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.