Christian dance club takes off in Norwich
2009: A Christian dance club for young people has enjoyed great success in its first year by using dance to teach Christianity in a socially relevant way. The group is due to perform in the Lord Mayor's Procession in Norwich and at the forthcoming bandwithnoname gig at the Cathedral.
The East Norwich Youth Project (ENYP) launched Dance Off! after Hope on the Streets last summer. They asked all the participants on their sports camp what new clubs they would like to see in their area and dance was an incredibly popular choice.
Kate Doran-Smith, Dance Off! Leader and Tutor, says “Living in a society where young people are surrounded by MTV, Britain’s Got Talent, TMF, YouTube and other round the clock music channels and internet access, we knew that a wholesome - yet funky and fun - dance club would definitely attract young people, and meet them ‘where they’re at’. The fact that I had always wanted to run a dance club and had waited patiently for ten years for it to happen was a bonus! Godly confirmation indeed!
“We firmly believe that you can be socially relevant to the youth of today, without compromising your spiritual integrity. All students and parents know that I will not choreograph to tracks with inappropriate lyrics or content and that I will not teach dance moves that are provocative. This, I believe sets us apart, without isolating us from the mainstream masses.”
Since the start of 2009, Dance Off! ran a Dance-a-thon fundraiser for Comic Relief and ENYP, and performances were made at Norwich Vineyard where young people and their families (around 70 people in total) attended a Sunday morning service. This gave Dance Off! the opportunity to teach students a worship song and actions, which they shared with the congregation - who were incredibly keen and eager to get out of their seats and join in!. An advanced dance class has also been running for girls wanting to push their talents a bit further.
Kate continues “This Summer sees us performing at summer fetes and harvest festival and a very exciting slot in the Lord Mayor’s Procession. The older girls were given the challenge to design their own banners for the Procession and I taught them the significance of ‘colours’ in Christian dance worship. There were so many beautiful suggestions that four banners are being made by Christian volunteers, in time for the procession on July 11th. Gently introducing our beliefs as Christian leaders through different aspects of dance such as this, ensures young people not only understand and accept our views, but also get sound Christian teaching in bite sized pieces. The group even agreed to adopt the tag line ‘a time to dance’ under our logo, taken from the end of Ecclesiastes 3:4.
“With over 70 students now attending we hope to continue to grow in strength and unity as we reach out more and perform in both Christian and secular circles. Our group is unique as it is an entry point to many young people who would not necessarily attend other youth groups. As trust and relationships grow we are able to introduce them to other ENYP groups which explore Christianity using different methods (such as art, drama, discussion groups, youth cafés etc). We are using holistic youth work to help mould and shape the next generation.”
Dance Off! will be running four dance classes from September 2009:
Tots (boys and girls aged 4 to Year 3)
Primary (for boys and girls in Year 4 to Year 6)
High School (for girls in Year 7 and above)
And the Advanced class is by invite only.
The Advanced class will also be performing as part of the warm up act at ‘thebandwithnoname’ gig at the Cathedral on 23rd October 09.
The extra classes have created a FEW spare places in each class – so grab them whilst you can and get involved! For further info on Dance Off! please email Kate; firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the East Norwich Youth Project website; www.enyp.org.uk
. For further info on ENYP please email email@example.com