Liturgical Dance?

I’ve recently read a few posts on here where people said that liturgical dance is not allowed. Is that true? I’m concerned because I used to be a liturgical dancer, and my parish still has them occasionally (I think)! At my parish, we have liturgical dance only at certain masses (like the Easter vigil) and it’s less of a dance than entering with procession and holding a bowl of incense, then spreading it around (as altar servers do, but in dresses rather than robes, and more gracefully). IS that sort of “dancing” not allowed? Or is the ban more on attention grabbing dance?
If it isn’t allowed, when was it banned?

It is not forbidden. However, it is not part of the tradition of the Latin Church. Therefore, it’s use is considered inappropriate. In some cultures dance in worship is seen as the cultural norm and may be part of the inculturation of the liturgy. This is especially the case in certain African and Asian cultures. In the west dance should not be a part of the Church’s liturgy.

Good article to read.

ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWDANCE.HTM

Explains why dancing in the liturgy in the West is acceptable.

The Spirit of the Liturgy - Ratzinger

Cardinal Ratzinger concludes with some valuable reflections on specific liturgical gestures and postures: that most ancient, primordial Christian gesture, the Sign of the Cross; the indispensable role of kneeling, presented with its abundant biblical foundations; the appropriateness of standing and sitting at different moments, and the inappropriateness of “liturgical dance” in any shape or form! Here too (p. 198), Ratzinger is again very blunt, warning against any tendency to turn the liturgy into a form of entertainment wherein attention is self-consciously drawn to merely human attractiveness or achievement:
Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy. In about the third century, there was an attempt in certain Gnostic-Docetic circles to introduce it into the liturgy. For these people, the Crucifixion was only an appearance. . . . Dancing could take the place of the liturgy of the Cross, because, after all, the Cross was only an appearance. The cultic dances of the different religions have different purposes - incantation, imitative magic, mystical ecstasy - none of which is compatible with the essential purpose of the liturgy as the “reasonable sacrifice”. It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy “attractive” by introducing dancing pantomimes (wherever possible performed by professional dance troupes), which frequently (and rightly, from the professionals’ point of view) end with applause. Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.
Interestingly, however, Ratzinger sees no incompatibility between this unequivocal judgement against ‘liturgical dance’ and approval for those forms of ‘inculturation’ which the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship has allowed (since its Instruction of 1995) for certain African liturgies. He says (p. 199):
None of the Christian rites include dancing. What people call dancing in the Ethiopian rite or the Zairean [Congolese] form of the Roman liturgy is in fact a rhythmically ordered procession, very much in keeping with the dignity of the occasion. It provides an inner discipline and order for the various stages of the liturgy, bestowing on them beauty and, above all, making them worthy of God.

When Pope Benedict was still a cardinal, he wrote a book called The Spirit of the Liturgy. Here is an excerpt from the book on liturgical dancing.

Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy. In about the third century, there was an attempt in certain Gnostic-Docetic circles to introduce it into the liturgy. For these people, the Crucifixion was only an appearance. Dancing could take the place of the liturgy of the Cross, because, after all, the Cross was only an appearance. The cultic dances of the different religions have different purposes - incantation, imitative magic, mystical ecstasy - none of which is compatible with the essential purpose of the liturgy as the “reasonable sacrifice”. It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy “attractive” by introducing dancing pantomimes (wherever possible performed by professional dance troupes), which frequently (and rightly, from the professionals’ point of view) end with applause.

I think you meant is not acceptable.

Cardinal Arinze has the best answer: youtube.com/watch?v=9rJFdmmqj_s

haha oops. Not acceptable.

I understand that the Novus Ordo Missae is meant to bring the lay faithful to greater participation in the sacrifice of Christ, however…dancing? Seriously?

It was my understanding that, ideally, we should attend Holy Mass like the apostles in the Last Supper, and like the Blessed Virgin on Calvary…I never read that we are supposed to be “dancing of joy” while our Beloved mystically dies of sorrows in the eternal Sacrifice for our sins…even in the Resurrection, the reaction was one of awe and fear of the Lord.

Of course, our Lord is the God of joy and rejoices at the happiness of His children… however, like the behavior of children in an ordinary family, there is a boundary after which the behavior becomes irreverent…

Dancing in liturgy is completely alien, as far as I know, to liturgy in the Western world.

this is some freaky weird sh*t. just say NO to liturgical dance! lol

I’m sorry but if you think dance is not a part of western culture you might be mistaken. It might be true of Baptist culture, but surly not all of western culture.

Not allowed, others have posted links above.

Please note: This topic has come up at numerous Catholic gatherings and on message boards I’ve been active on, and I have yet to find one person, who isn’t one of the dancers, who likes it.

Not one!

So cut it out!

Example of Liturgical dance in the local archdiocesan cathedral

youtube.com/watch?v=5oosum0Ns88

No, it’s part of the culture. But not part of the culture of worship.

The CDW has spoken, and has solved this discussion for us.

The dance has never been made an integral part of the official worship of the Latin Church. If local churches have accepted the dance, sometimes even in the church building, that was on the occasion of feasts in order to manifest sentiments of joy and devotion. But that always took place outside of liturgical services.

So true! At this point, besides being illicit, it really seems to be feeding the egos of the dancers…

Okay thanks. I was just curious. I haven’t been a liturgical dancer for about 5 years. Someone said it was about feeding the egos of the dancers… we were all 12 years old. we just volunteered for something we assumed was okay. We weren’t very attention grabby… we just walked in with incense and incensed towards the altar… then sat down. I think we may have been part of the presentation of the gifts and the exit as well. And it wasn’t like ballet or anything, but coordinated walking on beat with the choir’s singing. (does that count as dancing/is that disallowed?) Anyways, thanks for clearing things up. I’ll dissuade my younger sister from participating (I don’t believe my home parish does this anymore, but they may)

Last I checked, it’s alien here in the Far East!

Um, saluting is part of western culture, but only in the military subcultures, not when you walk past your manager at McDonald’s. Genuflecting to the President is not part of common USA culture but Catholics do it to the Pope and British subjec ts curtsey or bow to their Sovereign. During the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the USA flag tilts to no authority, including the host country’s symbols. Brightly-colored clothing is generally unacceptable in college graduation ceremonies and funerals in most of the west. Saying “Please” and “Thank you” to household staff is simply not done in Britain, but is expected in USA restaurants. Educate yourself about the roles of certain kinds of behavior in certain kinds of contexts before you argue that modern western interpretive dance is appropriate during Holy Mass. It is not, and has never been. And even in cultures where “dance” (in quotes) is supposedly part of the vocabulary of reverence and celebration, it’s still either not done in the way westerners think it is, or not done at all.

Tell me, would you have saronged dowagers equipped with earthen censers gracing the opening of a high school prom? Of course not, that would be creepy beyond words.

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