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Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

Using prophetic dancing in worship can help
bring healing and raise self-esteem

By Heather Kennison

While some people pray or sing to communicate with God, Mona Martin dances.

Dancing in God’s presence helps liberate women and teenage girls, providing a release when they feel torn down or broken, she said. It also enhances their self-esteem and body image.

Mona Martin
Mona Martin, Christian Dance Academy

Mona said she has always been a dancer, but it was not until recently that she found her calling in establishing and directing the Christian Dance Academy.

The academy is just a part of her ministry.

She also dances for her own church, Jesus is the Answer, teaching a group of young girls ages five to eight. Mona aims to help other churches start their own dance ministries.

Her goal is to be a role model and to ignite people’s dreams and passions.

The academy opened in January 2012 at the Emmanuel Family Life Center.  Instructors offer ballet, hip-hop and prophetic dance lessons to adults and children ranging from ages five and up.

 “We want to equip people to go to their local churches and places of worship and apply what they’ve learned here for the Kingdom of Christ,” she said.

The idea for the Academy came to her in October 2011 while she was working as a receptionist at Rockwood Clinic.  After six-and-a-half years in that job, she felt God was leading her in a new direction.

“I was at my desk, and God began to ‘download’ to me the blueprints for the Christian Dance Academy,” Mona said.  “I would go home and jot down the idea on some scratch paper.  Those ideas became my business plan.”

During her lunch breaks, she would learn about starting a business and eventually she filed for a for-profit organization under a sole proprietorship, since that was the quickest route.

Needing help, she turned to her former ballet instructor Stacie Collins.  When Stacie heard about Mona’s vision, she joined the team as an instructor.  Other members of the team include hip-hop instructor and prophetic dancer Ashley Douglas and administrator Stephanie Courtney.

Mona specializes in prophetic dance, which she describes as a way of bringing God’s presence to the congregation and clearing the atmosphere in order to prepare the way for the Word of God to enter into people’s hearts.

“It’s tapping into the Holy Spirit and into the music—tuning your ears to find the sound and how to move with the music,” she said.

While the dance is choreographed, Mona said, it is not too rigid, because the dancer needs to make room for the Holy Spirit to change it.

The movements need to be effortless and natural, like those of a swan, she said.

“Every body movement can be conveyed in a dance when you’re tapped into the Holy Spirit,” she said.

Mona has been dancing as a ministry for 10 years, since ordained minister Carol Cartwright from Texas visited Spokane and prophesied to her about dance.

Carol had said to her “Your name is no longer Mona, but you’re called Miriam.”

Miriam, Moses’ sister, was a prophetic dancer in the Bible, Mona said. After the delivery from Egypt, she led a group of women with tambourines in a dance of victory.

Dancing was traditionally a part of Jewish customs, but is stressed less in Christian worship, she said.

She began to look for ways to serve through dancing. The Christian Dance Academy is the fulfillment of that goal.

“The goal is to allow the freedom and liberation of the dance to come back into the church,” Mona said.

Prophetic dance, in particular, aims to “bring those things which have been broken back to God, allowing God to resurrect them,” she said.

Mona grew up in Los Angeles in a family that did not attend church. 

She had been attending a Baptist church there before moving to Spokane in 1984 as a sophomore in high school, but did not give her life completely to Christ until 1994.

“Before I found the Lord, I was a dancer in a club,” Mona said. “Little did I know that God was planning something greater for me even through my doing that.”

She worked in the medical field for 16 years as a dietician and receptionist before being inspired by the Spirit to dance.

Dancing for Mona is a way to bring something relevant from this generation into the church.

“We are a visual generation,” she said. “We love music and we love to dance—we comprehend that way.

“What is more relevant than to dance in the house of the Lord?” she said.

As a single mother, Mona said she has been through some tough financial times. She is grateful for the support of her two sons, Marcus and Xavier.

Mona gives the credit for the Christian Dance Academy to her staff and God.

“I couldn’t have thought this up on my best day,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about business.”

The Christian Dance Academy offers five classes, with participation varying from 10 to 30 students.

“It’s been slowly growing, a progression of people finding out who we are and what we are,” Mona said.

Most of the dancers are women, but a couple of men have come with their daughters, and the academy is open to people of both genders. 

Mona said that as a minority, African-American single mother herself, she tries to cater to the underprivileged community.

 “It is not too late to do what God has called us to do,” she said. “We have a purpose and destiny for our lives.

“As we keep our relationship with God, then God will bring us eventually to what we were called to do from the beginning of time,” she believes.

The theme of the Christian Dance Academy is “Dancing for an Audience of One,” said Mona, explaining that the key is dancing for God’s glory, instead of dancing for entertainment.

For information, call 217-8025 or visit cdaspokane.vpweb.com.