By LINDA M. LINONIS
Dressed in their Christmas finery, children at Disciples Christian Church will perform a liturgical dance as part of the candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. today.
Melanie Smith, a church member for more than 20 years, said the group of children will dance to “Tonight.”
“It’s all about Christ’s birth,” Smith said of the music. “It’s joyous, upbeat and celebratory.”
The eight dancers range in age from 5 years old to sixth grade. Though some of the girls take dance lessons — none of the boys does. But the dance program was open to all children who wanted to participate.
The program heeds the directive in Scripture, “Praise Him in the dance” from Psalm 150:4.
Smith said she opted for children to wear “their Christmas clothes” to show their individuality, and not costumes. But they will use streamers in the presentation.
This month, the children have rehearsed in preparation for the presentation at the service. The theme is “Our God Who Sleeps Over.”
“We’re practicing, and they’re learning basic steps,” Smith said. “They’ll freestyle a bit ... and do what they feel.”
The idea for the dance was suggested by the Rev. Sharon Kiesel, interim pastor.
Smith said the congregation is supportive of the project and looking forward to it as part of the Christmas Eve service at the church at 565 Boardman Canfield Road. Smith brings 15 years of dance experience to the project. She took lessons in jazz, tap and ballet.
“I feel like I’m giving one of my talents to the church,” she said.
Pastor Kiesel echoed that idea. She said she noticed that church members reflect an array of various talents.
“I believe God gives us different gifts,” she said. “I like to try something different on Christmas Eve because it’s not a typical service.”
The liturgical dance, she said, “is worshipful in its purpose.” It showcases the God-given talents of the children in celebrating the birth of Christ.