Reaching Hearts with the Power of the Arts

The Arts Conservatory at Camp NEOSA (Salvation Army) is a fundamental time in super-charging leaders and students alike.  The group annually hosts a Star Search Competition allowing all the students in regional arts ministries to be adjudicated.  The Arts Conservatory is a week for students and group leaders to come to the beautiful camp center set beside Leesville Lake close to Atwood Lake.  Over the past decade it has been a pleasure to join the camp and give instruction on sacred dance.

Dance has a way of blessing God’s heart and showing it to the world.  There are moments when everything that the Lord wants to say about a moment come down to beauty.  This week was no different.  It was beautiful to train the dancers this week.  It was beautiful also to see God’s kids praising Him with trimbrel, horns, songs, and dramas.




Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.

Expressions out of a Bleak Place

“Out of this forgotten, bleak place, an incredible tradition was born,” Marvette Perez said.

I’ve always felt a draw to Hip-Hop dance.  It was obvious to me as a youth that there were roots in this form of expression.  I can remember connecting the dots of tap dancing when I learned that the historical roots were to African Slaves who’s drums were taken away.  Hip-Hop is an expression of freedom.  It is not good or bad – it is free.

When you notice loud expressions and strong movements allow yourself to contemplate: Are there movements that you need to do?  When you choose to express yourself in a dark and bleak place there will be energy connecting you to your root system.  Does the energy inspire you or does the energy hold you back.  Which do you need?  To be held back and practice stability or break free and try something new.

“Hip-hop is the most important contribution to the American cultural landscape since blues and jazz,” said hip-hop artist and promoter, filmmaker and producer Fab 5 Freddy, born Fred Brathwaite. “It is dominant in every youth culture in every country.” According to statistics gathered in 2009 by Russell Simmons and Accel Partners, today’s global hip-hop community comprises 24 million people between the ages of 19 and 34, including a range of nationalities, ethnic groups and religions.

If you desire to experience the freedom of dancing – it might be time to take a class or enjoy a lesson online.  Your roots may not go as deep as a Native American’s moving in prayer for rain or an African American’s hunt for an animal.  Perhaps your obstinate Irish will emerge and you will find yourself dancing in protest. Let it emerge.  These dances of personal expression bring healing.  Enjoy some hip-hop culture today.

Read More:

Carollee Walker wrote for the American Embassy: IIPDigital

An Angle


  1. ANGLE: An angle is formed by two rays that share the same vertex.
  2. A curve is used to show an angle.
  3. A Right Angle: is an angle that forms a square corner.

The performers’ left leg (the downstage leg) is making a right angle. DanceProject_10573792

Assignment: Please circle the right angles made by dancers in the photograph. You may turn your paper and measure with your protractor!

Decision Making Dances

There are several dancing techniques that use breathing to help the dancer move.  An exercise I enjoy doing with a mover is the Decision Maker Dance.  Here are the rules.

  1. When you breath into your lungs make a dance movement that goes up.
  2. When you breath out of your lungs make a dance movement that goes down.

I learned this idea by studying José Limón technique and Jennifer Muller technique.  You can click on their names to learn more about them.

Once you’ve practiced moving and breathing within the rules of the exercise; you’re ready for the next step.

Dance up and Dance down


  1. Consider your choices.  How many are there? (You can have up to 7 choices for this exercise, but I recommend narrowing choices to two.)
  2. Assign one choice to movements that go up.
  3. Assign one choice to movements that go down.
  4. If you do need additional choices you can use what is called the Movement Scale.  (Up, Down, Right, Left, Front, Back , and Diagonal)
  5. Allow yourself to make shapes in the space around you as you think or talk through your choices.
  6. Practice committing the movements to memory and select a song.
  7. Listen to the signals your body is giving you.
    • Are you smiling with one choice?
    • Are you coming back to one choice more often?
    • Are you avoiding a direction?

Working through choices can be a challenge.  This exercise will infuse some energy to the process.  Enjoy.