Historic Notes Fall 2012 by Toní Intravaia

Historic Notes
by Toní Intravaia

ToniFrom the Sacred Dance Guild Newsletter Fall 1957, Volume 9, Number 1

Praise the Lord with Dance by Pixie Hamond

 “Praise the Lord with the dance” is more than a scripture verse to many dance choirs throughout the country. Such groups are accepting the responsibility of leading congregations in worship through the art of movement just as a singing choir does with music. Choirs and congregations alike are discovering that wonder and joy are elements that too frequently are lacking. If the word dance in the context of worship seems to be an anomaly to you, then disinfect the word. Lift it out of any unworthy connotation. Dancing is mentioned many times in the bible, and, as far as I can discover, never with disfavor. In fact the opposite seems to be true. We are told specifically to sing and dance before the Lord! I think our reticence to use dance in the church stems partly from our thinking that the human body is somehow ugly or sinful—something that we can’t get rid of, but that we ought to ignore. Again, the New Testament view is quite different. Our bodies, we are told, are created by God fearfully and wonderfully made. I think we have not begun to take seriously the most amazing thing of all—that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. If this is true, should we not glorify God with our bodies? Is not the body a worthy channel for the expression of grace and beauty? Is it not the most logical and immediately available tool for expressing divine message? 

F ro m S a c r e d D a n c e G u i l d J o u r n a l 1 9 8 8 , Vo l u m e 3 0 , N u m b e r 2
 by Elaine Friedrich, One of Our Early Members
Having danced most of my life, I was always intrigued by evidence of sacred dance such as Ruth St. Denis’ dancing at St. Mark’s in the Bowery in the 20s and Ted Shawn’s choreography of  the Doxology and Hound of Heaven along with Margaret Taylor’s pioneering liturgies.
Although I was not aware of the Sacred Dance Guild until the late 60s, my introduction did come through one of the early members, Elyse Robert, close friend of Ruth St. Denis and director of ‘Miss Ruth’s’ Rhythmic Choir. When I met her, Elyse was the Guild’s past Regional Director for California and was conducting at her church a sacred dance class, which I joined. Elyse continues to be a mentor and an inspiration to all of us in Southern California, and we are blessed by her friendship.
F ro m S a c r e d D a n c e G u i l d J o u r n a l 1 9 8 3 , Vo l u m e 2 5 , N u m b e r 1
by Elaine Friedrich, One of Our Early Members
At the turn of the century, Isadora Duncan startled many Western Viewers by her unorthodox burst onto the dance scene in America and Europe with exhortations to all people, but especially to dancers to tap one’s inner resources of the solar plexus for performing expressive movement and for realizing a more cosmic spiritual expression of one’s nature.
Around 1926, in Paris, Malkosk refused to allow his dancers to submit to the artificial restrictions imposed by ballet, and taught instead, that they must seek out their own natural inner rhythms, which were impulses of the Divine working through them. About the same time, Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, working out of Hollywood and New York, were pioneering concepts of dance as sacred, spiritual expressions derived from the inspiration of travels and dance studies in Asia and the Near East. Such ideas were revolutionary to Western exceptions of rationality that can be traced back to Aristotle and later, the Age of Reason—i.e. left-brain perceptions.
To see other articles from this journal issue  http://sacreddanceguild.org/journal/sdg_fall2012.pdf
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Posted in Choreography, Religious dance, Sacred Dance

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