Faithful Central Bible Church’s dance company delivers amazing performances while teaching people of all ages the art of dance.
By Tracey Edwards
The Faithful Dance Company and the Impact Performing Arts Conservatory are performing highly energetic and spiritual shows that dazzle crowds at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, at special events throughout Southern California, and the dancers have even performed Africa.
The church’s dance company typically performs at the church every third Sunday during the 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. services, and they’re gearing up for Easter performances on April 19 and 21. About 5,000 people will be in attendance for those performances.
Imani Harris is the artistic director of Dance Ministry at Faithful Central Bible Church, and she founded Impact 10 years ago. She works with dancers as young as four years old all the way out to senior citizens, and she works with dancers of all experience levels; from none to highly experienced.
“The beauty of this is that at Faithful Central, you don’t necessarily have to know how to dance,” she said. “But you do have to have a love for dance, and a willingness to want to learn.”
The members of the church’s dance company come from the membership of the church, and Impact features dancers from throughout the greater Inglewood and Los Angeles areas.
Like many forms of performing arts, the benefits go well beyond the activity the dancers are performing.
“Art is a very important part of the human development in general,” Harris said. “Dance is an activity that allows young people, or really anybody, to get focus, discipline, and it gives them an outlet to express themselves. I would say that it’s another language.”
There are also health benefits, as Harris points out that many children do not play outside as much as past generations, and adults struggle to find time to exercise.
“You have to be really intentional about exercising and moving,” she said. “So this language called dance also helps people health wise, in as far as keeping you moving, keeping you active, and keeping you healthy.”
Dance can also be beneficial to children who play sports.
“As an athlete, footwork and memorization of choreography are very important,” Harris said. “As a dancer, your core strength is very important. If you incorporate those things in sports, it will make you a healthier, more stabilized football, baseball, soccer player, or track runner.”
Harris is emphasizing sports to attract more boys into the dance programs.
Coming up this June, Impact will have a six-week summer camp, which will be held at the church. Children aged four to 17 will be trained in dance, vocals, and acting. Drop off for the camp is 7 a.m. with pick up at 6 p.m.
“Everything is brought together to create a production,” Harris said.
The camp will culminate with a performance of “Toy Story” on July 27.
Impact has also taken a journey to Africa for a dance exchange with children in Kenya.
“The experience was really awesome because you learn that people are really the same,” Harris said. “We’re very connected to the people in Africa. The language of dance is universal, and not only are we there teaching them African American dance, that’s fused with West African dance, but they’re also teaching us their cultural dance as well. That has been a huge learning experience for us.”