Dancing for joy: Modern dance club uses the stage to worship God

White stage lights, LED snowflakes and melodious string music fill the stage as a host of ballet dancers magnify their Maker and King through the beauty of dance. Dancing for the Lord is the mission of the Liberty University dance group Divine Call Dance. 

Divine Call Dance exists for the purpose of exalting Jesus Christ through dance, encouraging fellow team members toward excellence in all areas of life and displaying God’s love to the world.  

“Our main goal is to be able to perform for audiences and share that dance can be a form of worship and try to make our dances have some sort of meaning,” co-captain Isabella Casucci said. “We can be sharing the gospel to like one specific dancer or anything like that through the dance and hoping that someone in the audience will catch it and that they can be encouraged by that.”

Co-captains Casucci and Chesney Goad lead Divine Call Dance. Casucci, a senior, is
majoring in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in health science and fine arts and minoring in dance. Goad is a senior studying nursing and minoring in dance.   

Together, the two co-captains run the team by managing fundraising, booking rehearsals, holding auditions and directing the team.  

The team funds itself from its entry fee and GoFundMe. It is composed of students with their co-captains, a social media manager/recruitment manager and two spiritual leaders.

Every year, previous captains determine future leadership by considering one’s leadership experience, teaching ability and interpersonal skills. According to Goad, keeping the ministry at the center of the dance team has always been a priority because it not only strengthens the team, but also allows the dancers to take the ministry to the stage.  

A part of the leadership process is accepting girls onto the team, and with Divine Call Dance, the philosophy of acceptance is different from most dance groups. Dance can be competitive and discouraging at times, but with worship at the heart of it, it’s a whole new experience for dancers. 

“To be able to come into the safe place and just worship is something that’s truly special, (and I) just want to share that with everyone and really make sure to let the dancers on the team know that,” Goad said. “This isn’t like such a strict form of dance that they might have grown up (doing). … Doing competitive dance, especially in the ballet world, is so intense. And then, we’re not like that at all. We accept as many people as we can so that we can share that.” 

Photo by Ryan Anderson

An additional role for the captains is signing up for Coffeehouse auditions. The team members had a process to design the choreography, and they say God suddenly gave them ideas. Each dance from the team centers around worship and being lost before finding God. They aim to share the Gospel story in movement. To fit the “Snowed-In” theme from last semester’s Coffeehouse, many elements of the dance were derived from the snow scene in “The Nutcracker” while also incorporating elements of salvation. 

From Feb. 9-11, the team will be attending Dance Revolution, a Christian-led dance convention where the team members are taken through different workshops of dance genres while being spiritually poured into by the organization. The girls will listen to sermons, hear about missionary work and bond as a team as they learn from others.  

At the end of the weekend, all teams can participate in a showcase. Divine Call Dance will be performing a contemporary dance to “Fall on Me” by NEED TO BREATHE. The showcase will have a relaxed format with no competition; instead, professionals will give feedback with the goal of improving the teams through constructive criticism. 

“It’s really refreshing because I feel like so much of the dance world is competition and very strict, so being able to just get feedback is nice,” Goad said. 

The dance club hopes to take the Liberty stage once again as they prepare to audition for the upcoming Coffeehouse “Animated.” For more information about Divine Call Dance, follow the group on Instagram @divinecalldance. 

Hernandez is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on X

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