We recently interviewed two guys from our Dance Ministry; Ryan, a full-time programmer and key member of our Dance Ministry and Severin, a HILC (Hillsong International Leadership College) student and b-boy from Switzerland.
This is what they had to share about their dance journey, what it has looked like for them being a guy who uses their gift of dance in ministry and how we can cater for and challenge guys who are or want to be involved in a dance ministry.
How long have you been dancing and why did you start?
Severin: I have been dancing now for about eight years. After being an active gymnast in my very young years I needed something where I could still be physically active and have fun at the same time. It was the first time I saw breakdancing live, when a guy was performing in my local church. I started to develop an interest for this kind of dance and soon after that I took my first breakdance lesson. I fell in love with dance more and more and tried to develop my skills over the following years.
Ryan: I have been dancing for over 12 years and I started when I was asked to be part of an item that was being presented to our Powerhouse youth ministry on a Friday night. I have always had an interest in dance especially Hip Hop, but only got planted and involved when someone took the opportunity to ask and invite me.
When did you realize you could use dance as worship? What did that moment look like? And what were you dancing for before that?
Severin: In the first five years I trained in Zurich in a place where the whole scene gathered, trained and had fun together. At some point a Christian friend asked me if I wanted to perform at a Christian event with him and three other b-boys. Of course I agreed and after that performance we decided to start a crew. We are now a Christian dance-crew who worships God with the gifts he gave us. Our goals are to influence non-believers with what we do and why we do it but also to bring dance into the Christian world and make creative space for our churches. Until that point I danced for myself trying to get better and even get fame through it. It’s amazing for me to see how God guided me to use his gifts out of the right motivation and to give him praise through my dancing.
Have you ever been the only guy dancer in your dance ministry? How did you navigate that season?
Ryan: I have been blessed to do this journey with men who started with me, but there were certain points during those seasons that you would be either the only guy in the item or there would be only two guys in the team. Those seasons can be difficult and testing as far as your character, but navigating those season’s can be a fruitful journey when you get a revelation of who you are in Christ, his promises and will for your life. When the Holy Spirit empowers you in your calling in life and using your gifts and talents, the world’s view and cultural norms of dance become absolutely insignificant as you run your race fulfilled in the knowledge, blessing and favour of God.
What advice would you give for a guy who is the only one on his team?
Severin: Learn as much from the women around you and ask them questions like what dance means for them or what makes them dance. If you can motivate yourself to learn other dance styles it will also help you a lot in increasing the skills in your own style. Don’t limit yourself because you think some styles are too girly or not cool enough.
Ryan: The advice I would give to men who are part of the dance team and are the only one involved is to be committed and faithful in being obedient to the calling and purpose that God has placed on your life. You may be the ‘guy’ called and mandated by God to sow in and pioneer that seed to build the men’s team. You may never know the fruit of your labour and sacrifice, but God does… and everything we do is for him and him alone.
How can we challenge male dancers to grow in their craft and increase their skill level?
Severin: I think if we create a community that is welcoming for men this is something, which is not too hard to achieve. As soon as a man develops a passion for something he will give everything to get better and increase his skills. When we have leaders in a ministry who represent a passion for Jesus, for their team and for their gift, people will follow and look up to these people. In a dance ministry it is essential to have male and female leaders who have a good skill level of dancing to influence other people. If men have a role model where they see how much they invest in their gift to increase their skill level I think it will be a great motivation for them to work on their own skills as well.
How can dance ministries be more welcoming to guys? What encourages guys to want to be involved?
Ryan: Providing an open and accommodating environment and a sense of community where men are able to lead, contribute, be empowered and be valued in their craft from all forms and styles of dance will encourage men to be part of the ministry. One powerful aspect is seeing men on the platform actually dancing. There is no greater statement than to visually see men partnering with women in dance. Another key is to build strong connections, relationships and a sense of brotherhood within the team for men. This provides them the opportunity to grow and be accountable as they do the journey together.