This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Liturgical dancing - the only way to worship

Advent is here, and many readers have asked me, "How can I brighten my services with a little liturgical dancing? The traditional litany of the Mass is so predictable, with its obsessive focus on God, and my congregation is crying out for novelty and entertainment."

So we have got together with some of the greatest liturgical experts of our time, to present a new translation of the Mass that can be (and should be) danced to. Out go the ancient Latin texts, and in come Spirit-of-Vatican-II dances from the period with which our experts are most familiar, from the 1940s to the 1970s!

arms raised

KYRIE (arr. P. Inwood)

One, Two, Three O'clock, Four O'clock rock,
Five, Six, Seven O'clock, Eight O'clock rock.
Nine, Ten, Eleven O'clock, Twelve O'clock rock,
We're gonna rock around the clock tonight.
Dr Eccles, the Regius Professor of Liturgy at Oxford, explains: England's "Mr Liturgy" has chosen to replace the boring "Kyrie Eleison" stuff with a more rhythmic version, which marks the passage of the hours, while at the same time bringing us meekly to our Maker. It states our devout intentions for the Mass: "O Lord, we shall rock around the clock tonight."

liturgical prance

GLORIA (arr. B. Farrell)

You put your left arm in,
Your left arm out.
In, out, in, out,
You shake it all about.
You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around,
That's what it's all about!
Eccles: Bernie knows that all forms of worship are equally valid, even ones that don't have much to do with God, and so she has chosen to glorify the Lord by saying, in effect, "God created us to dance, and, when you get down to basics, that's what Christianity is all about."

dancing vicaress

CREDO (arr. D. Schutte)

Oh baby.
Yeah come on shake!
Oh, it's in the bag,
The hippy hippy shake!
Well now you shake it to the left,
Shake it to the right,
Do the hippy shake, shake,
With all your might!
Eccles: A powerful affirmation of faith from Dan Schutte, there. "Oh, it's in the bag," is a very concise summary of God's purpose in the world, I feel. "Do the hippy shake, shake, With all your might!" is certainly telling the world in no uncertain terms that we are backing God!


SANCTUS (arr. K. Mayhew)

Well, shake it up, baby, now (Shake it up, baby)!
Twist and shout (Twist and shout)!
C'mon c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, baby, now (Come on baby)!
Come on and work it on out (Work it on out)!
Eccles: A new take on the boring old "Holy, holy, holy" routine that drives so many people away. Kevin tells us to shake our bits to the Lord, and show Him we're gonna work it on out! This is just what we have come to expect from a man of sincere and deeply-held faith.


BENEDICTUS (arr. G. Kendrick)

You are the Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen.
Dancing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine!
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life,
See that girl, watch that scene, digging the Dancing Queen!
Eccles: Well, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" is very old-fashioned, and Graham has recognised that we may want to celebrate other blessed people, perhaps ones with a greater tendency to dance!


AGNUS DEI (arr. E. White)

Hands, knees, and boomps-a-daisy! I like a bustle that bends.
Hands, knees, and boomps-a-daisy! What is a boomp between 
Hands, knees, oh, don't be lazy. Let's make the party a wow.
Now then, hands, knees, and boomps-a-daisy! Turn to your 
   partner and bow. Bow-wow!
Eccles: Estelle has gone for a more traditionalist liturgical dance, one in which physical contact is encouraged! "What is a boomp between friends?" we ask ourselves, and this is follows on naturally from the "Boomp of Peace" that many go-ahead parishes have introduced recently.


  1. This is splendid - but you should remember that we do not do the Hokey Cokey during Advent, except on feast days.

  2. Paula N Wood has fabricated some really great dancing numbers, too. For example, "We Place our Jives in Your Hands"; "Fling with Joy" (a nice little Scottish folk number); "Hippy are They" (a Shake number); "Alleluia we will Limbo"; "Contra of My Life" (that old classic); "Come, Watusi, Waltz" and "I will Raas:.

  3. Thank you, Bruv, for your dances for Saved Pussons.

    You are probably too young to remember, but we Beaker Folk had a fairly extensive series of these a few years ago.

    No longer. In the end I banned it all as silly.

  4. Excellent. You can never have too many liturgical dances, can you?

  5. Where's the Sacred Tango? - you know how HH likes the liturgical, sacrificial Tango . . .

  6. Dear Bruvver Eccles,

    My son has an unfortunate tendency to engage in liturgical dance, particularly during Eucharistic adoration & during renditions of Lord of the Dance. My wife & his godmother have to restrain him from dancing right into the sanctuary. However, he also reads Magnificat regularly and tries to swipe my copy of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; while I insist he start with The Hobbit, I regard these as positive signs. Yet twice recently I have caught him on the internet browsing pictures of donkeys, which he insists on calling "asses". My son is not yet 2. We are faithful Catholics and regular readers of Eccles is Saved & Fr Hunwicke. Should we be concerned?

  7. You are also missing the favourite of Fr Raymond Blake - 'I danced on the altar when the mass was begun...'