I’ve seen liturgical dancing once. As genuine an expression of faith and joy it might have been for the dancers, it was not shared by the congregation. Just the opposite in fact. It was deeply troubling – like driving by a 20-car pile-up. You didn’t want to watch but you had no choice. Time seemed to stand still in the horror of it all. If these women had worn something besides a leotard it might not have been so heinous. The rule in church as in life is dress for your body size and shape. At least that’s the rule I’ve been following. Maybe they hadn’t heard that one. Just when I thought I would rather staple myself to a burning building than see any more it ended. And there was much rejoicing.
I think Alexandra over at Oremus has something to add!
I’ll say that it can be the same way with music in church. The folk-psalmist is singing their heart out on a bluesy rendition of a psalm. It makes the congregation uncomfortable to see someone emote in that manner. I’ve heard music in church that has given me that feeling. I’m sure I’m not alone. As a private devotion that music is wonderful but music in the Mass is like most everything else in the Mass, a communal prayer. And music in church is not performance, it is prayer – a musical offering. If it looks like a performance, or if someone is acting like it’s a performance, that makes the offering less genuine. Not unlike making a show of a offering in the temple while the widom gave all she had to live on without making a big to-do of it.