Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jane: Pentecost and Dance

On Pentecost, my ballet class--one other student, the teacher, and I--performed a liturgical dance at a local church. We got this gig because the other student, Lisa, is also a pastor, and she was filling in at that pulpit.

She knew that one of the women at the church is a textile artist, and dyes silk. This artist gave us a huge piece of silk to use in our dance. It was the color of flames!

Both Lisa and Suki, the other dancers, have been dancing for a long time, and they're really good. They've also done a lot of liturgical dance, so when Lisa proposed this gig, I was glad to be part of it. I've done liturgical dance before, and it's especially rewarding when the dancers and the choreographer are REAL dancers, not just members of the congregation who think they'd like to dance. I know that seems snobby, but there it is.

We danced to Enya's Book of Days from the album Shepherd Moons. You can hear an exerpt here. The dance was all about the silk! It just moved so beautifully--it was the best dancer of all of us.
I'd love to post the video of the dance, but I don't have one to post. The silk artist's husband is a videographer, and he made a beautiful DVD for each of us. He used 2 cameras, fade ins and outs, and separate video and audio tracks . . . it's great to watch, but I can't post it on YouTube--it's too fancy. You'll just have to imagine it. These images are simple screen grabs from the video.

I was looking forward to dancing with my friends, but I also was very glad to be able to hear Lisa preach. She gave a lovely and moving sermon about the way Pentecost emphasizes the importance of language (one reason I always love this holiday!).

The story of Pentecost tells about how the wind of the holy spirit and tongues of flame caused the apostles (who still hadn't started reaching out to the world with the good news) to speak in all kinds of languages. Lisa reminded us that the people hearing the apostles in Acts 2--immigrants to Jerusalem--must have been yearning to hear "the language their mothers spoke to them." We should remember that God reaches out to us--and to everyone--with love and in our own language. "I was thinking about you and Bruce when I wrote that," Lisa told me later.

The next day, I mentioned to the lady at the post office that I was sending the package to my nephew who was born on Pentecost. "What is Pentecost?" she asked. I told her it was a Christian holiday 50 days after Easter. "Well then being born on that day is a kind of blessing," she said. "We all need a blessing." I guess I danced a blessing that day for little Samuel!

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