August 28, 2017
Through this sequence of blog posts called “Dancer in YWAM” we want to share with you stories from your fellow dancers, dancers who have come through YWAM. Find out more about other dancers who come from all different backgrounds, what their time with YWAM has been like, and the journey they have been on with Jesus.
Dancer: Alyssa Thompson
When did you first start dancing & what was your dance background pre-ywam?
I started dancing when I was five years old. Throughout middle school and high school I was at the studio five days a week training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, contemporary and hip hop and taking summer intensives and master classes from touring companies.
What DTS did you do?
I did the Fire and Fragrance DTS in Kona in 2009.
Any other YWAM Courses? Or Staff with YWAM?
After my DTS, I stayed on staff with Fire and Fragrance, I then completed my YWAM/UofN School of Dance (previously called SDS) in Lakeside, Montana. After being away from YWAM for a year, I staffed SDS Kona for two years and loved being part of the dance/arts community on that campus!
What was a highlight from a ministry time while on outreach?
I remember during my DTS outreach a few of us from my team were worshiping on one of the bridges in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. During one of the songs I felt compelled to dance. I remember making eye contact with some of the ladies dancing in the windows, and I just knew it was meant to be for them – maybe to be a reminder of something, maybe to bring hope, I’m not sure. After dancing for a few minutes I stopped and just stood on the bridge. Not too long after I stopped, a police car came to cross the bridge but stopped in front of me. I thought, “Oh no, am I going to get in trouble for not having a performance permit?” But he said, “Were you dancing just now?” I reply, “Yes”. He says, “It was beautiful, don’t stop.” Compared to other days on the bridges, I remember there being such a different feel in the air after that moment. Dancing in worship isn’t a formula, it can bring something else into the atmosphere, and this was one of those days.
What was an “Ah-ha” moment you had on God’s perspective of dance?
Throughout my years with YWAM, it was a process of realizing how much God LOVES dance. I remember how hard it was at first to get out of a performance mentality and just dance because it’s something that God created and He likes, but coming to that place – of finding freedom in movement – was such a liberating feeling.
I also remember first realizing how much power there was in dance. There was a specific time when we were praying for those involved in human trafficking and I could not come up with any words to say, but I couldn’t stop doing these certain movements. At that point I knew that my dancing was more powerful than any words I could try to say at that time.
Are you currently dancing/performing?
I am currently dancing part time with a modern company in Los Angeles as well as the occasional project based performance here and there.
How did dancing/training in YWAM influence what you’re currently doing?
My time dancing with YWAM provided a huge reminder that dance can have a large impact, it is a very powerful language. Whether you’re using dance to speak about political or spiritual issues, or you just want to dance because you feel happy or sad, your movement can say so much!
Would you and why would you encourage others to pursue joining YWAM as a dancer?
I would definitely encourage dancers to pursue discipleship with YWAM, at the very least for a short season of time. I believe it is something that can really help you find your own voice and even artistry as a dancer and a believer.
With Fire & Fragrance DTS offering a Dance Track starting September 2017, it is perfect timing to share a F+F DTS student story like Alyssa’s journey in dance and YWAM. She is a skilled dancer who jumped into DTS (even before the was a dance track here in Kona) with both feet and came out the other side dancing with a renewed passion! We hope her story encourages you to pursue deeper revelation of God’s love for dance, movement, creativity!
Stay tuned for more from other dancers from in this Blog Series “Dancer in YWAM”.