Dancing with a Purpose: Transforming Lives Through Christ
You may think of praying or singing as a regular part of worship. But have you thought about dancing as worship? For Ana, God called her to dance at a very young age as a way to worship. And she didn’t just dance. This ignited a passion within her to cultivate a ministry that reaches others and transforms lives through Christ.
Anabel (Ana) Delgado Fernández has attended church since her mother embraced the Lord when she was a small child. She was baptized and began serving God at an early age and working with the pastor on many important church activities. Gradually, Ana learned about leadership, and she first danced as a part of worship at age 10. By age 15, she led the church’s dance ministry to prepare for important events such as anniversaries. Ana then participated on the church’s board and was trusted with the praise ministry. Finally, she became a key leader and proudly celebrates 10 years of ministry. When Ana isn’t working in ministry, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Ariel German Valdes.
From the time Ana first danced, she knew that dance was her passion. She felt that sometimes words didn’t express her gratitude and joy of being in the presence of God. Through dance, she can express everything and worship God with all her heart, soul, and body.
Over the years, she learned and improved her dancing skills. Then, Ana saw pastors use sports ministry, such as soccer, to connect with children, create fellowship, and bring people to know Christ. Also, some young girls preferred to dance instead of playing soccer, baseball, or other sports. That’s when she had a vision to open a dance school, to not only train dancers but also evangelists and leaders in the church.
With God’s inspiration and support from her sister-in-law, Patricia Coca Martinez, Ana launched a dance school at her church two years ago and created a two-year certification program. In the first year, she enrolled 15 students. The second year 20 students enrolled, and five students will graduate in a couple of months. Three teachers and four helpers support the program. The students dance to Christian music, sometimes in costumes or dance skirts.
She uses dance not only to glorify God but also as a tool to reach people in the community and teach them about Christ. Ana and the teachers go to homes and into the streets of her town to find teenagers and young girls interested in dancing. When they have a group, they start teaching them basic dance steps along with the principles of the Bible. Students may be most interested in dance at first, but when they learn about Jesus while learning to dance, many become more curious about Christ. Then, when they see a student attending Bible studies and services, developing a relationship with God, and becoming a disciple, they help the student grow their faith through the church.
Many students have shared that the school has greatly blessed their lives. Before attending, they didn’t know why they danced and didn’t believe that spiritual life was important until they learned about dancing’s connection to worship and heard about Jesus.
The idea to graduate students from the program stemmed from Ana’s love of doing things well for God. Graduation can remind students of their time at the dance school and everything they have learned. Students grow a lot in terms of talent, but more in their spiritual life and as ministers of the Lord. As part of graduation, she wanted to give students a certificate, not one printed at home. Ana wanted it to hold value and represent all of their effort and time invested so that they would value their ministry more. Therefore, Ana worked with Atulado to find a source to professionally print excellent certificates for the graduates, and Graduation Ink became a partner on the project. Now, Ana has beautiful certificates to give students on graduation day to commemorate their milestones.
When students graduate, they’re equipped as instructors to start a dance ministry at other churches and expand the ministry. Ana and her teachers can’t wait to see how their first five students change the world. She dreams of extending the school to Central and Eastern Cuba, but Ana knows if it’s in God’s plan, he will make it happen.
“My favorite Bible verse reminds me we can do anything with God’s grace. I may not do everything perfectly, but God’s strength is with me in moments of weakness. Moments when we’re not strong enough, is when God covers us with his grace and his power to make us stronger.”
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
II Corinthians 12:9