Expressing your prayers in a dance
Mr Nicholas Lye (foreground) leading participants through a dance.
Who are you to others? Who are you to yourself? Are you satisfied with the answers?
More importantly, do you know who God says you are?
Participants of a recent dance workshop, TranscenDANCE, were invited to ponder upon these questions on their identity.
Seventeen people of varying ages attended the workshop held at CANA The Catholic Centre on Sept 27.
Led by Mr Nicholas Lye, 37, who received dance training in university and other schools, participants were taught simple dance moves that allowed them to express their hurts and struggles on their perceived flawed identities. Through two songs, This Is Me (from the movie The Greatest Showman) and You Say by Lauren Daigle, they reached out to God through meaningful and purposeful dance movements.
Even those with no prior dance experience were seen moving to the music and letting their bodies be an expression of their emotions.
Mr Lye continuously encouraged them to have freedom and creativity during the dances and to not hold back for fear of judgement from others.
“I really enjoy how dance is non-judgemental, no use of words ... and how you use your body as an expression of prayer.
I also love seeing the young people here being comfortable and being themselves!” said Ms Carolyn Seow, 57.
Jonathan Tham, 20, said, “Dance, to me, is really intimate and it helps me express my emotions and feelings more freely.”
Mr Lye, currently doing freelance work for the Church, said that TranscenDANCE aims “to use dance as a platform to ‘transcend’ and connect with our Lord in prayer, as well as to “transcend” beyond the ways of the world and become more configured to our true selves and nature as God’s beloved children.”
He has been conducting these workshops once a month since a year ago.
Each session typically includes a brief introduction of a particular Christian theme or Scripture passage, learning the dance choreography as well as a time of reflection and sharing.
On why he decided to start TranscenDANCE, “I’ve always had a dream and inspiration to integrate dance with our Christian faith. Having learnt various forms of dance myself, I saw how many of the dance principles taught to us actually reflect some of the theological principles [of the Church]. As such, I wanted a dance workshop that allowed people not only to learn dance, but also learn Christian principles along with it, and even possibly encounter God through the process.”
“I’ve also watched participants well advanced in their age breaking down in tears and experiencing much healing, joy and freedom after finally being able to express their emotions after so many years,” he added.