Historical Notes Spring 2011 by Toni Intravaia


A Time for Sacred Dance by Ruth Rayton: “Dance, the response of man to
life-meanings, is one of the most basic expressions of the total person. Paul
Tillich has said, ‘Religion is man’s total response to his creator. The sacred
dance choir is one way of interpreting this response in worship. Sacred dance
is worship through symbolic movement. A symbol is a reality that has meaning
beyond its own existence. Symbolic movements may express adoration, joy,
prayer, penitence, anger, despair, or any other mood. A sacred dance choir is
concerned with the exploration of movement as an interpretation of religious
responses, ideas, moods, and experiences of worship. The dance choir
member uses the human body as the instrument of communication,
as a language of movement…
From the Sacred Dance Guild Newsletter Volume 7, Winter, 1963
Emphasis of Israelite Dances by Doug Adams: “This paper has been
researched and written to guide others as well as the author in efforts to use
dance in the modern world to solve some contemporary problems. That we
should turn to dance practices in the Old Testament tradition for guidance in
those efforts is because Jews used dance in solving what are now some of
society’s chief problems. An emphasis in Israelite dance to divine union was
that coming to God included coming together with fellow men.
This emphasis revealed in the fact that one did not dance alone but
rather danced in a band or circle with others…”

Fifty Years of Sacred Dance by Margaret Fisk Taylor: 

“In this year of 1983 we

will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sacred Dance Guild. Also in 1983 I
will celebrate 50 continuous years of my involvement in Sacred Dance plus
75 years of living… A fascinating happening was the bursting forth of isolated
sacred dancers across our country! William Norman Guthrie, Rector of St.
Marks in the Bowerie, N.Y. sponsored Vesper Services with Sacred Dance
(1925-38)…Erika Thimey presented sacred dance choirs for services largely in
Unitarian Churches in Chicago (1932), Boston and New York…In 1943 when I
was living in Hanover, N.H., I heard of Rev. Robert Storer, pastor of a Unitarian
Church in Massachusetts arranged to meet him…Mary Jane Wolbers, trained in
Denishawn dance in high school, danced in her Community Church connected
with the University of New Hampshire in 1942. Evelyn Broadbent, in Chicago
Theological Seminary in1943 wrote her Masters thesis on ‘Dance in Religious
Education’…Toni’Intravaia at the University of Michigan choreographed sacred
dance in 1943…The time to dance in churches must have arrived and we all
answered that call individually and with dedication…”

To see the original article go to Sacred Dance Guild Journal Spring 2011

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Dance, Historic Notes, Religious dance, World Dance

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