THEOLOGY OF DANCE
Music is the delightful meeting of two opposites, order and spontaneity. It is both mathematical and artistic; it simultaneously engages the intellect and moves the emotions. A composer does not just throw notes together and hope for the right result; rather he chooses specific notes and chord progressions that he knows will convey certain ideas and move us emotionally in certain way. He then adds the specific details that he wants to make the song unique, to convey his specific message. If he wants joyful music he’ll use major chords, while minor chords add an eerie feeling to the piece. Music has many different elements- it has a meter or beat, plus chord progressions as well as lyrics, melodies, harmonies and dynamics (changes in the speed or volume of the music).
The Three Levels of Musicality
The couple is musical by being in harmony with the music. We can see how dancing is musical by looking at how it matches the music in three “layers.” These layers move from order to spontaneity.
The next layer is the genre, such as waltz or salsa. Salsa music is staccato and defined, in 4/4 time, while waltz is smooth and flowing, in 3/3 time. The patterns and stylings of the dance match up with the music. Not only does the style tell the dancers how they are supposed to look, but it also tells them many of the finer points on how they communicate in the dance. The feel of a smooth frame is very different from that of a swing frame or an Argentine Tango frame.
Things all music has in common-
i.e. tone and beat interval
The genre-all waltz is 3 beats and
is smooth and flowing, all Salsa is 4 beats and staccato
The individual song- a unique combination of melodies, harmonies, lyrics and dynamics
The Levels of Music
In the most basic layer the dancers must step on the beat, so he or she may be reliable for his or her partner. No one likes to dance with someone who is off beat!
The final layer is the dancers need to inform their dance with the unique elements of the song. The dancers do more than follow a steady beat that matches the music. They use movements and stylings that interpret the lyrics and the melody of the song. When the music gets loud the dancers expand their frame to make it bigger. When it quiets they contract their frame. When the music speeds up they speed up and when the music slows they slow down, and when it stops they stop. If they are really good they add little minor stylings that fit with little parts of the songs, such a spontaneous snap or ping
The Three Levels of Spirituality
At TOD we spend a lot of time understanding the Holy Spirit through the analogy of the music of the dance. The Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus Christ. In the same way a song awakens the follower’s heart to dance the Holy Spirit awakens in us the desire for Christ and prepares us to encounter and to receive Christ in the same way that the music prepares the follower to encounter the leader of the dance. Just like music our spirituality has three layers.
We are called to be one, just as the Father and the Son are one, and so at it’s most basic level our spirituality is meant to unite us and bring us all together into one family, the Church.
At the next level is our vocation. Just as the genre tells the dancers how they will express themselves, so too our vocation tells us how we will speak and act and dress.
Each of us is a unique, unrepeated creation of our loving God. At the most spontaneous level the Holy Spirit provides the unique music for our unique dance with Christ.
What we all have in common- one family, one Church, one Body in Christ
Our Vocation- where we find most of the "how" in our dance with Christ
Our unique, individual realtionship with Christ
The Levels of Spirituality
We provide dance music to further the mission of Theology of Dance; that means we only DJ our own events or events that we are hired to teach at. If you bring us in to teach your youth group before a dance we'll gladly provide music to a dance afterward.
Music is the third part of the dance; that means it provides the spirit of the dance. We always try to play music that is well made, has a good message and is fun to dance to. We are currently putting together playlists which we will post to this page and which we will be continuously updating. We will also be publishing a rating system.
Please feel free to comment on our playlists or add suggestions. We appreciate the help- it's a lot of work!
Picking a DJ for Your Event
The "Wedding DJ" If you are looking for a DJ please note that all DJ's are not of the same kind. At weddings typically most of the people don't know how to dance and many, if not most of the attendees may be a bit scared to get on the dance floor. The DJ's primary concern to to get those people out on the floor. The important thing is picking songs people feel strong about, have an obvious and simple beat, and have good energy. This means the playlist tends to a narrow variety of music that is very heavy on the beat and often has been mixed to simplify it. Trained dancers often find this music boring to dance to
"Dance DJ"s: Some DJ's mainly do dance events for regular dancers. Dancers need no motivation to get out on the floor.
In some communities, such as the West Coast Swing Community, they look for new songs to dance to. In the East Coast Community they tend to stick to old standards, though they may add new covers from time to time. In the ballroom community they will look for songs that fit the various dances such as waltz, rumba and swing.
Regardless of the community, the songs will be much more varied in tempo and enegry, the beats will change more in the songs, and be harder to find.
Some can do both. If you are doing an event in which you want to encourage dancing make sure your DJ can take care of your music needs!