This month of ELUL, with its focus on Action and Restoration, may we be SET FREE TO DANCE!
Children instinctively love to dance; unselfconsciously – freely, openly. Our bodies are created to move and flow, to respond to rhythm. By the time most of us reach adulthood, unless we are professional dancers, we usually have stopped dancing altogether. We likely aren’t even aware of the loss. We may, however, be reminded of it when our feet start tapping to lively tune. Or, maybe, something stirs deep within our souls when we hear a particularly beautiful piece of music. A stirring that invites our bodies to move, to celebrate the life we enjoy, to worship our Creator – to dance with joyous abandons as King David did when he restored the precious Ark of God’s Presence to its rightful place in Jerusalem.
Most cultures have a history of dance as a means of expression and celebration of life. To this day, echoing back to the joyous dance of redemption on the shore of the Reed Sea, Israel values and encourages participation in the nation’s folk dancing. If not doing so already, we need to rediscover the healing, happy enjoyment of listening and actively responding to music – even the singing of our own song. We need to set ourselves free to dance!
Dancer and choreographer, Anna Halprin, often invites people with no dance experience to participate in her dances, which have no audience but are intended to transform the dancers themselves. In this regard, she says:
“I used to be discouraged that people in the dance world would just slough this work off as therapy and say that I wasn’t doing Art. But I could see how important this work was and how limiting it is to say that there is only one way to dance!”
If it is not possible, whatever the reason, for you to participate in a public setting – such as dance classes or groups, do it at home. If you have a willing partner all the better. If not, simply choose some music you love, feel it in your soul, and allow your body to respond and move. Don’t be concerned about what you look like. Don’t limit yourself. Your body will remember the joy it has in moving and flowing to rhythm and melody. And, while you do, give grateful praise to the One who has blessed us with these wonderful gifts!
~ Keren Hannah
- * Photo credit: Aleksandra Brzeska
- ** Shutter-stock
We feature two videos this month with Jerusalem based couple MICHA’EL BEN DAVID and his wife ASHLEIGH (who is the daughter of our dear ‘Being Holy, Being Whole’ friend Kathryn Cox) on flute, in the second video. They present a beautiful rendition of the traditional Shabbat song ADON OLAM – Master of the Universe, accompanied by a lovely young ballet dancer. Enjoy and worship.
In the first video, Micha’el, with friends in his home island of Haiti, joyfully Sings to the Lord a New Song!