Dance Ministry Ethics #5: Inspiration or Imitation
October 26 – 30, 2009 is Dance Ministry Ethics Week here on Paneh’s site. Each day a new topic will be featured for discussion. The scenarios presented are based on real events however no actual names will be used.
This is the last day in the series. I want to thank everyone who has participated up to this point. You’ve all brought out some great points and I’ve enjoyed reading the different thoughts on all topics covered. The topic for day 5 is Inspiration or Imitation.
There seems to be a trend of movement artists being inspired by choreography they see presented by other ministries, or on video channels such as YouTube. Some or all of this choreography is then injected into their ministry piece. The amount of changes that have been made vary as well as rather permission was granted or credit given. All three of those will probably factor into rather or not this behavior is deemed ethically acceptable.
When dance ministry is witnessed, it leaves a lasting impression with those who were able to receive it. There is a direct link between our senses and our memory. With dance ministry we see and hear so our brain subconsciously stores that information. If you’ve ever seen a praise dance to a particular song, then everytime you hear that song in the future you may remember the dance witnessed because your brain has created a correlation between what was heard and what was seen.
Consequently, when creating choreography based off of a song seen ministered before, often times it is difficult to separate what was previously witnessed from the new.
Sometimes dancers are so moved by the power of God through a particular ministry that they desire to recreate the atmosphere so others may experience the type of breakthrough they may have experienced. They were inspired (or influenced) by what they experienced and desire for others to experience the same.
I’ve discussed this before on Facebook and the responses usually fit into the categories below
- Using someone else’s choreography is NOT OK
- Using someone else’s choreography is OK with permission
- Using someone else’s choreography is OK as long as I give credit
- Using someone else’s choreography is OK as long as it’s modified
- Using someone else’s choreography is OK…God is the originator and creator of all things. We are mandated to share the gospel
This does not just apply to choreography, but other forms of intellectual property as well. A few years ago, the entire mission & vision statement for Paneh Praise Dance & Mime Ministry was copied word for word to another dance ministry site. I contacted the individual and it turns out is was a teenager excited about launching his own ministry. I was able to assist him to create his own vision with the help of his parents and ministry leader. This also happens among those that would be categorized as seasoned ministers.
Should this be a concern? All ideas and inspiration are ultimately from God
Is choreography "intellectual property"?
God is the originator…so do we "own" choreography? In other words, do we have a right to say if someone else can present it or not?
I’ll share more of my personal thoughts on the topic in the comments. But for now…
It’s your turn!
Do you believe it is OK to use someone else’s choreography?
Would you be concerned if choreography the Lord allowed you to create was presented by someone else?
Vote in the poll below! NOTE: With this poll, you can choose more than one answer
Share your own stories / testimonies, insights and questions below!
Posted by Lakita Fane
Join our FREE newsletter to receive monthly emails with additional articles, upcoming events, promotions, discounts and resources.