Pastor Ed Lapiz  Day by Day Ministries Cultural Redemption


The Soul of the Filipino in Dance

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The Christian 
and Dance

The Redemption of Dance for Christian Worship


There are matters concerning bodily movements in Christian worship that might as well lead to the ultimate question: To dance or not to dance?

Dance in Christian Culture. While dance was featured, or at least allowed, by early Christian churches, it began to disappear in time.  One reason is that it later “caused degeneracy and was subsequently banned, as is indicated by many of the early Christian writers.” Another very probable reason for the disappearance of dance from religious life is the development of cerebral theology as the Roman Empire adopted, sponsored and subsequently ruled Christianity. 

As the faith was Romanized and westernized, Judeo-Christian traditions, which were Eastern in origin therefore holistic in character, began to move from mystical to philosophical, sensual to intellectual and expressive to stoical. 

This trend was further intensified when New Testament Christianity evolved into Catholicism and then into Protestantism, especially when the Western tendency to dichotomize everything into sacred-versus-profane, or religious-versus-secular was developed to near perfection. 

As dance became increasingly associated with “this world” rather than the “other,” dance in worship was lost altogether, with its attendant spirituality.

The Power of Dance as Ministry. Bodily movements, gestures and formations have always been parts of spiritual configurations and expressions. From the beginning of time, God’s people bowed, knelt, prostrated, fell on the ground, and lifted their faces, arms and hands before the Lord. 

“Rejoice in the highest, Daughter of Zion! Rejoice, be glad and leap boisterously thou all-embracing Church. For behold, once again the King approaches ... once again perform the choral dances ... leap wildly, ye Heavens; sing Hymns, ye Angels; ye who dwell in Zion, dance ring dances!”

-Epiphanius (AD 315-403)

To clap or not to clap? To raise hands or not to raise hands?
To kneel or not to kneel?

“For what modesty can there be where there is dancing and noise and clapping of hands? . . . But she who is modest, she who is chaste, let her teach her daughter religion, not dancing.”

-St. Ambrose (AD 337-397)



Pastor Ed Lapiz is the founder and Artistic and Dance Director of KALOOB Philippine Music and Dance Ministry. Read more

It is of no little interest that Daniel risked being seen, arrested, and given the death penalty by insisting on praying by his window that opened toward Jerusalem. More curiously, Israel kept winning in the battle while Moses lifted up his hands in prayer, and began losing whenever the leader lowered his hands. Was such bodily formation so relevant in procuring God’s favor that two men were tasked to hold Moses’ hands up as he, due to fatigue, could not hold them up on his own any longer?! Furthermore, the Scriptures admonish the faithful to lift up holy hands, and even lay hands at prayer.  Such was the seeming centricity of bodily movements, formations, and connections that the Lord Jesus touched bodies, even of the dead, in his ministrations. In so doing, he not only challenged petrified traditions but also technically broke Jewish laws!

A YouTube user uploads footage from the movie King David but replaces the original soundtrack with the song, “Dance like David Danced.”

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