Costumes, Flags, and Streamers Making Your Dance Honoring to Yahuwah
by Teri Martin
Costumes: Congregations and/or families seeking to use costumes can find many resources available on the web. By entering a search on “praise dance costumes,” you will find a list of business and ministries offering ready made costumes. However, you can have just as beautiful a presentation with your dancers wearing white or black shirts and slacks and purchasing, or making an apron (ephod). There are several lengths of aprons to choose from, mid-thigh to calf length.
Don’t forget your male worship dancers. A neutral color, long sleeve shirt, slacks and a vest works well, and a sash around the waist is also effective. Or gain a distinctive Jewish feel by purchasing tallit katans, they are prayer shawls that are worn like a poncho.
As you begin your search for costumes, please keep the following modesty guidelines in mind. This way, your costumes will be a beautiful reflection of your dance, offering no distractions from worship.
Modesty Guidelines: Modesty in costumes is an important issue to discuss, in order to be pleasing to Elohim in every way. One way to do this is to make sure that no one is distracted by the costumes. Distractions to worship could include, but not limited to the following: tightly fitted bodice, low neck lines, v-neck lines, slits in skirts, tops that expose the belly when hands are lifted high etc...
A Very Modest Approach: Therefore, we suggest a very modest approach. In speaking with one worship dance leader, she said that she tells her dancers to check their costumes in a mirror. Do some dance steps, raise your hands, bow etc... If skin shows, make the corrections. Overlays and aprons are beautiful, and the added layers will add modesty for your dancers as well.
Skirts with long slits can also be distracting. You can solve this problem by using very full gathered skirts. If your existing costume has a smaller slit, you can wear a leotard legging or palazzo pants (full gathered dance pants.) Picking leotards and pants the same color as your costume helps to keep the continuity of the costume.
This very modest approach is just another way of preparing our hearts to worship, and helping us ready in the responsibility of leading others in worship. There are several good sources for modesty guidelines on the web, but I found one in particular to be straight forward and helpful: www.bonasdancesite.homestead.com/costumes.html
Streamers, Flags & Standards: Streamers, Flags and Standards are very effective ways of worshiping in Dance. It is also a way for those who do not feel comfortable dancing, or are physically unable to dance, to participate in a very meaningful way. Streamersare long ribbons attached with a swivel on the end of a dowel. Beautiful movements of color are produced, by moving your arms in some very basic movements. The shorter streamers can be mastered with a little bit of practice, and with easy choreography, you will add a beautiful element to your worship. Flags are rectangular, and are attached to a dowel as well. They are held in your hand and waved. You can choreograph or simply wave the flags to the music. Many times, your older worshipers will enjoy participating in this way. A Standard is like a flag, but it is attached to a pole that is held upright. They are usually very big, and are great for displaying the Characteristics or Names of Elohim.
A standard was used in the Bible for several reasons, the chief reason being identification. A Standard went out before armies to identify the nation of the advancing soldiers. It also inspired them, reminding the soldiers what they were fighting for. The children of Israel used the standards to identify which tribe they belonged to. It was important to remember their heritage so that they would receive their inheritance. You see, when Elohim brought them into the Promise Land, they were given land by their tribe. You can see the richness that the standards bring to your worship. They identify: Who we follow, Who we put our trust in, Who we are, and What our inheritance in Yeshua is. How many of us grew up singing “His Banner Over Me is Love”? The word banner is “degel” in Hebrew and means a flag, banner or standard. In other words, I am identified by His Love. How powerful! Ready made streamers, flags and standards are available on the Internet. Streamers can be reasonable in price, but I have found that flags and standards are quite expensive to order ready-made. However, you can make your own flags. You can produce some beautiful flags and standards at a fraction of the cost of ready-made ones.
Costume and other Resources We have linked to some modest costume styles below. Please note that not all of the items presented in these websites may be appropriate. Please see the modesty guidelines for more information.
Moriah Ministries- Video Dance Instruction Dances to Messianic Music available in beginner and intermediate dance. Teach your team with popular Messianic Worship music by Paul Wilbur and others. Many songs are available on albums with split trax for live performers. Also has a dance instruction video for children.
Messianic Jewish Webstore - Messianic Webstore & Catalog Web store and catalog for Messianic books, CDs, shofars, gifts, and More!
Worship Him Ministries Inc.- Worship Flags Web store and information on Worship Flags, these are smaller than many flags and are great for use in rooms with a standard ceiling. Also, the right size for your younger worshipers, and reasonable in price.