Today marks the 40th anniversary of International Dance Day. Began by the International Theatre Institute in 1982, International Dance Day marks the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810), who was the creator of modern ballet.

International Dance Day is all about celebrating dance and its positive impacts on our lives, revelling in the universality and diversity of this art form, and bringing people together through a common language (dance!)

The main event is typically a message from an important figure in dance, as well as several performances. The Main Event put on by the ITI can be found here: The Main Event

Individuals can participate in the celebration of dance however they want to. There are so many ways to celebrate dance, be it learning a choreography alone or with friends from a YouTube tutorial, creating and performing your own choreography, or simply turning on some music and having a dance party!

As Christians, we have been using music and dance to worship and praise God since the times of the Old Testament. Today’s blog is all about exploring the Biblical basis for dancing in worship.

To start understanding a Biblical perspective on dance, it is important to consider the Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible for the word “praise”. While in English there is only one word for “praise” – in Hebrew there are Seven.

In several instances, the translation of the Hebrew or Greek word used for praise implies a gesture or movement of some kind.

Beyond these few examples, there are also many examples in the Old Testament of cultural dancing being a form of worship. During the time of the Old Testament when battles were won, the closest relative of the victor would come out in celebration and dance to lead the victory. Miriam led the Hebrew women in a worship dance and song after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. David is also notoriously known for dancing in the streets when the Ark of the Covenant was being brought back to Jerusalem.

Those who want to dance to worship do so because:

  • Dance is a beautiful way to rejoice and demonstrate our love and adoration for the Lord
  • Dance adds a visual aspect to our worship
  • Dance is a sign of blessing and restoration in the church
  • Dance can reach across cultural and political barriers with the Gospel
  • Dance signifies a new move in God
  • Dancing can lead others into praise and victory

Dancing has so many uses – and it is a blessing for those who can and want to, to be able to use it as a form of worship!

Some of this content has been modified from our Healthy Active Living Education course – students in this course will explore the Biblical perspective on dance, and more. Check out the course outline here.