Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Making Music Live: A Guide to Weaving Music into Faith Development Programs

The line dance

The simplest form of group dance is the line dance, in which the dancers follow the leader either in a circle or in free patterns around the room. They can hold hands, place their hands on each other's shoulders, or place them around each other's waist. When in a circle formation, it's always fun to advance the children toward the center, while they raise their hands into the air, and then expand the circle outward again. The children should sing a song they know well, something repetitive like a simple chant or children's song, as opposed to a hymn with many verses.

The spiral dance is a more challenging form of line dance that is danced throughout the world. Have everyone stand in a circle, holding hands and facing inward. Take someone's right hand into your left hand and let go of the child's hand on your right. The person on your right is now at the end of the line. Facing the center of the circle, begin walking to your right, passing in front of the dancers at the end of the line and staying close to that outer circle. Keep singing. Continue walking in a spiral in which the rows grow tighter and tighter. When you come to the center and have nowhere to go, have everyone turn to their left in an about-face and wind their way back out of the spiral, dancing between the rows on either side that are still spiraling toward the center of the circle. You will eventually come to the outside of the spiral. When you do, turn right again and continue walking around the spiraling bodies until the opening circle is once again attained.

The first few times children dance a spiral dance they will be giddy with delight, and there may be some discipline issues to deal with. Children can get so happy they become hurtful of others. When the spiral dance/song becomes part of a worship practice, the giddy delight can gradually turn into something deeper—a powerful meditation or an ecstatic dance of joy.