Sunday, January 06, 2008

Here I am: Rosary dance insights

I had a wonderful time leading the Advent Day of Reflection for the Diocese of Joliet: "Dancing the Rosary: Moving through the Joyful Mysteries" on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception back in December. It was a wonderful group of nine prayerful, loving women.

I learn and tweak, add, subtract every time I give a rosary dance retreat. This time I choreographed very simple movements to the Our Father and Glory Be. My goal was to create movements that were VERY simple. Easily remembered and embodied. Intuitive so people didn't have to think them, but could truly pray them. I also wanted to give people a variety of movement experiences - opportunities for creative movement reflection and for choreographed unison movement, some easily remembered movements that they could take home.

The personal highlight of the day for me was Joy Sloan playing on the piano and all of us singing and swaying and dancing Anne Carter's Magnificat (which is Mary's prayer) at the end of the Mass at the end of the day. I had been leading/directing/in charge all day, but now it was my turn to be led and fed. And, there's nothing like live music to inspire the soul. And, that Magnificat is great because it is to the tune of Amazing Grace and everyone knows (and loves) the tune of Amazing Grace so all can really sing it.

I had been fed throughout the day, too, though, by the wonderful sharing. Just a few highlights:
- Clare's gestural interpretation of conception
- Gena's unexpected tears as she explained how integral Mary is to her spirituality
- Kathy's interpretation of the last phrase of the Hail Mary: "at the hour of our death" as a resurrection

Thank you, thank you all!

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On another note, next Sunday, January 13th at 10am, I'm dancing for the installation of Autum Lum as youth pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmette. I don't want to say too much on the very off chance that she would read this as it's a surprise, but the song is "Here I am, Lord" by Dan Schutte and I will be embodying God - quite a challenge and a new role for me. I've embodied the Holy Spirit, the woman at the well, Mary of Nazareth, Mary Magdalene, but never God, except in so much as we all do as children of God.

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