This last weekend I had a great time running a dance for a home school group. They brought me in to teach the previous three weeks, then for the fourth week I brought in lighting and a sound system and DJ'd the event. Whenever we DJ an event, a requirement is that we have taught lessons beforehand. This means the dancers have a sufficient knowledge of not only dance patterns and technique, but also of dance culture and etiquette.
We pay a great deal of attention to lighting and music. The space was dark enough for a sense of intimacy, but light enough to recognize a person from across the room. The light was not distracting but calming, like the light playing off waves and starlight. The music was loud enough to hear, but quiet enough to have a normal conversation on the dance floor. The songs were not merely not bad, but good; they all extolled good relationship.
All through the night boys and girls danced with each other in a chaste way. Were they great? No. But it certainly looked like a dance. And they followed the program with great joy.I taught the kids mainly swing, but I also taught some patterns and techniques for slow dance as well. The last dance was to A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, and as I watched the kids dance, some with other teens, others with a parent, I got all teary eyed. It was so beautiful to watch them on the floor, dancing in a very beautiful and chaste way.
Both the teens as well as the parents enjoyed it greatly, and were extremely impressed with the experience. They were so impressed that they will be bringing me back to teach more lessons to the teens, as well as for a couples date night for the parents.
As happy as I was to see the kids dancing well, I'm also sad, because from time to time I see notices for dances at churches. And when I look more into them, I can see how they are not really dances. The men and women and scared to go on the dance floor. People have trouble having conversations because the music is too loud. Songs are often inappropriate. The lighting is distracting. It is nothing like a dance, or like a church. It is not splendid. It is not something that a church should be doing.
If you you want to have a dance, the best option here in the Chicago area is to bring in Theology of Dance for pre-dance lessons and the dance itself. If that's not possible, then at least get a dance teacher with a Christian outlook. (We can always provide theology material.)
The issue with most DJ's is they are very good at getting people who are scared to go out on the dance floor on the dance floor. The overly loud music, the distracting lights, the overly dark room, all of these are meant to hide the person so they feel more confident on the dance floor. But all we needed was three lessons to gain far more confidence than a DJ could give. And we are the greatest works of our God- made male and female in his image and likeness. If we learn to order our body the way then we will be beautiful. And that's what brought tears to my eyes that night.Even in a highly imperfect form it was still so beautiful to watch.
I can't help but contrast it with so many dances I see or hear about in other situations.