvantage.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 12:19:38 PM
Okay

my cents worth;  I've been in  worship services a small single digit number of times where there has been liturgical dance or what this generation thinks is such.  Like many I don't care for it; no matter who does it or how they are clothed.  We must remember that synod assemblies are places for new things, avant-garde things.  Where there is a captive audience; much too good mannered to vote with their feet.

we all know(or should) that King David danced before the Lord,  but aside from Michal the daughter of Saul was anybody else watching?
Seriously, was OT liturgical dancing a participatory or a spectator event?  IMO I think that everybody is supposed to get caught up in the event and dance. ( I'm of the opinion that David didn't plan to dance but was too excited not to.), much like the dancing that happens on a Hasidic Sabbath or Simchat Torah.  or The shaking that was done by the Shakers.

and if Liturgical dancing is participatory.. then when it is staged not spontaneous for everyone.   It will result in a sort of psychological release(emotional catharsis).  and then what is the difference between this and the dancing that happens at Obon in Japan when we dance to tell the spirits of the dead that life is good for us and so  they can go back and rest quietly for another year. or the dancing that happened at Beltane in pre-Christian Europe.  or the jumping up and down at a dance rave, or may I say at a  super well done praise band event.

So what is the slogan from the bad vestments blog?   "because Christian Worship is not supposed to about you"

Philistinely yours but probably too polite to walk out
james in japan who obviously needs a good editor

best to all
ps i do like ballet
pps  At St. Peters Manhatten was everyone else singing the processional hymn?


In the video I posted of Lara dancing at. St. Peter's, there was an orchestra playing - not the whole congregation, there was a choir singing - not the whole congregation, and there was Lara dancing - not the whole congregation. I imagine that later a preacher would speak - and the congregation listened; prayers would be offered, including the Great Thanksgiving - and the congregation is silent. Sometimes the congregation's participation is to watch and listen - to admire the beauty of gifts that are being offered by talented individuals.


I agree with you about worship being participatory. In the last three congregations I've served, we have not had a choir. Nearly all the singing had to be done by the congregation. As co-chair of a synod worship committee, we often discussed how the worship services would be a worship service for those who had assembled rather than a workshop on worship (somebody "in the know" telling and showing the rest of us how it should be done). Often the line was not too clear as we tried to model good worship practices.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 12:28:48 PM
When David danced half-naked before the Ark, do we know if that was God-pleasing?  I know the Bible says David chastised Michal for complaining and that it says she was barren after that, but does that necessarily mean the problem was her objection to the dancing?  Was it perhaps because of HOW she chastised him?  That is, just as Noah's son was punished by God for laughing at his father's drunken nakedness does that mean that God was pleased with Noah's drunken nakedness?  Wasn't the punishment because the son showed a lack of respect and honor for his father?

FWIW, I don't think pointing to David dancing in the streets is the best example either way.

Psalm 149 seems to make a better case for the people praising God with Dance. Even in the assembly of saints.


How many of us sang "Turn, Turn, Turn" and its words from Ecclesiastes 3: "a time to mourn and a time to dance"? And/or, "Lord of the Dance"?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 12:31:37 PM
Clearly, cultural sensitivities (secular and religious) play a part in determining "reasonable and proper" for a lot of activities and displays.
To properly prepare potential pastors for proper performance, perhaps the seminaries might have required courses in a.) Liturgical dance; and, to be diverse, b.) Chancel prancing.1  These best occur at the end of the seminarian's education, with a required pre-call addendum to acquaint each with what will perhaps be appropriately edgy at their new congregation.2  New Jersey and New York may differ just a tad from Wyoming or Guam.  Of course, your mileage may vary. 3
__________
1.  “Society seems intent on making a noteworthy contribution to entropy” Adorno
2.  “How often we mistake the nature of our own gifts!”  Anthony Daniels
3.  The First Law of Holes: If you’re in one, stop digging (attributed to Denis Healey).




I happened to visiting Wartburg Seminary when a friend, a student, was to preach in the daily chapel service. Her adviser insisted that she had to preach from the pulpit. Too many of the students did the "chancel prancing," and he didn't like it. He didn't care what she did when she was in her own congregation, but at that chapel service, she would preaching the designated place for the Word.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 12:40:28 PM
King David wore a linen ephod as he danced before
the Lord with all his might.   Michal's mention of his
disrobing is a reference to David having worn only
a linen ephod rather than his royal robe.


But if you keep reading, 2 Samuel 6:20 has Michal criticizing David for '"exposing himself in plain view of the female servants of his subjects like any indecent person would" (CEB).
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 06, 2015, 12:40:40 PM
Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

That's cause they don't know how to cook grits in Ohio.

“Snobbery?  But it's only a form of despair.” Joseph Brodsky

Grits are the most humble thing in the world.  On the other hand, the folks I know from Ohio are among the most humble people I know.  Although I'd say that sauer kraut is the Ohio version of grits, rather than french fries, at least among my family members.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 06, 2015, 12:44:21 PM

And then there is what to wear. This is not a minor consideration. For a dancer in motion, the tighter and more skin-clinging the fabric is, the better, as it lessens the danger of being tripped by one's costume and having a nasty fall.


Like wearing a long alb and trying to climb the stairs into the pulpit. I don't know about other men, but I'm not used to lifting up clothing to climb stairs. More than once I've stepped on the vestment and nearly tumbled. Maybe that's why I have so much padding around my body. :)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: James_Gale on June 06, 2015, 01:29:25 PM
Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

That's cause they don't know how to cook grits in Ohio.

“Snobbery?  But it's only a form of despair.” Joseph Brodsky

Grits are the most humble thing in the world.  On the other hand, the folks I know from Ohio are among the most humble people I know.  Although I'd say that sauer kraut is the Ohio version of grits, rather than french fries, at least among my family members.
I'll grant you this. Ohio folk have much about which to be humble!
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: BrotherBoris on June 06, 2015, 01:41:37 PM
Same is probably true in Ohio where the upper crust ask the eternal question, "Do you want fries with that?"

That's cause they don't know how to cook grits in Ohio.

“Snobbery?  But it's only a form of despair.” Joseph Brodsky

Grits are the most humble thing in the world.  On the other hand, the folks I know from Ohio are among the most humble people I know.  Although I'd say that sauer kraut is the Ohio version of grits, rather than french fries, at least among my family members.

That has been my experience as well and one of the things I really like about Ohio.  All the Ohio people I have known have been humble and down-to-earth folks. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 06, 2015, 01:58:59 PM
I'm glad to see SOMEONE caught on to the fact that I was being facetious!   ;)


Zoe the Orthodox Belly Dancer from Damascus? Perhaps a new form of outreach for the Antiochian Archdiocese.   8)

My Bishop has said, on several occasions, that he has needed to admonish parishes against such lasciviousness at their Middle Eastern Food Festivals.   When he asks the question:  "Would you have your wife, your daughter, be the dancer?" that ends the discussion.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Richard Johnson on June 06, 2015, 02:33:29 PM
While that Christmas Eve processional dancer was bringing in the incense, the rest of us were singing. And there were organ interludes between the verses.

I think that service was televised. It was one of the few instances I've seen of liturgical dance done well.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 06, 2015, 03:54:18 PM
Yes. And the tv people, I learned later, were wary about getting the shot too close to the backlit dancer.
BTW my children, then elementary school age, were with us. But they had seen ballet before.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 06, 2015, 03:56:57 PM
Pr. Wolf makes a number of very good points.  It seems reasonable that a single photo may not have been enough to judge the liturgical dance in that instance.

The points against that particular instance do point out a number of ways that liturgical dance could go wrong (although there was not enough evidence to indict this one) and provide points to be kept in mind by dancers and worship planners when arranging liturgical dance.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Jim_Krauser on June 06, 2015, 07:23:53 PM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?
 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 07:25:08 PM
Pr. Wolf makes a number of very good points.  It seems reasonable that a single photo may not have been enough to judge the liturgical dance in that instance.

The points against that particular instance do point out a number of ways that liturgical dance could go wrong (although there was not enough evidence to indict this one) and provide points to be kept in mind by dancers and worship planners when arranging liturgical dance.

I could not agree with you more.  Unless the outfit they went with was specific to any of the narrative of the dance, I probably would have suggested a white body suit underneath what he went with. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 06, 2015, 07:27:56 PM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?

Was there a worship service at the Olympics that I missed?

FWIW, I would also say that the female gymnastics outfit isn't appropriate for a worship service.

Do you agree?
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 07:29:07 PM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?

Agreed as well.

Oddly enough I actually am of the opinion that the olympics should be cut down to about 10 basic events (A couple races, long jump, freestyle swimming, lifting, and decathlon) and should be done nude like they did in ancient times.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 07:29:50 PM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?

Was there a worship service at the Olympics that I missed?

FWIW, I would also say that the female gymnastics outfit isn't appropriate for a worship service.

Do you agree?

A dancers outfit for a dance?  Depends on the dance.  Ballet? Sure. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 06, 2015, 07:37:51 PM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?

If he was dressed like a male gymnast, he was wearing quite a bit more than the average female track athlete.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: scott8 on June 06, 2015, 07:38:38 PM
Ooh.  Perhaps the beach volleyball outfit for women (https://cbsmancave.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/beachvolleyball15.jpg?w=963) would be fine for the divine service.  After all, it is in the Olympics...

[[Though interestingly, the men, who have the exact same need for freedom of movement, wear something different (http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120730&t=2&i=636105451&w=644&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE86T14BM00).  Could it be that freedom of movement is not a major factor here?  Hmmm....]]
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Terry W Culler on June 06, 2015, 08:13:06 PM
I was doing some door to door evangelism this morning and met a young man who owns a tattoo parlor and likes to display his art on himself.  He attends a AOG congregation at a local theater and said he likes that he can dress as he wants for church.  I acknowledged that I've become much looser about what is appropriate attire for a worship.  But even I have limits (I've people remove their baseball caps (worn backwards of course) and I've had people turn their t-shirts inside out because of the message).  God calls us where we are and who we are, but we in turn owe some level of respect in how we dress as we come before Him in worship. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: SomeoneWrites on June 06, 2015, 08:13:21 PM
Freedom of movement is a factor.  But how much of a factor depends on the space, community, etc. 

I wouldn't suggest a men's swimming outfit for that particular dance for a variety of reasons.  And at the same time I recognize that I see Jesus' skivvies and nipples more than I've seen anyone else's. 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 06, 2015, 09:45:47 PM
Ooh.  Perhaps the beach volleyball outfit for women (https://cbsmancave.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/beachvolleyball15.jpg?w=963) would be fine for the divine service.  After all, it is in the Olympics...

[[Though interestingly, the men, who have the exact same need for freedom of movement, wear something different (http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20120730&t=2&i=636105451&w=644&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBRE86T14BM00).  Could it be that freedom of movement is not a major factor here?  Hmmm....]]

It is odd.  I've asked my sister-in-law, who was a collegiate runner and still runs, why women don't wear pants in Track and Field.  After all, if not wearing pants was such an advantage, the men wouldn't wear pants either.  She claims it does allow for more range of motion.  On the other hand, in swimming it is the men who wear the least amount of clothing.  So who knows? ;)

Let's just hope that it doesn't become fashionable for preachers not to wear pants.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Satis Est on June 06, 2015, 10:08:41 PM

Let's just hope that it doesn't become fashionable for preachers not to wear pants.

You just might want to rethink that last comment.    :o
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: DCharlton on June 06, 2015, 10:12:28 PM

Let's just hope that it doesn't become fashionable for preachers not to wear pants.

You just might want to rethink that last comment.    :o

Oy!  Please add, "or skirts."  :-[  Or, in honor of my friend Ken Blyth, we should also add, "or kilts."
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Matt Hummel on June 06, 2015, 10:39:24 PM

Let's just hope that it doesn't become fashionable for preachers not to wear pants.

You just might want to rethink that last comment.    :o

Pr. Wolf- are you accusing David of a microagression?  ;)
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on June 06, 2015, 10:40:43 PM
Let's just hope that it doesn't become fashionable for preachers not to wear pants.

I know of a UMC pastor who used to wear only his swimming trunks beneath his Geneva gown in the summertime.

He would sometimes mention scoping out all the "attractions" ot Times Square allegedly looking for "sermon illustrations".

Years later he was arrested for soliciting prostitution.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Charles Austin on June 06, 2015, 10:46:31 PM
 Thanks Scott, we needed that.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on June 07, 2015, 03:03:26 AM
For all those who got the vapors over what the dancer wore at the MNYS assembly, it was pretty much what you would see any young man wearing while doing a gymnastics floor exercise, though no flips or tumbles were involved.  Anyone scandalized during the Olympics?

Was there a worship service at the Olympics that I missed?

FWIW, I would also say that the female gymnastics outfit isn't appropriate for a worship service.

Do you agree?


It would be appropriate if she was doing some gymnastics as part of the worship service. I doubt that the dancer sat in the pew in the dance outfit for the rest of the worship service.
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: mariemeyer on June 07, 2015, 11:49:41 AM
I  have experienced liturgical dance three times; each time the dance was done by a woman of the congregation with some professional training (two different churches, three different women).  The women wore "modest" attire that allowed them to move reverently and smoothly while expressing a biblical message. IOW, attention was not drawn to the dancer, but the message being conveyed.

Although we do not know the context of the liturgical dance in question, the photos I viewed suggest to me that the dancer' s attire was simply not in good taste. Explanations that suggest otherwise have not persuaded me otherwise. 

Marie Meyer

 
Title: Re: "Liturgical Dance? Really?"
Post by: Dan Fienen on June 07, 2015, 02:08:58 PM
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps also is proper attire for liturgical dance.  To apply the Justice Potter Stewart for pornography, "I know it when I see it," people know improper attire when they see it.

This naturally makes it difficult when planning such events since the test for what is proper is subjective.  One needs to have a good sense of the intended assembly, and still some may be offended.  In Bible class this morning we began to work our way through Romans 14 and the giving and taking of offense.  Keeping that in mind, as planners need to keep in mind the sensibilities of those assembled, those assembled need to keep in mind the needs of those who do the dance (for reference review what Pr. Wolf posted), and not be too quick to judge.