Tameka and I recently discussed my confusion over a dancing mime in church one day.
It was shortly after I became Lutheran (my family is traditionally Baptist) when I was sitting in the pews one Sunday and witnessed a church member do a mime dance to some kind of hallelujah song. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, so I sat there half stunned and half trying not to laugh as I glanced at the bulletin again and looked around to see if this was for real. Other people seemed to think so.
I wondered what to do during the entire performance. Do I clap along? Do I shout an “amen”? Do I sit in silent reverence? I went for the last one, biting my lip so I wouldn’t make faces. I’d never seen anything like it.
Basically, it was a brunette woman with her face painted white, wearing black pants and — best I can remember — a tie-dyed shirt which I thought should have been white. She jumped around the front of the church, lifting her hands, smiling and encouraging us to clap while mouthing some of the words to the song. I was afraid she would run down the aisle, grab my arm and make me sway to the music with her. “What’s going on?” I wondered. “Is this what Lutherans do? This wasn’t covered in the new members class.”
When I told Tameka about it, she said she’s seen it before and sent me a video so I could make sure that what I saw was indeed mime dancing. (Click here for the video.)
After I watched it, I told Tameka to imagine that but with a white woman, a little more bouncing and no audience participation. I told her I grew up Baptist and all we do is clap. … I haven’t seen an interpretive mime dance since.