The Gift of Dance
1. Who is Vanessa Osgood?
My name is Vanessa Osgood. I’m the wife of Donald Osgood Sr. and mother of 6 children by birth and by proxy ages 22 to 8. I love and enjoy spending time with my family. The Lord has blessed me with many gifts but my passion is dancing for Him.
2. What is the appropriate name for the type of dance you do?
The appropriate name is Liturgical dance. This meaning is derived from liturgy which means public worship or religious acts. Liturgical is primarily enacting the word of God through movement with or without music.
3. How long have you been dancing? Did you learn to dance or is it a natural gift?
I have been dancing my whole life. I was formally trained in ballet and modern during my youth. Dancing is one of my gifts. I have and continue to take dance classes and attend workshops. When you have a gift it is your responsibility to train in order to enhance what God has placed within you; and to increase your ability to present that gift back to him in excellence. I have been ministering in dance for eight years.
4. You dance with such passion and conviction. Where does it come from?
I am a worshipper. Let me go back to the gift. the definition of gift in Greek (Strong’s 1435) means “Gift offered in expression of honor.” The word Worship in John 4 (Strong’s 4352) means to kiss the hand, in token of reverence, kneeling or prostration, to do or pay homage.
I once attended a worship conference and the facilitator said, “Dance is an outward expression of my inner reality.” I would never be able to express it better than that. All of the love and adoration I feel for God, who he is to me, and how much He has done for me comes through my dancing for an audience of One. Christians have a saying, “If I had 10,000 tongues, I couldn’t thank him enough for all He has done for me.” The beauty of dance for me is that I get to use my whole body and everything I am to bless him. I recently found a song that literally spoke to my heart. The song is called “I Owe You Worship”. One of the verses says, “In my walk, in my talk, in how I live, let it be pleasing to you, in my thoughts, in my heart, in how I live, let it be a sweet aroma to You, My Lord.”
I’m not a singer, painter or musician. My gift is dance! That is the vehicle of expression God has given me to worship Him and to bless his people.
5. You have studied this art. Can you share with us on the ministry of dance and why it is considered a form of worship to God?
Dance is literally mentioned throughout the bible. Christianity is birthed out of the Jewish culture and we are grafted into God’s original plan for His chosen people. The first time dance is mentioned is in Exodus 15:20. Miriam, Moses’ sister performed a prophetic dance after the Israelites deliverance from Egypt. When men went to war it was customary for the closest female relative to meet them with songs and dance declaring God’s majesty and might. In 1 Samuel 18:7, when David was returning from a victorious battle against the Philistines, the women came out singing and dancing to meet King Saul. In Exodus 23:14, “Three times you shall keep a feast to me in the year.” Feast in this scripture is chagag, which means sacred processional, move in a circle or march.
Dance is written throughout scripture regarding how it relates to praise and worship. 1 Chronicles 15 describes the assignment of worship in the Tabernacle and how David danced before the Ark (the Presence of God). For someone this may seem far reaching, as though someone tried to fit dance into praise and worship during service. However, scripture tells us that dancing, leaping, jumping, lifting our hands, bowing, kneeling, and prostrating ourselves before God is a part of our worship when we are in his presence.
6. Someone reading this may have a desire to dance but is afraid to try or is not sure where to begin. What advice would you give them?
My advice is to take it to God in prayer first. Being talented is not a prerequisite for joining a dance ministry. You have to have a heart to worship the Lord… That is most important. With any ministry there is the call. Do you believe God is calling you to the ministry of dance? A lot of people are moved by dance ministry and want to join because of the picture we paint of who God is. But, with anything there is a cost. Much sacrifice goes into the finished liturgical presentation or sermonic presentation the congregation experiences. Our call is to lead the people into worship and it’s not something I take lightly. No one should fear whether or not they are talented enough to join but rather, am I ready to put my all on the altar because this is ministry.
7. Any last words you would like to share?
Jeremiah 31:13 (KJV) says, “Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”
The word dance in Hebrew is Machowl, which means round dance. We are the bride of Christ and as His return gets closer and closer, we the Bride will rejoice and celebrate His anticipated return. That doesn’t mean there will be some type of crazed move of dance in our worship. What it means is that we will become more expressive and liberated in our rejoicing of His second coming. Dance in the word of God is congregational. It was for everyone. We were all created to worship.