Saturday, February 22, 2014

MY STORY: CHANGING DANCE PARTNERS


By Angeline M Santiago Duran

I've shared bits and pieces of my life, here and there. You've already read about some of the horror stories of my childhood in middle school in Saved In The Dance, and even read a little about that day I surrendered my heart to the Lord and decided to give him my heart. But, there are lots of things in between and little by little I hope you give me the chance to share them all with you. No, it's not for attention to myself or to even try to look good before anyone. Many things I've shared I've kept to myself because I was embarrassed and fearful how they might be taken out of content. Perhaps, now, I have found the moment to shed some light on things I lived so that your relationship with God can become encouraged and strengthened.

I was fifteen years old when I was exposed to a dance group where I felt I could be a part of. Being with those in the group, I was able to learn different dance styles and have a place to practice what I believed what my personal style. As time went on, they became affiliated with a radio station, 98.7 Kiss fm. They would help out in street promotions where they would put these concerts out in public. Here I had the opportunity to dance in front of my community and it felt wonderful. You already know my heart for dancing if you've taken the time to visit my other blogs. 

As time went on, a famous singer of that time approached me and asked me if I would join him as a back up dancer and even choreograph dance routines for his video. That night I thought I would cry my heart out because that was a dream I had. I wanted to get to choreograph dances and be in all those wonderful music videos.  A few days later, he introduced me to some girls that I would dance with, showed me what he expected the group of dancers to wear and asked to see my routine. He immediately told me that although the dance was creative, he needed sex all over the place and I had to add sensuality to the dance.

I went home and shared some of the information with my mom, and I saw the sadness in her eyes as she listened. I knew my mom believed in my as a performer when it came to dancing, but she immediately pointed out that if I remained with this singer, I would be making a horrible mistake. His music was in every radio station and I longed to be part of the lights, the stage and the applause. Knowing I was hurting my mom, I continued to go to practices and look forward to my big debut.

 The clothing that would be my outfit for the video was beyond sexy and exposed my body in ways I was very uncomfortable showing. How would my mom feel to see me in a video dancing and dressed this way? That was all I could think of. Letting her down was a big problem for me so I went to the singer and shared my feelings. He was sarcastic, cold, and cursed me out as he told me that if I couldn't give him what I wanted, there were so many other girls that could get the job done. With that, he called one of the young women in the dance group and placed her in charge of practicing, in other words, I was out. 


That night, I went home and I let out tears of frustration as I asked God if this was his plan all along. I was upset that God would allow me to finally get a tiny bit of recognition and a foot into the door of the dance world, only to let me fall on my face. That night I prayed and asked God, "If you are real, take this, all of it, take it away and show me your way. I want to dance more than anything. But, my mom says you have different plans for me."

A few days later, a letter came in the mail from the dance group I belonged to, expressing that they had unanimously agreed to have me removed from their dance group. My mind quickly said, "No more being in the spotlight. No more performances in the street jams with the radio station. No more opportunities to be discovered in dance." And, just as I wanted to cry, my mind quickly recalled the prayer I had made and the promise I had made to the Lord that if He showed me the way, I would change dance partners. I would allow God to show me why my heart longed to dance. 


There's a saying many people say, "I used to dance with the devil, but now I belong to God." I danced because of the great joy I experienced in performing or in putting together dance numbers. I wouldn't say I was dancing with the devil, but had I not cared about my upbringing and honoring God, I know my life was destined for greatness in the world, but a quick downfall as the enemy would have taken over. I saw what happened to the girls in the group, where three of them actually left the singer and his career slowly came crashing down as well. I saw the depravity and corruption behind the scenes of dance videos. I saw and experienced people wanting to manipulate, use and toss you to the side when you didn't give in to their corrupt mindset. But, God heard my prayer and took me out just in time. 

I showed the letter to my mom and felt peace in my heart. Well, perhaps fame would never happen, but I was on my way to opening my heart to God's will and learning His love for me was greater than the applause of any crowd. A few months later, God placed people in my life that encouraged me to love God, love people and get into His Word. Not long after this, I gave my life to the Lord, as I shared in I Won't Go Back. 

Changing dance partners took time. I never imagined I would ever dance again once I became a Christian. The Lord kept the love in my heart for dancing but I just changed my reason for dancing and decided to perform for an audience of One. There is nothing that compares to telling God's story through dance and movement. When we are living for the Lord, our dance becomes a prayer, a weapon of war, a reason to celebrate and praise, and the onset of celebration. Changing dance partners from the world to the gospel is something I shall never regret. Have you changed dance partners, yet?



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