Hope College, Lindsey Hanson

Holland, Michigan
2021

To investigate emerging theological issues in worship with scholars and practitioners by reflecting on a cross-disciplinary collaboration of dance, architectural design, and film within a worship space, and empowering local ministry leaders and churches to discern theologically and imagine liturgically the characteristics of Christian worship in their own context by engaging curated online media.  

Researcher(s): Lindsey Hanson 
Academic Discipline:  Dance

Project Summary

This proposed project is a continuation of a cross-disciplinary collaboration of dance, architectural design, and film, within a worship space culminating in an interactive site-specific, multimedia dance performance titled Sanctuary. The purpose of Sanctuary is to prove that dance brings new life to a worship space. Sanctuary utilizes dance performed live and captured by film to challenge, reveal, and enhance the congregation’s awareness of the worship space inside their church’s building. 

What questions about worship and your discipline will be guiding your project?

How can we deepen the relationship of Christian worshiping communities to their sanctuary space? The pathway to a deeper relationship is through newfound appreciation, oftentimes by increasing one’s understanding of their surroundings. Instead of sitting in the pews looking at the stage, why not make the pews the stage? How would flipping the location of the stage and the audience impact their experience? In what ways would physicalizing this reversal enhance their worship practice? 

How do you envision this project will strengthen the worship life of congregations?

Through Sanctuary, my goal is to foster this newfound appreciation, and subsequently a more meaningful relationship, between the Redeemer Presbyterian’s community and the sanctuary space, enhancing their worship experience inside the church. In presenting this artwork, the congregation and pastoral staff will be able to experience a once familiar place in a rich, unexpected, and unconventional way. I envision Sanctuary to uncover the complexities of the Gospel through spirituality and art. 

What do you expect might be your greatest challenges (or challenging opportunities)?

I expect my greatest challenge to be maintaining the rehearsal schedule with the church. Sanctuary space rentals are significant to the church's revenue source. Since the building was closed during the pandemic, I foresee my project getting asked to reschedule if another client is offering to pay for the space. It's hard to compete with clients who are willing to pay full price, while my reserved rental was donated. Having adequate time in the space is crucial to this project's success. 

What do you hope to learn from the Grants Event and other grant recipients?

I look forward to discovering how we as researchers attempt to make sense of the Gospel’s challenging intersection of holy and unholy beings; how our research as a whole can uncover the Lord's majestic characteristics through our individual fields of study. I also hope to learn how my unique lens can be changed and enhanced by witnessing new knowledge through the lens of another researcher.