Pastor Ed Lapiz  Day by Day Ministries Cultural Redemption


The Soul of the Filipino in Dance

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The Christian 
and Dance

The Redemption of Dance for Christian Worship


There are matters concerning bodily movements in Christian worship that might as well lead to the ultimate question: To dance or not to dance?

To clap or not to clap? To raise hands or not to raise hands?
To kneel or not to kneel?



Pastor Ed Lapiz is the founder and Artistic and Dance Director of KALOOB Philippine Music and Dance Ministry. Read more

In spite of the conservativeness of Islamic teachings, Muslim dance survived and even flourished in the last six hundred years.

The Redemption of Dance

Just like in Biblical times, dance today has been and continues to be gravely corrupted and misused. However, this must not necessitate the complete and wholesale rejection and destruction of the art form. It is too precious, too beautiful and too powerful a tool to be abandoned and left entirely in the hands of the devil.

Dance Must be Redeemed for Christian Use!

Dance in the Philippines is largely associated with worship. Indigenous and even colonized Filipinos danced to pray and to express thanksgiving and deep spirituality. Even today, most traditional dances that survived the ravages of time are religious in purpose, form and essence. Even what some enthusiasts may classify as social dances are actually integral parts of larger contexts that are religious in character and purpose. But though very spiritual in nature, Philippine dance must be redeemed and purified if to be used in Christian worship as they have largely been associated with paganism.

Many ancient dances survived among tribal groups that successfully resisted colonization while the same type of dances evolved among peoples who have been Islamized or Christianized.

The strict segregation of the sexes among the more conservative Muslims and the evolution of the Subli into dances of devotion to the Cross and the Pandanggo to the Virgin Mary are just classic examples of such survival-through-accommodation. This is probably one of the reasons why iconoclastic Christian theologians and missionaries advocated and continue to move for the eradication of dance in the name of Christ; they perceive dance as strongholds of evil! But a “redeemed” and “purified” heritage is better than no heritage at all which is bound to happen if redemption of indigenous dance is not done at all. 

Redeemed dance in the hands of Christians is definitely better than abandoned dance in the hands of the unchurched!  To redeem such art forms from pagan use, practitioners must advocate and exclude or cancel texts and essences unacceptable to Christianity and use the greater part that will remain after “expurgation” in the context of Christian worship. (And a lot will remain.)

It is noteworthy that the Filipinos’ affinity with and attachment to dance caused them to subvert both Islam and Catholicism. They stubbornly kept their dances, however customized those have become due to accommodation of new and foreign encroachments just to deflect further suppression or destruction.

The Filipino’s expressiveness in dancing endures and survives three centuries of Spanish rule.

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A YouTube user uploads footage from the movie King David but replaces the original soundtrack with the song, “Dance like David Danced.”

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