The Zion Dance Project is a growing platform and outlet for Christian artists and is comprised of dancers around the world in various dance careers and journeys.
This space provides professional dancers with the opportunity to present high quality and unabashedly faith-filled art, both online and in theater settings.
ZDP seeks to foster God-centered collaborations in innovative ways. With this platform, ZDP hopes to bring more of an awareness to artists of the spiritual principle and power of integrating one’s dance and faith together.
We hope to illuminate dance communities social streams with spiritual awareness and stand as a witness to the ‘answer-seeking generation.’
ZDP also works as a project dance company, with the unique capacity to present work in traditional and unconventional venues.Professional level dancers are hired to rehearse and perform based on varying project events.
ZDP offers informative opportunities through teaching workshops, masterclasses, high school demonstrations/performances, and lectures. – from the Zion Dance Project site
Vincent and Abigail Hardy, founders of Zion Dance Project, harbor so much wisdom, depth and gifting; it’s palpable when talking with them and hearing their hearts. We hope you are encouraged and gain insight from their artistic perspectives in this interview with Clearpath.life creative director, Camille DC Sutton. ZDP: Movement that #LightsTheWay.
CDCS: Who are you, Vincent Hardy? What do you do?
VH: When I think of this question, I don’t think of who I am now, but who I’m becoming. Who has God spoken that I am? And I fight to keep that my reality and perspective. I’m becoming someone seeking after the heart, perspective and principles of God and what He wants in this hour, in this day, in my life. Sometimes that leaves no answers, but I’m born to be a seeker of his face.
Practically though, I’m a dancer, artist, choreographer, teacher, director, facilitator…I teach people of all different ages, from kids to adults, how to use their bodies in worship and find relationship and community with God through dance. I love to create works that express His glory and reveal His story and word in movement. Allowing people to see deeper truths of God through dance, almost like a parable. I’m a worshipper, I love the prophetic and prayer, and I love finding different ways to do all of them.
CDCS: Who are you, Abigail Hardy? What do you do?
AH: I’ve had multiple prophetic encounters where I’ve heard the word “mother” over my life. I have a mother’s heart. In all things I do, I approach things with authority but love and care for people.
I’m a teacher and a dancer. I also teach various ages, from kids to adults, in many different styles of dance. I really love ballet and the art of that technique. I love to teach people how to dance from the inside out, from who they are deep down. My desire as a choreographer is to tell untold stories – stories of people who haven’t had their story told or haven’t had a voice to tell it.
CDCS: What are you both most excited about at the present?
VH: We are entering our second year of marriage in June, so I think getting to know each other better is what we’re most excited about. Getting to know us and giving that to the world. We want to see His destiny fulfilled in the earth in bold, passionate, unashamed ways.
CDCS: How did Zion Dance Project come about? WHY Zion – what does Zion represent?
VH: This is an eternal calling for both of us and why we think God brought us together. It’s what we were made for.
There’s an unreached people group in the dance community of professional artists that we feel called to. Our message to them is “Rise up and go out, bring people into the kingdom of God!”
Two years before we began ZDP, something started rising up in me. I felt like God wanted to make Himself known in dance and in the arts. Zion comes from the Bible, the tabernacle that David rebuilt on Mt. Zion, “where God dwells.” We want to see God dwell in arts communities around the world.
Zion Dance Project came about from a cry in our hearts, and God gave us a unique blueprint. In December 2016, everything came together…we started pushing it on social media, project events, worship gatherings, etc.
CDCS: How would you characterize one another’s movement style?
AH > VH: As a mover, Vincent has this extreme style of fluidity but can also go into agile, sharp, highly expressive movement as well. He really moves from the view and the lens of what he sees as the greater picture of an artist, then fills in the details, rather than picking out details and moving into a greater picture.
VH > AH: When I see Abigail move, I feel like she’s a safe haven, a cove, a place of comfort, a sanctuary of peace. David would go to safe places to escape turmoil. There’s an invitation to go into these safe places with the Lord. And Abigail carries this invitation in her movement, especially when she’s in her most free place, an ethereal essence of safety.
CDCS: Has dancing revealed anything to you about relationship and marriage?
VH: There’s a lot of humility and surrender that’s needed, but also a lot of clarity of direction and knowing of one’s self. If you don’t know who you are, then your partner can’t know either. There needs to be resistance but release and knowing how much one needs in order to make the dance complete. Trust is necessary, but also freedom. I really believe that moving and living have so many parallels.
AH: If two people were performing an improvisation duet together, they’d be giving and taking and switching different positions, leading and then not leading. But even if someone made a mistake, it would be their performance together, so in the end, they would cover each other in a way that fills the gap. Together they make a beautiful piece. We all have faults and weak places, but having others to be strong in those places is so important.
CDCS: What’s something you’d like to see the body of Christ embrace from God through dance?
AH – I think there’s a need for the heart of the artist to have a home, and I think the body of Christ as a whole can sometimes look away from artists because they do things that might be outside of the norms or outside of tradition.
With artists, it’s really important that you receive their gift when you express yours. Don’t shun what they see as their identity. If they come to a church and are told that what they do isn’t accepted, in default, they feel unaccepted.
I think there’s a big need for openness, to be open to the gift of an artist and see the beauty that’s in it. As you receive the gift and really honor it, Christ meets them and transforms their gift into something that brings Him glory.
I would say to leaders in the body of Christ to give artists a place of importance in the church and in their groups, not just say “you can come;” not just a sideshow, but a true honoring of their gift.
CDCS: Dance, spiritual practice, and relationships seem to seamlessly weave together in your lives. How would you describe the process of discipleship and following Jesus in your dance craft – and how does it uniquely express itself?
VH: For me, I realize that I’m a worshipper, but as I grow, I’m called to be a leader of worshippers. There’s an importance and responsibility that rests on you as you become a shepherd…when the people He places before you are His sheep, not your sheep. The sheep will follow – what are they being presented by the shepherd? I feel like God’s given me an ability to push people higher and deeper.
In the dance community, much of discipleship is seeing how to use the gift of movement to help dancers understand more of what it is to be a follower of Christ. They understand the language of dance, but they may not understand the supernatural language of God yet – it’s finding a way to merge the two together.
CDCS: What’s the most significant feedback you’ve received thus far from the Zion Dance Project?
AH: The greatest excitement has been since our summer series last year…just to see the effects of change in peoples’ lives. To hear dancers who have said “Before, I danced because it was what I did, it was my art and my talent, but now it’s my purpose. Now, I see that God has called me to dance. I’m meant to honor him through it.”
To hear people who have performed all of their lives, say “I’m so nervous before a performance now because it’s not about me anymore.” Hearing testimonies in their own lives of the way they’ve become more confident in who they are as a person.
Beyond that, we have a social media aspect of Zion Dance Project where we feel called to fill social media with the presence of God through art. Hearing people who are excited to see what we’re doing and what God is doing…it’s exciting to have a voice in that area.
CDCS: If you could teach, perform, minister in dance anywhere in the world where would you like to go and why?
VH: I want to go to Africa! Somewhere where there are lots of kids and people are FREE. I really want to go everywhere. And I feel like that’s what ZDP is about: God has given us the whole earth…everywhere.
AH: Since I was little, I’ve had a huge heart to travel and do mission work outside and inside of the US, but I would love to go to Jerusalem. I feel a special place in my heart for Europe and Asia and have gotten to go there for short periods which really confirmed that call in my heart.
I want to use dance in the nations because it’s a language, a universal language that God speaks through emotion and heart and feeling. Even if I never have a verbal conversation with a person, but they watch me dance and, in turn, move and respond, we can have an entire transformed life.
I had the privilege to dance over someone in South Korea who had 4 weeks to live. Basically through movement, I expressed that I wanted to give them a gift of love, and they started weeping and lifted their hands out to me to receive the gift. To see the joy and transformation in that person’s face was so incredible. I believe God touched their heart and gave them peace. To see the possibility of God using dance to heal and touch a heart without me having to speak the same verbal language as them is just amazing.
CDCS: What is God’s invitation to the untrained dancer in their personal spiritual practice?
AH: I feel there’s something really sweet about using the body that God created to honor Him back. To anyone who doesn’t consider himself/herself a dancer, I would say consider moving through your prayers and worship to find a greater sense of freedom. If you feel burdened, move to lift the burdens. If you feel anxiety, move to release it and cast your cares on God. Glorify Him through your expression of movement. Try adding the movement that expresses your praise, worship and prayer. Just try it – you might find a greater sense of freedom or feel the Lord touch you in a new way that you haven’t felt before.
Being a dancer, I feel like a have a gift to experience the Lord on that level, and I want other people to feel the depth of God’s touch and honor He brings when you give your creative body back to Him through movement.
CDCS: What is God’s invitation to the aspiring professional dancer?
VH: That’s a big one because the invitation is so deep and so high that you can’t even imagine! To come into the fullness of the power of the dancer, of the worshipper, is a calling of being a spiritual voice in the earth through movement. Let God’s glory manifest itself through every part of your being, and move with that.
We have the ability to cast demons out, to bring healing, set the captives free – all of the things that we use our voice to do – but maybe God’s really wanting it to be all of you, not just your heart, mind and mouth, but your entire being to glorify Him.
When we get past the roadblock that the church has put in front of our bodies/temples, then we will use our entire tabernacle to the fullness, not just compartmentalize, but give Him the whole thing and allow Him to use the whole thing for His glory.
Check out their upcoming work coming THIS SUMMER: