Liturgical Dance Techniques

by Alex Saez
Liturgical dance may help you feel more in touch with your particular religion.

Liturgical dance may help you feel more in touch with your particular religion.

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Dance is a common form of expression seen in commercials, music videos and festivals. Every genre and song carries a meaning. Liturgical dance is no different. This form, although superficially simple, is more complex than meets the eye. Liturgical dance can make a religious service more lively and cater to a younger generation of church followers. It is also a key element in the modernization of Christianity.

Liturgical Dance

Liturgical dance takes place during religious worship, such as youth groups or church services. The techniques vary based on the song and context. Christian in nature, its purpose is a "heartfelt expression of faith and prayer," according to Dance to Health. It is essentially a hybrid between dancing and praying. Its upbeat, energetic nature appeals to young people and gives church services a contemporary, lively tone.


Aside from its aim of praise and worship, liturgical dance does not conform to a specific set of rules or techniques. It does, however, borrow from a variety of existing genres, such as folk, modern dance, interpretative dance, circle dance and jazz. However, the way participants move is entirely up to them.

Interpretive Dance

Considering the random nature of liturgical dance, interpretive dance is usually prevalent, with other dance forms mixed in. Interpretive dance is a form of emotional expression. Through it, dancers display or act out concepts such as fear, anger, love, appreciation and sadness.

Common Characteristics

Body and facial movements are frequently used in liturgical dance. In some cases, sign language is incorporated with certain songs. For pieces about worship, movements will reflect attitudes such as appreciation and servitude. Alternately, songs about combating darkness contain bold and aggressive actions. Some musical compositions are about seeking guidance from God, which sparks movements like reaching out for help and expressing comfort. When dancers formally perform in front of a congregation, the emphasis is on the song's message, not entertainment.

About the Author

Alex Saez is a writer who draws much of his information from his professional and academic experience. Saez holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Queen's University and an advanced diploma in business administration, with a focus on human resources, from St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario.

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