by Gabriela Simich in , ,

Oakland-based Ross Dance Company performs at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre for the first time to present A New Breed of Worship, Los Angeles Praise Dance Festival this weekend. 

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On Sunday, July 28, I will be attending my first praise dance performance.  Like most classical and modern trained dancers, I am most familiar with Revelations by Alvin Ailey as a form of praise dance. Becoming acquainted with Ross Dance Founder and Director, Dr. Tecsia Evans and Assistant Director of Relations, Loran Tolbert, I have learned that there is a whole world of praise dance that I had paid little attention to.

Ross Dance is a professionally trained dance company that works with dancers of all backgrounds in their conference at Evolution Studios  this Saturday. Tolbert says that some participants have never danced before while others come from a strong dance background. The instructors guide dancers through a structured dance class that incorporates Scripture.  It is always refreshing to see dance companies with a community-oriented mission.

I asked Tolbert to tell me more about praise dance, and she defined it as, "any genre of dance that portrays the Gospel."  Being spiritual while dancing can be as simple as focusing your train of thought on God. Praise dancers use facial expressions and literal movement.  For example, to show struggle, the movement becomes heavy and grounded, and to show joy, the movement has a sense of release and lightness. Tolbert, a dancer herself, calls praise dance "practical dancing that is practical to life."  She believes in order to move an audience, you have to be transparent in your performance.  This kind of simplicity makes the dance accessible to the whole community.

Christ-centered dancing will be performed on Sunday evening by Ross Dance and featuring praise dance by Living Way, Shanae Arts, True Praise, Sodium Dance Company and POWER.  I am looking forward to this new experience in dance.  Follow me on Twitter @dancegab as I live tweet my experience using the hashtag, #praisedance. 




Sunday July 28th at 7pm 


Barnsdall Gallery Theater, 4800 
Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles (Map for Parking and Directions)


 $15 presale and $20 at door


Walk-In Registration Will Available for  LA Conference This Saturday at Evolution Dance Studio: http://conta.cc/18ynjo7