Shaking the Foundations

Shaker dance, from a woodcut on the cover of Don E. Saliers,  Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine  (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994).

Shaker dance, from a woodcut on the cover of Don E. Saliers, Worship as Theology: Foretaste of Glory Divine (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1994).

We should praise in and with everything we enjoy. Every faculty of the body should be dedicated to his praise. Our tongues were made to bless the Lord; our voices were given to sing his praise; and the Psalmist call on everything that hath breath to praise the Lord.

—Thomas Brown, a Shaker, cited in J. G. Davies, Liturgical Dance: An Historical, Theological and Practical Handbook (London: SCM Press, 1984), p. 67.

Christians believe that God is a dynamic being; one who is on the move; one who, if the Jerusalem Bible rendering of Zephaniah 3.17 be accepted, is himself a dancer and who, according to a Jewish exposition of the Song of Songs… will lead the dance of the righteous in the age to come—one who, if we may move outside the confines of Judaism and Christianity and accept that something of God may be learned from other religions, one who like Shiva in Hinduism dances creation itself. Dancing must be regarded as an entirely proper way of responding to and acknowledging the divine presence. To refuse to dance would be to identify him with immutable stability. To dance, although not in an insipid way, can be to do homage to the one who shakes the foundations.

—Davies, Liturgical Dance, p. 133.

Below: Covers of the two books mentioned in this post…

Nadja-Léona - Yes, we are mysterious, powerful...

Who are you?
I am the soul in limbo.

Nadja-Léona, an activated installation performed at the Alliance Française of Melbourne. Dance with video, sound, text, architecture.

Nadja-Léona: concept and direction by Jude Walton with Finnish based performer Gesa Piper, dancers/choreographers: Michaela Pegum, Jo White, Hillary Goldsmith and Arabella Frahn-Starkie, composer/pianist Kym Dillon and artist Eliza Dyball.

Below, a few photos and thoughts after viewing the performance:
- by Catherine Schieve

After witnessing this wonderful, luminous work by Jude Walton and collaborators, I am left thinking about many aspects of dance performance that are intimately connected to the performance of ritual and worship. Here are a few jottings: The eloquence of the body in space; the ability of the body to create sacred space and to hold space; the mystery of objects and props, primal forms such as the egg; how text does and does not share meaning with gesture; how (even now!) the female form is rare as the “primary mover” in performance and worship; the beauty and humour of costume and mask; distance created by masking and ritual gestures creates space for meaning and imagination… and how architecture is enlivened by movement; how time perception is changed by witnessing human movement; and the very tangible presences of light and sound.

NOTE: These photos are only from the third, and final movement of the work. The first two movements were completely different, and occupied their own spaces; the first took place as a projection upon a dancer’s bare back. The second movement was in an underground crypt-like space and had a strong component of projected video, live music, and the texture of stone and light.

With thanks and appreciation to Jude Walton and company

Jaymen Drahm / Nunyarra Culture Festival

Contemporary AUSTRALIAN Indigenous DancE

“Giving thanks to the totems and land throughout my dance”

Jaymen Drahm is a Yidinji, Mamu man from Innisfail, Queensland, Australia. He is a contemporary & Hip Hop dancer, and founder of the Golden Coastline dance collective. Here’s some fantastic video footage of his dance at the Nunyarra Culture Festival that recently happened September 14-16, 2018 at Nunyarra, NSW.

Thank you Jaymen Drahm for your moving performance.

More info about the artist on his Web Page / and his Facebook page Golden Cockatoo