If you’re a regular reader, you know that I often ask the people I interview about how their faith affects or impacts or influences their art. I have received some fascinating responses so I’ve decided to collect the answers by art form and post them occasionally. Today we'll hear from two of the dancers.
Steve Rooks, Resident Choreographer and Associate Professor of Dance at Vassar College: Particularly now as a teacher, I feel it is a God-given honor to dance and to serve others (as a mentor/teacher) through dance. I don’t think that I could love the art if the Lord had not given me that love. It is pretty impossible for any dancer not to feel that there is a “heavenly endowment” that he/she has been given to experience the world of dance, and I believe that as one passionately seeks to know the giver of all good gifts, it will ultimately lead that person to the feet of Christ.
Marlene Dickinson, dancer and choreographer: Sadly, I spent the first twenty years of my life completely oblivious to the fact that faith and dance had any relationship whatsoever. Church was Sunday and Wednesday, dance was Tuesday and Saturday, and never the two would meet. Fortunately, dance was not forbidden in my faith culture, as it was for many Christians in generations past. But for me, dance and faith were not adversaries, they were complete strangers.
Sometime around 1982 I began to discover what has been known since the dawn of time: Movement has the power to move us. It is for this reason I name my pick- up performance companies “Moving People.” Dance is our universal, primal language. It transcends all barriers of time, culture, and communication.
Now, we know that all powers can be used for good or evil. I choose good. As dancers, we literally offer our bodies as living sacrifices and our work as fragrant offerings to God. It is His work to transform. So, I see dancers as translators of truth and dances as spaces for God to move—not that He needs us to do so. I am thankful for a host of studios and professionals across the country that are now connecting the dots for young dancers, teaching and mentoring them in these principles.