Though I grew up as a Christian and a dancer, my first experience with consciously worshiping through dance happened in college after I had joined a dance ministry team.
My first performance with the group was a Christmas event with a local ministry in the Chicago suburbs. Rather than dancing to a recorded track, we performed with a gospel choir and a full orchestra. For as many times as I had been on stage, I had never shared it with more than one or two musicians. Live music of this scale promised to make for an impressive production.
And it was, but not for the reasons I was expecting. Being my first event with the team, I went onto the stage focused, with a performance mindset, and as the orchestra began and the choir chimed in, I felt the worshipful atmosphere envelope me.
I say and, not but, because what I realized here was that the two actions weren't opposed. The best way for me to participate in this overwhelmingly worshipful experience was to perform. I kept in step, counting out eights in my head, and at the same time, I felt profoundly connected to the worship that was happening around me. The intentions of the dancers, the musicians, the singers, and the worshipers in the audience were all set in line, going directly up to God. I praised God from a different angle that day, and I realized God was doing a new thing in my heart.1