Project Dance’s vision is to bring hope and joy to broken cities; so what could be more appropriate for Paris at this point in time! Europe, and particularly France, may seem filled with fear and uncertainty, but God has a different plan for His world. Through God given gifts in movement, as dancers, we are uniquely placed to reveal God’s love that casts out all fear.
Project Dance started as Cheryl Cutlip’s response to 9/11; her initial desire to respond to her city’s pain has born an organisation that now reaches out to cities across the globe.
Project Dance’s first Paris event was in July 2016. The event was planned long before the terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice and, as events unfolded across Europe, some dancers felt unable to come, but 80 dancers felt called to minister to this broken city and her grieving people.
On Friday, after registration and collecting goody bags, everyone learnt a group dance which we then performed to draw crowds and release joy during each hour of the outreach. In the evening, after a show by dancers from across the world, we came together to worship and let God fill us and prepare us spiritually for the following day. The French dancers generously prayed for the international delegates; the sense of God’s spirit was tangible, as people received words and pictures.
Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny, almost too hot for 8 hours of continuous dance in the Place de la Republique. There were many challenges: the stage became so hot it burnt the dancers feet, overcoming sun burn and dehydration, the changing tent didn’t arrive until lunch time and someone’s bag and money was stolen. However, no one complained, and everyone rose to meet each challenge.
The sense of unity and purpose were overwhelming, the dance was breath-taking with so many amazing pieces: solo to large group, classical ballet to hip hop and everything in between. Each genre bringing God’s redemptive message to the streets of Paris. We saw miracles of healing, people moved to tears, members of the public sitting on a dirty pavement to watch the gospel being presented – it was humbling!
In the evening, we meet to thank God for all He had done and share our inspiring testimonies.
The last day was a chance to participate in masterclasses provided by incredible dancers from across the world. We learnt not only technique but they also spoke spiritually into our lives. Many of the dancers I meet at project dance were young and just starting their careers. It was so exciting to see them learn and grow over the weekend, and be inspired to dream. Watch out world; God’s dancers are on the move!
By Jackie Turner