Dance is a form of expression that brings so much freedom and joy to everyone, even in the absence of spoken words. In fact, some things said through unspoken words can pierce straight through a person’s soul and spirit. One does not need to be a dancer in order to love dance.
Easing out of the lockdowns gave dancing the opportune time to move from the sidelines of life and into center stage. Dance enabled the soul to break through the limitations and walls that were imposed during the pandemic.
I danced most of my life and chose it as a career to pursue early on. I experienced the struggles, triumphs, and sacrifices of dance as a career in the Philippines. Because I was a part of many pioneering activities and dance teams, I witnessed the development of the culture of the Philippine Street Dance Community. Risks were taken when we went outside the country to represent our nation in competitions with the hope that Filipino talent would be recognized globally. We did our best to put our nation on the map of world dance so that more opportunities for fellow Filipino dancers could open.
I had a lot of ups and downs in my career as a dancer. I experienced so many losses despite the growth of my career. Even if most people back then said that a person cannot make a living out of dance as a career, I took leaps of faith, gaining more connections and favor. Unfortunately, while this was happening, I had to deal with the loss of my best friend who got shot in a hold-up incident. Yes, I lived my dream to travel and dance, but with the death of my best friend, I found my sense of purpose shaking.
Stumbling in the Dance
I questioned who I was because my beloved best friend was robbed of the chance to live her life and purpose. What was the purpose of my being alive? Slowly, I lost myself, my voice, and my ability to make the right choices. I saw myself moving further away from the Lord. I spiraled in grief, which led me to lose myself even more. In the time it took to climb up the career ladder of dance, the speed of my fall was twice as fast.
In my lowest, Jesus met me. He met my brokenness. When I gave my life to Him, I told God I was willing to let go of dance and serve Him with my life. God told me that He still called me to dance, but that my heart needed to be restored first.
I agreed and asked God: “Is dance important in the Kingdom of God?” There had to be more to dance than I had known and experienced! A hunger in me grew to know more of God, His heart for me, and His heart towards dance in His kingdom.
A New Definition of Dance
Shortly after this conversation, God sent me to a ministry school in Redding, California, that values hosting the presence of God as a lifestyle. The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry equips followers of Jesus to bring the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. It was in this season of my life that the Lord opened His world of dance to me. I discovered what dance meant to God, and I found out who I was. I found myself in Him and regained my voice.
Dance is a form of worship and intercession. It is a spiritual language that pierces spirit to spirit, going past a person’s soul and body. Paul said in Romans 8:26, “the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
God can communicate straight to a person’s spirit through movement, bypassing human logic and common sense. When the Spirit of God empowers a person’s movement, transformation takes place, and this releases healing, freedom, and deliverance not just to the person dancing, but to all those who are witnessing the dance. Dance then happens in partnership with the Spirit of God. It is powerful to dance for the audience of One, but it is even more powerful when you dance with God.
Dance is a beautiful expression of heaven that transcends time and space. It breaks through language and cultural barriers to communicate the heart of our Creator God towards all of His creation. I always say in my workshops and mentorings that you do not need to be a dancer to encounter God through dance; you just need to be hungry enough to want to know that there is more to dance. There is more to know about it, yes, and more to love what God loves. We can use this as fuel to move into a lifestyle of dancing—to the rhythm of His heartbeat.
Dance as the Language for my Voice
My testimony is one of restoration, and one that shows how dance is an important tool to advance and share the message of the Gospel. We live in a time where there is so much hate and toxicity in social media platforms. According to Proverbs 18:21, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits.” We can impact people and cultures, and shift the atmosphere with our voice because we can speak life or death. And we can do this with dance, which is in itself a voice.
With dance, we communicate with our bodies and movement the language that our soul and spirit want to express. Being in full union with the Holy Spirit, we can move as one with the Spirit to communicate His heart through our dance.
God invites us to use our voice in partnership with Him–to declare His love and speak into being His kingdom into our world. God desires to use us to bring not only personal transformation, but also cultural transformation in the time that we live in. We can yield our lives to God and allow His voice to flow through us, so that in turn, we can raise our voice with His to engage the kingdom of darkness and usher light to dispel that darkness.
We can learn how to hear from Him and ask Him what He is doing and saying through His Word and in our prayer times with Him. When He answers, we can relay that message through our movement.
I pray that we choose to speak life through the different expressions of communication that God has made available for us, like dance. I pray this stirs up a hunger in us for more of God and His creative expression.
I believe we are in the era of dance; an era of physical movement. I pray this activates a spiritual language within us to go deeper in our relationship with God. He is our Creator, and we are designed to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Francesca Tabifranca is a freelance dance artist with over 15 years of experience in the dance industry and 8 years in full-time ministry, both locally in the Philippines and internationally. She has a heart to bridge the secular and sacred in the field of art and entertainment to advance the kingdom of God on earth through a creative renaissance. She is an alumna of the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry in Redding, California, and the La Salle Dance Company - Street in Manila, Philippines.