Friday, September 27, 2019

Our Flag and Streamer Dance Team: our requirements for being able to perform with us and the products we recommend/require


This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

As mentioned in our Davidic DAnce FAQs post, the Flags and Streamers are an advanced form of dance, which means we need very dedicated dancers to join us. So we have created a list of requirements you will have to abide by in order to join the team:

1). You MUST first be dedicated to the Davidic Dance practices for at least 1 and 1/2 months, showing up to all the practices which would include our Thursday AND Worship Service Practices. Why the Davidic Dance? TWO reasons: 1) many of the steps we do are in the flag routines and therefor you must know them thoroughly to be ready to do the flags, and 2) it will prove to us you are dedicated enough to be a part of the flag team. Once you have shown us you are dedicated enough, then we will be able to move you to the next requirement...

2). You MUST practice with our flagging team for at least another month and a half before you will be permitted to join us during the worship service or dance offerings. Just as it was required of you to be a part of all the practices (both worship and Thursday practices) you also will be required to come to all of the practices unless you are sick. If you are planning a vacation that falls in the middle of your month and a half training then we will have to reschedule your training to start after your vacation. This gives you a total of 3 months of dedication before we can determine whether or not you can join our Flags and Streamers team.

These rules are meant to keep it fair not only to the ones who are dedicated, but also to the ones putting in a great deal of effort to train you.

*Disclaimer: there are always exceptions to the rules so be sure to be in communication with your leadership regarding any situation that may arise when you will not be able to practice with us. The more you communicate with us and show an effort of consistency the more flexible we will be with these rules.

THE FLAGS AND STREAMERS WE REQUIRE FOR OUR TEAM

You do not have to have streamers to join our team, but you are required to order your own set of flags to have for practices BEFORE you begin your month and a half long training season. We currently are recommending you buy them from Glorious Creations and they must be the ones that are gold and on spin tube rods. Here is a tutorial I created that shows you exactly what to order (if you wish to join our team you are required to buy the exact ones I show you in this tutorial):


When it comes to the streamers, you do not necessarily have to have a pair of streamers to dance with us since many of the dances are exactly the same with both flags and streamers, the technique is just slightly different. If however you do want to use streamers and therefore perform with us then you will be required to buy the 8" X 9" size and then you can choose any one of the colors that Glorious Creations offer. Click here to buy your streamers (not one of my affiliate links).

And that concludes our series on our Davidic Dance Team. To view the entire series go here.

Our Dance Offering Apparel


This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

As mentioned in one of my other posts, the Dance Offerings are much more special than our regular Worship Services. This means that there is an actual uniform we require our dancers to wear in order to perform the Offerings with us. Currently there are a few things we are allowing flexibility on so long as colors and styles are similar, but other things we are requiring in the uniform that everyone wear. We are slowly working towards all ladies wearing the exact same outfits and all the men wearing the same outfits also. However it is good to make it a slow transition so we don't overwhelm anyone to have to buy a lot all at once. So here is what we currently require:

FOR THE LADIES

Shoes:

Currently it is only required that your shoes be tan in color and can be slightly elevated either with a wedge or heal, but they CANNOT be high heals (is there anyone out there who actually wants to dance in high heals?). Eventually, however, it will be a requirement that for the Dance Offerings everyone wear the same shoes which will be the ones you see bellow:

Linodes (Tent) Leather Upper Jazz Shoe Slip-on for Women and Men


Skirts and Tops:

As of right now we do not have an exact skirt and top we require our dancers to wear, but hope to have one in the future. For now the only requirement we have is that the ladies on our team wear white tops and long, flowy skirts that reach to the ankles and also are white. A little off white is ok but only slightly. Anything too dark will not be accepted for the Offerings.

Tunics:

Right now we are requiring everyone to buy their own tunic in whichever color available as pictured below:


We have chosen a mix of colors in order to reflect the tabernacle colors.

FOR THE MEN

Sadly the men don't join us very often for the Dance Offerings (in God's timing they will join us all the time). But when they do we require them to wear black slacks, a white long-sleeved button up, and a blue tie.

Take a look at the last post in this series regarding the flags and streamers and how to join our team.

The Importance Of Dance Offerings On the High Holy Days and Why We Are Strict About Them


This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

Just so ya know, we honestly aren't really that "strict" when it comes to the dance. However, for years we didn't have a uniform, you could practice any dance just once or not at all and still be part of the dance offerings, and there was no real organization. Not that any of those things are bad, but YHVH recently told me He wanted us to get more organized and to put some rules into place regarding the dance. At first I didn't really understand why when it seemed like things were working out just fine, but as we have grown I cannot even begin to explain to you how grateful I am that He told me to do this. Not only does it make my job so much easier as a leader, but it also makes the ladies on the team feel much more at ease and informed, which makes them feel a part of something bigger.

That being said, I feel the need to explain these newer and stricter rules we have in place now. First things first is that these rules do not apply to any of our worship services. ONLY to the Dance Offerings. 

SO WHAT IS A DANCE OFFERING?

If you are new to the Messianic way, you have probably never heard of a "dance offering." Definitely it is much more important than the dances we do for our regular worship services. Instead of just being a dance for regular worship, these are special dances saved for God's special High Holy Days and Historical Holidays. Symbolically it is a way to come into the Throne Room of Elohim and offer  ourselves up through dance and music. 

With these things in mind, if you knew you were about to do a dance in the presence of your king (or even in the presence of the president), more than likely you would make sure you looked excellent and that you did everything as perfect as you possibly could. I do not think our Maker expects us to be perfect when coming into His presence, but He most definitely expects us to give Him the best that we can.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DANCE OFFERING AND OUR WORSHIP SERVICES?

Our Worship Services are open to ANYONE who want to join us in the dance. You do not have to have any prior experience, nor do you have to practice with us before being able to join us in the worship. However we do ask that you practice with us prior to our services as much as possible in order to be prepared for the dances.

It is only required for the Dance Offerings to practice with the team in the 4 weeks prior to actually doing the offerings. It is also only required for the Dance Offerings to be wearing the outfits we have chosen for the Dance Offerings, which could be subject to change depending on the dance and what High Holy Day we will be doing the offering on. We keep our dance team updated of the little nuances that go into the Offerings as these things come up.

In order to create a more cohesive look and do our best to have the dance offerings memorized before actually performing them, we have done several things:

1). We Started requiring our dancers to have a specific type of outfit as a uniform only for the dance offerings (not when we have our worship services which is a separate thing).
2). We started meeting on a different day of the week instead of just on Shabbats to have more time so we could thoroughly go over the dance offerings.
3). We Created a dance step video series for our team to be able to practice at home so they will already know the steps before practicing with us.
4). We started requiring our team to practice with us for the 4 weeks leading up to our next dance offering.

*Disclaimer: there are always exceptions to the rules so be sure to be in communication with your leadership regarding any situation that may arise when you will not be able to practice with us. The more you communicate with us and show an effort of consistency the more flexible we will be with these rules.

I'll explain in the next post what our current Dance Offering Apparel is.

The Products We Recommend and/or REQUIRE For Our Worship Services and Dance Practices


This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

Recently our team has gone through a great deal of changes (all good btw). We have been working hard to get everyone organized, on the same page, and looking more cohesive during the High Holy Days. So I have come up with a list of items to recommend to our team so that they can buy their sizes and blend in with us if they do not already have what we wear. While this post focuses on what we recommend for the worship services (which are different in nature to the Dance Offerings) and ARE NOT A REQUIREMENT TO PURCHASE, I will have another post available showing what outfits we require for the Dance Offerings.

WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR THE WORSHIP SERVICES?

First thing's first: the ONLY requirement we have for our worship services is that the ladies wear a skirt below the knees for modesty's sake. Some ladies get a little offended or annoyed by this rule because they think that if they are wearing pants they are being modest, which is understandable. If you are simply doing every day tasks in pants then yes you are being modest, but while dancing you are moving your body in a way that is not normal for pants. Skirts hide the hard lines of a woman's curves and help protect the visual nature of our brothers so they are not tempted to look at their sisters in a lustful manner.

USING WRAPS OVER YOUR PANTS

There is one way around our "rule of skirts" that is permitted in our congregation: you may wear a wrap over your pants to wear just for the worship so you can still enjoy the comfort of wearing pants without compromising our rule. The wrap however MUST still be fully wrapped around your waist to completely enclose your legs so they cannot be seen, AND it must come down below your knees.



  

This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

These are generally used at the beach, but I wore them for years during worship services before I was finally comfortable enough to switch to skirts. If you come to our congregation and want to try these out but are not sure how to use them, I gotcha covered. Not only did I use them myself for worship, but I also am from Hawaii which means I can show you all sorts of ways to tie these that are easy and fun.

SHOES WE RECOMMEND

We do not require any kind of shoes that you have to wear for our worship services, but we do have some that we recommend that are both comfortable and light:

Linodes (Tent) Leather Upper Jazz Shoe Slip-on for Women and Men

(click on image below to view pricing and sizes)

There are actually 2 colors for these shoes and the link will immediately take you to the black ones. For our team at Congregation T'shuvat Yisrael, BE SURE TO CHOOSE THE BROWN COLOR as the black will not be accepted when dancing with us for the Dance Offerings (although you are certainly welcome to use them for our worship services).

Davidic Dance FAQ - answers in one simple place


This is a post in a series about our congregation's dance team and the rules we have created for it. To see the entire series check it out here.

Here's the thang: being one of the dance leaders in our congregation I get a looooooot of the same questions all the time. I was simply answering them as they come, but as we have grown in numbers and our communications have become much more often I have come to realize I really really need to figure out a way to simplify this process. While I was in prayer asking God for wisdom on how to accomplish this so I could free up my time He suddenly gave me a brilliant idea! Create a FAQ post for the dance that answers all the common questions you always get. Then you can simply send the link to your people as they ask them. You can also add it to your welcome email for the new people coming in. 

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW INTERESTED IN THE DETAILS OF OUR LIVES YHVH IS!!!

So here are all the common questions we get:

Do I need to have any experience in dance to join your team?

NOPE! You can be brand spanking new, only have experience in a completely different style of dance, or be as advanced as the ballerinas at the top of their game. The point of this kind of dance is not to be perfect, but to be worshipful through dance.

While perfection is certainly something we'd like to work towards, it is not our first focus. We focus our attention on worship FIRST, and then if there is time and YHVH makes away, we work on perfecting the dance.

What do I wear?

There are 2 different kinds of requirements:

1). The ladies MUST wear skirts or wraps that are below the knees during the worship services. Read this post for more information on that.
2). There is a uniform Men and Ladies both are required to wear during the Dance Offerings. Read this post for more information on that.


Is there an age limit?

Unfortunately we do not have a dance instructor for the children. Sometimes our Rabbi's wife will teach them a dance during their Shabbat School, but there are no actual dance classes that Tori and I do for our dance classes. We hope and pray YHVH will bless us with someone soon who can take on that responsibility, but for now you must be 18 years and older to be able to dance with us.

Do you have any videos I can watch that will help me practice this dance at home?

I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Our biggest problem with our dance team has always been time. It takes a great deal of time to teach everyone and practice the dances. With new people coming in all the time and being so short on it that we really only have enough to teach the actual dances for the dance offerings, I decided to make my own video series for our team on the dance steps to be able to practice at home on their own time. This did 2 wonderful things for us: it teaches them the steps whenever they have the time and it takes the pressure and stress off our shoulders as dance leaders so we can truly focus on the dance offerings.

At first I thought I would make this private only for our team. But then I thought, why not make it available for all the believers around the world who have a desire to do this dance in worship? I figured there must be those struggling with the same problems as us. So lucky for all of you out there who are to far away from us to learn these steps, here it is for free! You're welcome!

Click on image below to view the Davidic Dance Steps


How often do I need to practice?

When it comes to the worship service, there really is no requirement for practice. We do however have a dedicated dance practice every Sabbath at 10am prior to our service starting at 11am. If you would like to be prepared and not look like a monkey in front of our congregants, then it is highly recommended that you join us for practice LOL!

How do I join the Flag and Streamer team?

The flags and streamers are extremely special and an advanced form of dance, which means that we have a couple of requirements the flag team need to abide by that I explain in detail in this post.

That's it for now. I will add more questions and answers as they arrise. Check out the next post in this series on The Products We Recommend and/or REQUIRE For Our Worship Services.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Intro To Davidic Dance - My Dance Steps Series



Alright, I'll admit it! I have been HORRIBLE at keeping the series on the dance steps here on my blog going. I do apologize. I just didn't realize how insane the amount of work would be that I'd have to put into it. The videos themselves take at least 5-10 hours each to create. Then to put together a blog post explaining everything just wasn't possible for me. So I decided to finish the videos first and then simply link the entire series to the Eiklor Essence blog.

So here ya go everyone! A comprehensive video series that breaks down every step for you to learn at home at your leisure. I am not completely finished but only have a couple videos to go, so I will be soon! I have many more series planned so stay tuned for them!!!

Click on image below to view the playlist


Monday, September 16, 2019

DIY PVC Pipe Sukka


I am not going to go into detail over how or why we made this Sukka because most of that is explained in the video below. I will say this though, you can use this thang for virtually any kind of elegant event you'd like.  For example you can use it as a chupah (gazebo), you can use a tarp over the top of it as a covering for a picnic, you can simply use it to enhance some special decorations you have...get creative with it! So check out the video below and then grab the supplies you need listed beneath it.




SUPPLIES LIST AND LINKS:
Goof Off: https://amzn.to/2QtNU5Z
Miter Box: https://amzn.to/300O3SB
Sheer White Curtains (8 total): https://amzn.to/34OasBn
   *NOTE: I learned the hard way that not all curtains have a big enough opening to fit around the
     PVC pip when you hang it. I know for sure these fit so I highly recommend them. If you want to
     go with a different curtain be sure the openings at the top are big enough to slide over the pipes!
Wired Ribbon: https://amzn.to/2O5fweQ
   *Here's another, more ornate version: https://amzn.to/32HJbi4
Gift Wrapping and Curling Ribbon: https://amzn.to/32L8BLE
Artificial Grapes: https://amzn.to/2Obj1QZ
Measuring Tape: https://amzn.to/2Obelu2
Fairy Lights: https://amzn.to/2O0gNnn
   *Here are some colorful ones too: https://amzn.to/301Uh4M
   **I also found this lovely LED Fairy Lights Curtain with the lights already built into it. I am not sure
      if it will fit over the pipes, but if not you could probably play around with curtain clips?
      https://amzn.to/30nJblQ
The exact sizes and measurements of the PVC pipe and elbows are not available online so you will have to go to Lowes to find them in person.

The GREAT thing about this creation is that it doesn't need to be JUST for Sukkot! You can use it for a wedding as well! Tell us what you think in the comments!

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