Wednesday, March 5, 2008

REC pt 1: Wrap Up the Dance Business

Previously, on your humble (award-nominated) blog:
REC over, and plenty to say about it. In short:
I think I will address each item in it's own post, or something like that, and to begin with I'll wrap up the liturgical dance thing. There's not much left to say, but I will at least feel like I have accomplished something there.

As you may have seen in the comments, there are a few schools of thought on this. I can totally see how doing dance can be a form a prayer, and it's legit for a dancer to want to use his/her gifts to praise God in that way. As Sine pointed out, there is a time for dancing, but as most everyone in the discussion agreed, that time is not during the mass! Dance is performance, and the mass is not, ever, performance. It's the sacrifice on Calvary all over again, and it deserves -- demands -- dignity, not theatrics.

Every mass I went to at REC had dancers, and I found it distracting at best. The best use was in the procession and the carrying of the gifts at the Nigerian mass. That actually felt like something a people would do for a king, which was appropriate. As Britney pointed out, however, most of the masses reeked of "I didn't make the cut in ballet" meets the Happy Hands Club. On steroids.

Everything in the mass should put an even greater focus on Christ and his presence in the Eucharist. In my experience, liturgical dance is usually about the dances, with occasional notice of the worshipers' feelings. Believe it or not, our warm fuzzies are not what the mass is about.

A fact I had to remind myself of, as I found myself being distracted by the guy in the yoga pants with a purple sash (I kid you not). My fellow VIDES, Jonathan, and I ended up looking at it as a chance to practice really focusing on Jesus. Ridiculous or not -- indeed, licit or not -- Christ is at every valid mass, and the faithful ought not let anything get in the way of that understanding.

I don't know how Jonathan did, but I think I'm just going to avoid dance masses for a while.

1 comment:

bullschuck said...

Good point. As the old Sprite tagline went, "Image is nothing, Thirst is everything." That's what lets us worship when we're away from home with a different congregation, when we don't understand the language, when the music is lousy and not to our taste, or when Fr. Whatshisname has too many points in his homily and none of them pertain to my life or to the readings. Jesus still shows up, and that's worth our attention and devotion.

Sorry, scattershot post from a guy who rambled over from Mark Shea's blog.