Dancers changing the stigma on ministering through movement
Three dancers, one purpose. Kamal Anderson, 21; Ika Hines, 24; and Brandon Wynter, 21 - have created closer ties by ministering through movement, an idea brought to them by Lucas Musiq.
Hines said the fast-rising gospel rapper expressed a devotional desire to literally "shake up" the religious community by showing there was a lot to offer with non-traditional worship styles, and having dancers to spread the message would give it the added flair.
'A Great Experience'
"It has been a great experience from the start and the best thing about Not From Here (the name of the group) is we act like a family and we have not assigned a leader so to speak. When anyone has an idea, we come together as brothers, share it and see how we can deliver it," he said.
Hines, who is also an instrumentalist currently in his third year at the Edna Manley College of the Performing and Visual Arts, said that not everyone is accepting of contemporary dance as a means of worship.
"There are so many formats people worship God but there is always going to be a debate around dance and its inappropriateness or lack thereof. We have gotten so accustomed to those views; we make it our duty to say a word of prayer to get into the mood to minister with our dance moves because at the end of the day, it is for God, not to please anybody else," Hines told Dancers' Paradise. Wynter shared that a church leader told him 'dance is not created by God, and a person who creates it to dancehall sounds, is not under the influence of God'.
"My answer to that is dancing is another language, if you can't find the words, you can dance. As dancers, we try to match a move for each word in a song's lyrics and leave it for people to interpret. It's about letting your body flow and letting God know 'I am a living sacrifice for you'. This is the main inspiration (so) it also means, even though we are in this world, we are not of this world," said Wynter, who signed with the team this month.
He first danced with them for the Switch Up The Cycle music video recorded in 2019. That ignited the discussion about him becoming an official member.
Anderson noted that they are the only all-male praise dancer group. He and Leroy Cooper (who has since left the group) are the original Not From Here dancers of 2016.
"God created everything for a purpose and he created our bodies to move even to music which is something of the heavens. We are setting a standard that worship does not have to be a monotonous kind of thing, especially to the younger generations who we want to bring the ministry to more in an out-of-the-box-type of way," Anderson said.