Praise dance choreography is diverse in its creation and execution, but also follows a universal standard, making it easy for groups to collaborate and share the artistic breakthroughs they have received from God.
The Importance of Praise Dance Choreography
Many praise dance groups rely upon times of spontaneous, interpretive worship dance, which is important and valuable to any ministry. However, there are times when choreography is essential. One such occasion is any performance-driven event. If your praise dance team will be performing in a festival, at an evangelical event, or anything else where you are a witness to Christ, then you should likely work on well put-together choreography. Church groups sometimes look more amateurish than secular dance teams, but they do not have to. It's easy to get together a good routine, even with very little choreographing experience. The more you practice, the more in unison you will become, and in turn you will be able to present a stunning performance for those who are in your Christian community as well as anyone else on the outside that comes in to view what your performance.
Choreography is also important in teaching technique. Students will grow weary of simply learning dance steps and will not be able to enjoy worship and self expression without routines and music brought in. Teaching structured choreography helps keep momentum in your classes, and inspires your students to practice and excel. It can also give them ideas for their own routines.
Choreography to Include
When writing praise dance choreography, you should pray and ask God to guide whatever steps you use. Your choreography should be a fusion of traditional dance steps taken from ballet, hip hop, whatever style/mood of dance you're going for, and also interpretive movement that helps to tell the story of either the lyrics, sermon, or ambiance of your dance. Some praise dance teams also choreograph what is known as "human videos", or pantomime to the lyrics of music as another additional ministry tool.
In your choreography, you should also try to include varying sections of dance if you have enough team members. Give one section of choreography to beginner dancers, while giving something more challenging to the advanced girls. They can then perform the sections simultaneously, and this will bring beautiful diversity and complexity to your final routine.
Lastly, you will want to include some sort of worshipping ending. Many teams choose to end with their hands raised up to heaven, while others commence bowed down on the ground. Still others exit the stage dancing, so there is continuous movement until they are out of sight. With praise dancing, you never want to stop choreographing to the point that dancers just walk off stage when the music ends - you will kill the mood and sovereignty of your dancing.
If you cannot come up with your own choreography, and there isn't anyone else in your team circle who can do the choreography, then you can sometimes glean ideas by attending a praise dance workshop. Look for one in your area and suggest your team travel there for the summer - you can usually all take different classes, including choreography workshops, and come back with different experiences that can then all be poured back into your home ministry.
Many websites also offer choreography that is free to use. Jocelyn Richard, a professional praise dancer, offers video tips on how to make your choreography top notch in both appearance and worship. You can also type worship dance, praise dance or liturgical dance into YouTube and get a lot of free ideas.
If you're willing to spend a little, there are also many great DVDs, books and online tutorials available to help you with your praise dance creations. Check them out at your local Christian bookstore, or through a simple Internet search for Christian dance choreography.