Dance is a communal art — it’s meant to be shared and experienced in the flesh together.
Even though I knew this, I didn’t really realize it until the pandemic lockdowns. On one hand, it was cool to take class “with” friends miles away but eventually, the novelty of it wore off and I began to crave the fellowship a shared studio brings. How you can walk into the studio still half asleep, nod good morning to the friend across the room, drop your five different bags of stuff (because why can’t dancers just have one?), pop your hips, and proceed to loosen your IT bands on the foam roller all without saying a word. The subtle, wordless communication that happens as you figure out who’s going in what group across the floor. You’re all working hard individually, thinking about your own corrections. Cheering each other on and whispering “nice!” when your friend hits that quadruple pirouette in the waltz combo or commiserating as you all fight for that eight count developpe.
And it’s not just class, it’s performances too. The dancers on stage, the orchestra in the pit, the stage crew in the shadows, the audience in the house — all experiencing the same thing from different perspectives. Each person stepping into their unique role of the process.
Just as dance is a communal art, life is the same. This adventure is meant to be lived in community.
Sometimes it seems easier/safer/less messy/more convenient to keep dancing as if we were a one man show — to isolate our selfish solos in a single spotlight. I confess I have a tendency to do this sometimes; for reasons either real or imagined, I’ll avoid the people that point me to Jesus. It may feel good in the moment, but is it easier in the long run? nope, that’s a big fat lie from the Enemy.
Think about it in terms of a performance, a solo act can only go on for so long before the artist needs a rest. It’s also only as dimensional as that one person, we might be super engaged but we’re only experiencing a little bit of the story. When an entire cast and crew and orchestra are working together, we get a production with depth, scope, and perspective.
I was thinking about how life in community is like a dance. Sometimes the choreography will take you close to someone for a while, maybe in a little pas de trios or pas de quat but then other times you may just be standing on the side in b+ smiling across the stage at each other. There are seasons of life that we will be in close proximity and deep friendships with each other, then there are other seasons where we’re so focused on our own choreography and spacing that we have no idea what someone else’s is. I think that’s ok as long as we’re letting the Master Choreographer, as long as we’re letting Jesus, direct the show.
All that to say, what the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 10 verses 23-25: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Friends, may we bravely share the stories we carry and realize the unique steps we dance are part of the Grand Choreography. May we wisely discern which dancers to stay in proximity with, who to whisper reminders to, and who to smile at from across the stage.
For these many bodies form one Body. And the Story only makes sense when this mosaic of souls courageously + humbly experience the Music together.