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Dancing for God


  • Dancing for God

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    I've noticed that you mention God quite a few times and some Church activity, so I have a question for you:

    I am 18, an active member at my Church, AWANA leader, Sunday school teacher, a helper in the youth group, and the list goes on.

    My situation is, is that I have gotten a lot of negative feed back because if my love of dance. Along with a couple other persons, I was kicked out of a temporary singing group because one of the rules was absolutely no dancing. Something very impossible for me.

    I do use my talents of dancing for God. I have done a lot of dance interpretation for church and related activities. But I also have a great passion for dancing, most importantly for Salsa. I feel great when I dance, I feel happy, I have even started to lose weight since I started to take Salsa lessons.

    Salsa es parte de mi, mi cultura, mi sangre. I just wanted to know if you have been through similar situations and what you think about it. If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it!"
    - Believer

    Dear Believer,
    Yes, I am a BORN-AGAIN believer - NOT PERFECT, but hey WHO IS??? CHRIST!!! THAT'S WHO! And guess what? God invented Music, Dance, and Our Bodies... What a COMBINATION!!!

    God created our bodies TO MOVE!!!!! If we stop moving WE DIE!!!!

    Who doesn't dance? People in COFFINS and MISERABLE PEOPLE WHO DON'T EVER MOVE.

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    Have all those people around go watch the movie: "Footloose". That movie changed the way I thought about my Faith and dancing.
    Who is telling you to stop, and that it is unholy? THE RADICALS WHO HAVE NEVER TRIED IT, THAT'S WHO.

    Yes, it's true that one gets a lot of flack from fellow church and synagogue-goers when one dances Salsa. Why? Because of the way some people interpret its meaning.

    Little do these super religious people realize that dancing is OK, and even mentioned in the Bible:

    • He (God) turns our mourning into dancing! (Ps 30:11)
    • Praise His name with dancing! (Ps 149:3)
    • Praise Him with timbral and dancing! (Ps 150:4)
    • There is a time to mourn ... a time to dance! (Eccles 3:4)

    Back to your question. I'll take the liberty of assuming to believe that it's not just dancing, it's Salsa dancing, they're having the problem with, right? If so, let's step back minute. I want you to think of life as empty with no meaning. Now put Salsa in there, and attach a meaning of "sex" to it. There you have it.

    I'm just as guilty as anyone. When I created the Salsa-Holics Anonymous Graph back in 1997, I attached the meaning of "sex" to "Salsa" for the whole world to see. For me, being recently divorced (Yes, I know, God hates divorce, but He also hates infidelity...), I got into Salsa dancing as a way to socialize, get my aerobics in, release my frustrations from work and at home, and take my mind off things for a while.

    If you attach a meaning of sex to Salsa, of course everyone will start shaking in their pews!

    That's why in my DVDs, and during my classes, I teach my students to keep Salsa clean. We need to work on redefining the meaning we attach to Salsa, and dance in general.

    I find it interesting they don't attach the word sex to Waltz, Fox Trot, Swing, Hustle or Polka. Any type of dancing in general is a release that most find very satisfying and fulfilling. It helps release the natural endorphins that our bodies produce during any type of physical exertion. Dancing rigorously (like we do in Salsa) releases those natural endorphins, resulting in a dancer's high very similar to an exercise high.

    Lately Salsa dancing is getting more and more physically demanding. The styles are changing to more fast-paced with more turns and spins, lifts, tricks, and dips. Salsa dancing can be a phenomenal aerobic workout now. Many take Salsa aerobics classes, and regular shines classes just to lose weight. If I may quote Mr. Eddie Torres, the Mambo King himself from New York, when I asked him how he lost all his weight, his answer was simple, "I started taking my own classes."

    Salsa is very, very aerobic. Like a contact sport, we huff and puff, get all bruised up, and keep coming back for more. It gives us a physical "high", like biking, lifting weights, running, or training for a marathon. Being a former marathon runner, bodybuilder, and gymnast, myself, I am all too familiar with the "runners high", the "pump" from a great lift, and the "charge" of an incredible floor or bar routine. They are all the result of healthy physical exertion. So is Salsa.

    (And oh, by the way, so is sex. Sex is a very healthy, physical exertion, given to mankind as a beautiful gift from God)

    It's very sad that people associate Salsa with sex. That's the problem. It's the association, and the meaning that they've given it. It's sad that they haven't associated Salsa with weight loss, aerobics, fun, skill, and art.

    To become good at dancing Salsa, takes a very long time, a lot of practice, skill, and dedication. Once people understand the amount of work it takes, they would appreciate it for its art form, the form of dance itself.

    Even King David danced in Biblical times. I've written a brief description of my thoughts on the whole subject of dancing and scripture. There, you'll find many places in the Bible of where dance is referenced and acknowledged as from God.

    • God the creator of all things, created man.
    • He created mathematics, physics, motion, and beauty.
    • He built our bodies for MOVEMENT
    • He gave us the gift of "EARS" and 'SOUND".
    • He created dance.

    My advice to you, is to find another church where they don't mind if you're a dancer or not. You also may just want to "not tell" them about your dance life if it causes any of them to stumble. I wouldn't make a big deal about it to anyone. Keep to yourself. Stay humble, quiet, and bite your lip at church.

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    Then let it ALL OUT on the dance floor that night.

    For me, dance is a GREAT substitute for sex - but then again, so are aerobics classes in the mornings, daily jogs, and bike rides along the beach. All of these high-intensity, aerobic activities help me keep my mind off men, and physically exert me to the point of where I'm not at all interested in sex. Sometimes I get so physically wiped out, that even the thought of sex repulses me. To tell you the truth, Salsa has kept me in line, sexually.

    That's not the only reason why I dance however. Dancing also gives me a tremendous amount of joy, an acquired skill that has taken a long time to develop, a great social life, friends all over the world, a modest income, and the ability to express myself in a way that I can't at the office or at church.

    Taking up Salsa dancing also helped three of my friends stop drinking and doing drugs. How can you do all these spins, lifts, dips, and marathon dance session when you're wasted? I have many friends who have actually kicked their alcohol and drug problems when they started dancing Salsa. I know about ten people in LA who have also QUIT SMOKING because they don't allow smoking in the clubs in LA, and many Salseros who are athletes during the day CAN'T STAND smoker-breath.

    So, Salsa has helped people with their drinking, smoking, and drug problems, and it's helped me keep my mind off sex.

    Think about it.
    No smoking, no drinking, and no drugs...
    Just Salsa and God above.


    I'll be praying that you will find fellow Christian Salsa-Holics just like me.

    Recent Update:
    SEVERAL of our Black Belt Salsa Professional Instructors are a Born-Again Christians!! They are AWESOME dancers, and would be a fantastic Pen-Pals / mentors if you don't live in the United States.

    We also have Francisco and Stacey Martinez "The Dance Family" who shares both the love for the Lord, and dance. Contact them as well!!! In fact, they have a couple of articles here in the Christianity and Salsa section you may enjoy reading.

    God's speed in dance to you my brother. NEVER stop.

    Happy Dancing!
    - Edie, The Salsa FREAK!!


    Edie, The Salsa FREAK!! is one of the most recognized and respected Salsa Writers/Instructor/Performers in the world. In the past twenty years, she has traveled to 63 countries teaching the world to dance, and has been the first American to teach in 18 of those countries. She now lives in the high mountains of beautiful Colorado with her wonderful husband, Nick. You may contact her at


    • bailaconmigo
      bailaconmigo commented
      Editing a comment
      In response to ... Dancing with GOD

      Edie, good morning. It always amazes me that Christians with all the technological advances we have (24 hour access to the internet and the wealth of sites) that take the english words and associate them with their Hebrew and Greek roots. All that great information and people are still stuck in a stifling and suppressive view of Salsa.

      I remember as I was going through my own conversion process (experience) and trying to understand what God was doing. He'd given me this gift of teaching dance and now what was I supposed to do with it.

      So, I studied and prayed about dance and waited. I read books and articles about the different dance ministries and you're absolutely right there is a negative connotation associated with Salsa. Specifically (in my opinion) because of its Latin roots. People for whatever reason(s) associate anything Latin with sexuality. Not that the latest push in regards to reggaeton, bachata, or merengue dancing is helping our cause. But because of peoples lack of knowledge regarding the various styles of Latin music they see it all as the same.

      We know better ... But they don't. Never mind that man has his own views of why people dance. Connecting dance with their (own) pasts and prejudices as well. At my church (another venue where I instruct at) and all of my other classes, I teach them to respect one another (keeping it Holy).

      I teach the men and women respect for self and others. That men are either protectors or predators (of course I just speak that to the group of men separate from the women). I'm a protector and will drive predators away. I teach women defensive Salsa techniques and the importance of her controlling her body. From the top of her head to the soles of her feet. He may touch her, but she controls how and where. By making her hands available and watching him.

      I'm always amazed by the looks of astonishment on the faces of those that now realize what or how they got groped or mishandled. There's so much more to this subject, but the only thing I would say in regards to your response is ... before they start looking for another church. They should pray and seek the Lords direction for their life first. They may be the one He's choosing to change those mindsets at that particular church. Who knows? Only He does.

      It's our job to seek the Kingdom (Him) first, so that all of these other things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). I love it Salsa and being able to praise and worship God through it has been very rewarding and freeing.

      I'm a strong proponent of Genesis 50:19 - 20, "Don't be afraid. Am I in place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Which to me translates into, "but God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God choose the weak things of the world to shame the strong," 1 For 1:27

      Art Davis
      "Salsero for CHRIST"

      Last edited by ediester; 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM.

    • BailaconPasion
      BailaconPasion commented
      Editing a comment
      I SOOOO enjoyed reading your Dancing for God article. I could not agree more with what you said in your response to the original question. Living right in the middle of the Bible Belt there is NO lack of judgement in this part of the country however as Christian myself, I personally don't feel the need to have to broadcast my faith to anyone!

      I personally prefer to LIVE my faith rather than have to broadcast it to anyone. Those who know me, know my beliefs simply by the way that I choose to live my life and by how I treat others and YES! It includes Salsa!. Period. I find it so interesting that the very people who feel the need to judge others have somehow forgotten to look in the mirror!

      I don't give one ounce of energy to anyone who feels the need to judge me for dancing (or anything else for that matter) as those folks are not a part of my life (nor would they ever be) and I go about my dancing! I simply choose to surround myself with AMAZING people who LOVE to salsa!

      When you surround yourself with like minded people who live their lives as an example rather than needing to broadcast their faith, with people who CREATE JOY and who walk in love....none of that negative stuff matters!!


      Last edited by ediester; 11-20-2012, 03:57 PM.
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