Dance and the Christian Faith: A Form of Knowing

By Martin Blogg

An exploration of how dance can be a form of religious expression in the Christian church, written by a professional dance educator.

ISBN: 9780718892494


For many Christians, dance seems to be the most difficult of the performing arts to accommodate within the liturgy. Whereas music and drama have become more or less established as legitimate and credible forms of religious expression, dance still has to prove itself and be accepted by the Church generally.
From the Introduction

First published in 1985, this pioneering work on religious dance was written in response to the paradoxical attitude of many Christians who express an interest and enthusiasm for the arts as part of Christian worship, yet retain a suspicion, even a dislike, of dance. Dance and the Christian Faith examines what the bible says about both dance and worship, and relates it to an understanding of what dance is and how it can be used in the church and in education today. Martin Blogg relates his faith to his profession of teaching dance drama and his non-verbal approach to Christian dance opens up new avenues for the expression of the faith, complementing the more traditional forms of speech, music and sacrament.

The book is a critical discussion, both theoretical and practical, of the nature and conditions of religious dance, as explored through the disciplines of scripture, education and dance as art. At the same time, Dance and the Christian Faith is a call for Christians to embrace dance as a means to prayer and worship, outreach and renewal. Although centred on dance within a religious context, much of the discussion is directly relevant to dance education and the performing arts in general.

With a Foreword by the Rt Revd Maurice Wood, former Bishop of Norwich.

Additional information

Dimensions 196 × 126 mm
Pages 302

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Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Martin Blogg has spent a lifetime working in the theatre, education and community – as a performer, director, teacher/lecturer, examiner and writer/author. Previously a Lecturer at Middlesex, Leeds, London and Edith Cowen/WAAPA Universities, he was recently elected a Bye-Fellow at Robinson College, University of Cambridge, and is presently pursuing a PhD at Griffith University.


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Maurice Wood, former Bishop of Norwich
General structure

Section I: Dance and Scripture

Part I: Dance as explicitly recorded in scripture
1. Back to basics: ‘It is written’
2. Different uses of the term ‘word’ in scripture
3. The Word in the Old Testament and the New Testament
4. Biblical commands and biblical principles
5. General references to dance in scripture
6. Specific references to dance in scripture
7. Some basic questions about the dance

Part II: Dance implicit in biblical principles
1. The biblical use of the term ‘word’
2. Knowing the Word – knowing God
3. Worship and the Word
4. The body and dance
5. The church body and truth

Section II: Dance and Education

1. Education as initiation
2. Forms of knowing
3. Knowledge is both objective and subjective
4. ‘Bridges and barriers of knowledge’
5. Liberal education
6. A comparison of different media expressions
7. Education and the ‘whole man’
8. The educational process – teaching and learning
9. Three co-ordinate species of knowing
10. An initiation into dance as a form of knowing
11. What artists and philosophers say about dance
12. What should we understand by ‘religious dance’?
13. Creativity
14. Craftsmanship and dance
15. Some theories of dance as art
16. Significant parallels between pursuit of dance and pursuit of the Christian faith

Section III: Religious Dance – Practical

1. Angelus ad Virginem
2. Broken for me
3. Jesus came
4. There’s a quiet understanding
5. Turn your eyes upon Jesus
6. Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
7. The Lord is present
8. God has spoken
9. Ostende Nobis

Dance Project No. 1: Gloria
Dance Project No. 2: Prayer of Humble Access
Dance Project No. 3: The Wondrous Cross

Sources of Dance Music
Further Reading


Endorsements and Reviews

As a former ballerina, dancing the world over, and with a life-long commitment to Dance, I endorse the belief that within Dance there is a spiritual component – a faith and trust. This reaches beyond the presentation of oneself in the world of entertainment, worthwhile though that may be. Dance forms are legion, many being rooted in the cultural development of nations and covering deep-seated convictions. This publication is thought provoking and soul searching, inciting healthy introspection, so actuating praise of God.
Dame Beryl Grey

Noting the growing number of dance groups with a religious vocation, the author, a dancer, teacher and devout Christian recounts the sometimes ambiguous place of dance in Christianity. He begins with the mentions of dance in scripture in order to show how it is brought into liturgy, despite the lack of trust in which it is sometimes held. Finally, he highlights the interest in dancing in religious education and finishes with practical examples of religious dances
NDD: L’Actualite De La Danse, Winter 2012, No 53