GodStrongDance gets its debut in La Mesa

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Something brand-new got a jump-start in La Mesa on April 30. GodStrongDance, a dance venue of contemporary Christian music, debuted at the American Legion in La Mesa. Its creator Patty Loy was DJ for the evening, playing familiar songs such as “Greater” by Mercyme.

All the people on the floor below her were smiling and clapping—and dancing. 

Something brand-new got a jump-start in La Mesa on April 30. GodStrongDance, a dance venue of contemporary Christian music, debuted at the American Legion in La Mesa. Its creator Patty Loy was DJ for the evening, playing familiar songs such as “Greater” by Mercyme.

All the people on the floor below her were smiling and clapping—and dancing. 

“We’ve been hungry for this,” said Susan Larkin after swing dancing with friends to “Life” by Beckah Shae.

“I recognize people from all over. This is like a reunion,” said Mike Pfeifer, looking around as people waltzed to “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin.

Contemporary Christian music is not a new phenomenon in itself. Since the 1960s, the genre has grown in popularity. The music has enjoyed a large revival since 2000.

These days, it is nearly impossible to find a church that does not engage in some sort of contemporary Christian music with a full band. The musical style makes it impossible to sit still and quiet in church. As a matter of fact, it can be quite danceable.

This is where Loy stepped in.

With the help of some friends from her church, Loy dreamed up the idea of GodStrongDance. For years, Loy had yearned for a dance ministry. When she met up with her friend Martha Hughes last summer at Spirit West Coast, the two put their heads together, and a ministry was born.

“I immediately knew we needed to be a part of making GodStrongDance a reality,” Hughes said.

Loy approached Lemon Grove residents Eric and Velma Brandauer, asking them for help in starting a new dance venue. Together with Ray Styers, the four of them held their first official meeting in November of 2015. Their roles were defined at that meeting. Loy would be the “visioneer” for the group as well as the DJ. Hughes and Styers help with advertising and technical support. The Brandauers teach the dance lesson at the beginning of each dance event.

Dance lessons for Christian music?

“GodStrongDance is intended to be a good mix of freestyle and partner dancing,” said Brandauer. While freestyle dancing is always fun, the team wanted to make sure there was a good icebreaker at the beginning of the dance. Partner dancing is a great way to do so.

Eric and Velma Brandauer teach a version of 4-count swing easy for beginners to pick up. During the lesson, partners are rotated so that each person meets at least ten people.

“I’ve taught at many other Christian dance events in Southern California, but I’m excited that this was the first one with exclusively Christian music,” he said.

The dance is good for all adults over the age of 18.

A hurdle that Loy and her team faced is the fact that several large denominations disavow dancing in church, calling it immoral for various reasons.

“This is why I believe dancing has remained in the dark and not accepted by churches. There are still churches today that want nothing to do with dancing of any kind,” Loy said.

Brandaeur agreed. “Many churches have been afraid to allow dancing because they fear what it might lead to. But we shouldn’t live in fear and throw out this great way of connecting with each other and God.

“In my life, God used dance to bring me out of my shyness and make me a bolder man and eventually a better husband,” Brandaeur said.

Loy said that the Rock Church has been very supportive of GodStrongDance, due to Hughes’ and Styers’ involvement with that church. Journey Community Church has also provided support by having its singles group get the word out to the church community.

GodStrongDance’s mission is to create a place where all adults who like to listen to and especially dance to Contemporary Christian music can have fun in a friendly atmosphere regardless of age.

“I think there are too many events that try to segregate people by age. We plan to work hard to break that mold,” Brandauer said.

Loy envisions GodStrongDance becoming a regular venue with possible live Christian bands.

“This is a good way to express our faith, a way of worshipping, too,” said Nathan Pagador, who danced nearly every dance he could that evening. 

GodStrongDance is appropriate for all adults over the age of 18. The next dance will take place on July 30 at the Balboa Park Club Ballroom. To find out more, go to www.godstrongdance.com.

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