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Bringing liturgical dance into the Twenty-first century
College of undergraduate research initiative (2015)
  • Trisha A Holmes, University of Texas at El Paso
  • Lisa Smith, University of Texas at El Paso

Dance Is a very powerful and ever changing form of communication found in virtually every civilization on earth. Because it is developing, new forms like Liturgical dance can often go unnoticed by the dance community as a whole. Liturgical dance can be traced back to the early slave churches of the 1700’s where it began as free form worship. Slaves and free “Blacks” gathered in large groups to worship, during these gatherings persons felt compelled by the “spirit of God” to move in wild abandon, like the “ring shout”, a tradition brought to America by the slave trade.(Allen ,“Slave Ships to Center Stage”). As churches became more structured expressions of worship also referred to a “catching the spirit” or “Shouting” also began to organize themselves into groups with specific dance styles(Mime, Lyrical, Prop supported) that can now be seen all over the world. Dance, music, and song have always been an integral part of the African American or Black church (Mellows, “The Black church”).Like many churches around the world the “Black Church” is also involved in community outreach programs and charities. This project is centered around first establishing a history of Liturgical dance in black churches and also discovering whether there is a link between church outreach, the presence of liturgical dance, and the community response to Black church community. If the result is positive this project may aid in providing charitable organizations with a different and more effective approach to community outreach programs.

  • Dance,
  • Mime dance,
  • Lyrical dance,
  • prop dance,
  • Liturgical dance,
  • liturgy,
  • the black church
Publication Date
Citation Information
Trisha A Holmes and Lisa Smith. "Bringing liturgical dance into the Twenty-first century" College of undergraduate research initiative (2015)
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