New York Times Features Raise Him Up Praise Dance School in ‘Praise Dancing Hits Manhattan’ New York, Mar. 9 /Christian Newswire/ — With the growing interest and inclusion of dance in Christian churches, the New York Times featured Wendy Heagy of Raise Him Up Praise Dance School in the Mar. 4th edition of Sunday New York Times – “Moved by the Spirit to Dance With the Lord.”
An accompanying online video piece, “Praise Dancing Hits Manhattan,” was also published. Long excluded from church services, praise dance has been gaining momentum in contemporary Christian worship throughout the US.
Raise Him Up Praise Dance School teaches students how to dance the Word of God using ballet, jazz, modern and African dance techniques with a focus on worship, praise, celebration and warfare. Sign language and mime are also incorporated in the movements.
“The word of God says we’re to glorify him with our bodies and that’s what we do,” states Wendy Heagy, founder of Raise Him Up Praise Dance School.
The students range in age from 5 to 80 years old. Many are sent for instruction by ministers, pastors and church leadership who have seen her and the Raise Him Up team minister and have witnessed how powerful the language of sanctified dance can be in spreading the gospel.
“In many cases we’ve seen breakthrough with dance ministry where sometimes the spoken word or music alone hasn’t gotten through” says Heagy. Recent visits to Rikers Island and Bedford state prisons in addition to outreaches in Germany have borne powerful testimonies as to its importance as a tool of evangelism.
Originally from Montreal, Wendy Heagy started teaching praise dance in Manhattan 7 years ago and has seen it increase from a few students to over a 100, with rapid growth in the last 2 years. Her students display the choreography that “is God inspired” in over a dozen churches around the New York area, throughout the US and overseas.
Wendy Heagy became a born again Christian after performing in an Off Broadway musical “Promises of Gold”. Leaving behind the life of a professional dancer/teacher that included appearances in feature film and Broadway, she and the Raise Him Up Ministry Team now conduct classes and evangelize as dance ministers in prisons, safe houses, street out-reaches, workshops and churches throughout the US, Germany, Mexico, and Aruba.