A Time to Dance

“...A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”
— Ecclesiastes 3:4

A Time to Dance aligns the similarities between dance and prayer, exploring a parallel between two weekly meetings: the church and the nightclub.

Worship in the UK’s flourishing Pentecostal Christian denomination is very physical and immersive. In these churches, set up in converted warehouses, congregations move to pop style music and dramatic lighting, which become a central element of worship.

The atmosphere of the dance club is equally heightened, intense and immersive, where the mass of individual bodies move closely amongst each other, stimulated further by the pulse of music in the dark.

In the very deepest moments of immersion in dance and prayer, the individual may experience a kind of ‘letting go’; a relinquishing of conscious self-control. It gives way to a kind of surrender and fusion that both opens and envelopes the enthralled person in their absolute participation. Here, for fleeting moments in each crowded room, ‘I’ can come to assume itself as ‘we’, in the shared, immersive atmosphere particular to the dancing crowd.

The act of seeking release through ecstatic dance - much like searching for God in prayer - represents an immersive and transgressive experience that transcends the banalities and ebbing pressures of daily life.

© Michael Alberry 2023