June 29, 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. What was their experience with YWAM? Would they recommend YWAM to other dancers? 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: Chelsea Dawn
When did you first start dancing & what was your dance background pre-ywam?
I began seriously training in dance in my performing arts high school at age 15. Before that it was really just watching the Baryshnikov’s Nutcracker at Christmas, watching figure skating during the Olympics, and creating choreography with my sisters for our family to watch.
What DTS did you do?
I did my first DTS in 2005 and then a 2nd DTS together with my husband in 2015/16.
Any other YWAM Courses? Or Staff with YWAM?
I did a 2 month program that was called Dance Summer of Service (DSOS) in 2005. I also completed a School of Dance (previously called School of Dance Studies) in Lakeside, Montana in 2007. I then staffed two Schools of Dance from 2009 to 2011. I also staffed a program called Summer of Dance in that time. And most recently, I took a Bible Core Course with YWAM San José Costa Rica.
What was a highlight from a ministry time while on outreach?
1. During a summer outreach as a student, we performed on a street corner in Taipei, Taiwan. Afterward we were to hand out cards to the audience with information to attend English classes at the coffee shop connected to the YWAM base called The Rock. One young man approached me so I shared Jesus with him and invited him to pray the prayer to accept Christ. He did. I left feeling so discouraged because I didn’t believe it could be so easy to accept Christ and vowed never to invite anyone to repeat the words of that prayer again. Five years later when I lead an outreach to the same place and we performed in The Rock cafe. This same young man approached me and told me that he had been studying the bible in the cafe and even volunteering there ever since our encounter on the street. I was humbled by God in that moment. Never say never.
2. Once on an outreach we performed in a University to Chinese Dance Majors. It was an in-studio exchange. First they performed and then we performed. We weren’t allowed to share about Jesus, so we only told them that this choreography was created with them especially in mind (It was an intercessory piece by choreographer Jolene Konkel). Once we finished performing every dancer had tears in their eyes. We didn’t have to say a word. They were artists and they got it. We were able to pray and chat with them afterward. Art Speaks.
What was an “Ah-ha” moment you had on God’s perspective of dance?
The two above memories would be a few examples of my ¨ah ha!¨ moments with God in regards to dance in missions.
I am a very academically minded person; I’m the kind of person who has Holy Spirit moments reading philosophy. So when I discovered YWAM´s School of Dance program that integrated loving God with dance history, composition, and technique I really found my note. Art is a powerful tool of influence in the world today. I absolutely believe God wants us to be on the forefront of this sphere.
God has called me specifically to disciple dancers and to mobilize dancers (latin dancers in particular) to minister to other dancers and artists. I have a big heart for the industry of lost artists. I believe artists are best equipped to speak and minister to other artists. We need to learn how to speak their language and bring the gospel to this incredibly secularized sphere of society in a relevant, loving way!
Are you currently dancing/performing?
I recently spent a month performing in Minneapolis in the Minnesota Fringe Festival. I have danced professionally with secular and christian companies, taught in secular academies as well as christian. Currently I’m hoping and working to pioneer the dance department here in YWAM Costa Rica. All in God’s timing and leading.
How did dancing/training in YWAM influence what you’re currently doing?
YWAM was the first time I really saw faith and professionalism in dance integrated intellectually. The connections I made with other students, teachers, and guest artists continue to open doors to this day. We are a global family that is only getting bigger. The relationships and opportunities that have come from my time in YWAM are the most valuable to me, not to mention the deep love for dance, theory, and technical excellence that it instilled in me.
YWAM helped me believe that I could do this professionally and all to God´s glory!
Would you and why would you encourage others to pursue joining YWAM as a dancer?
1. If you are a talented and trained dancer, discipleship with YWAM will prepare you to answer the toughest questions in your profession and equip you to minister to other artists. It will deepen your roots in Christ so that you remain unmoved by the changing winds of success, failure, insecurity, persecution, etc. The arts industry is a tough and very secularized industry, YWAM can prepare you to be the impact and the influencer for Christ.
2. If you are a dancer who loves Jesus with a heart for missions but doesn’t have very much professional training, YWAM Dance will push you to grow in excellence and professionalism so that the message you want to share with the world is weighted with relevance. God is deserving of excellence and the world will respect what you have to say when you come trained and ready to speak to them at their level.
Any final words?
God is doing a new thing! Praise His Holy Name!!!
Chelsea will be one of the Guest Instructors for September 2017 School of Dance in YWAM Kona. She is an extremely skilled and knowledgable dancer, with a true gift and anointing from the Lord in the area of dance.
Stay tuned for more from other dancers from in this Blog Series “Dancer in YWAM”.