Dancing into WYD

The cardinal doesn’t appear drastically overdressed in this image from WYD. Contrast to cultural or native dress from these young women. It’s probably a relief for him to get away from the public pressure on him these days.

I was unpacking some of the kitchen last night as my wife was catching some of the opening Mass. (Turns out EWTN is part of the cable package in Ames.) I didn’t realize what she was watching until I heard the Glory to God. I read on CNS that there was lots of dancing before Mass:

(A)s the pilgrims gathered on the old docklands at Barangaroo, they heard testimonies of faith experiences at previous World Youth Days, watched dancing by a variety of Aboriginal Australian and South Pacific islander groups and cheered a procession of 160 national flags. While the official welcoming dances were taking place onstage, a group of six young men from Papua New Guinea offered their own choreographed blessing to the four directions of the compass from the place they found to stand in front of the estimated 4,000 concelebrating priests.

These types of special expressions always catch somebody’s flak, usually from the Catholic Right. But really, consider the various blowout secular festivities, especially the recent Fourth celebrations in the US. Isn’t almost every part of a public program something somebody winces at and waits for it to end.

As far as dancing is concerned, my exposure is as the sibling of a dance student and teacher. Most liturgical dancing I’ve seen is well done and appropriate, as is most solo vocal or instrumental music. My sense is that as long as dancing doesn’t horn in on what is appropriately an assembly activity, it should be treated in the same way at liturgy any performance art would be.

So for all the WYD pilgrims: blessings on your dancing days.

(Image credit: copyright (c) 2008 WYD.)

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Dancing into WYD

  1. Charles in CenCA says:

    Dreadful music, simply dreadful. Sydney’s version of National’s Stadium, save for the DC Mass at least had some singable portions of the Mass settings. What in the name of St. Cecilia is wrong with simple humility being present in the room when the brains planning these extravaganzas decide it’s time to start climbing upon each other’s plans to get to the top of a parfait mountain?
    I haven’t really kept up with much more than the headlines about C. Pell’s worries. But, I know he looked emotionally constipated when waiting around for the Sanctus/MA/Amen/LG to actually be sung.
    And my wife and I agreed it was beddybye time when Dana’s radiant face and voice appeared at Communion.
    Oh, Lord.

  2. Gavin says:

    I’ll never understand the need to have people dressed like stereotypes at these international gatherings. I wonder if the American representatives were dressed as Uncle Sam with a big ten-gallon hat?

    Was the dancing done before the liturgy? I get the impression it took place at an opening service of some sort. I’d be the last one to be interested in any sort of dancing, but I can’t really object to that, even if it is aboriginals (how would that make it worse, anyway?) “Liturgical” dancing, at least as it is practiced in the US, is beneath the Mass however. What I always see is women in tutus spinning in an uncoordinated fashion to a recording of a new-agey “Our Father”. Do that in your spare time for the Glory of God, absolutely! But Mass isn’t the place for that.

  3. Tony says:

    If this dancing was not during Mass then there’s no problem. If this dancing was done during Mass, then pagan rituals (or pseudo-pagan rituals) have no place in the celebration of the Holy Mass.

    Do you think that we in the Catholic Right™ don’t like dancing? What do you think, that we’re a bunch of Baptists or something? Next you’ll be saying we hate Bingo.

  4. Jimmy Mac says:

    This is supposed to be a UNIVERSAL church. Not all members have adopted the attitude of pseudo-European Frozen Chosen theocons. Different cultures have different ways of expressing their religious feelings and beliefs. And do not forget that this church is thriving in non-European settings and dying rapidly in those areas where it is necessary to put one’s knickers in the freezer before attending mass.

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