Bring scripture stories to life with movement and dance.

Movement, dance, and drama draw people into communal worship and personal prayer, creating profound encounters with the sacred.

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Michele Beaulieux works with worship teams to incorporate movement and storytelling into liturgical celebrations in ways that are appropriate for their communities. She is herself a gifted movement minister who has deepened worship through dance, movement, and scriptural storytelling in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other Protestant Christian churches as well as ecumenical and interfaith settings. Michele also teaches liturgical ministers how to make movement meaningful in their congregational worship, and she leads retreats and prayer hours putting the ancient meditative prayer form of the rosary into motion.

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Movement and gestures transcend words.

During worship, movement and gestures can mediate between the human and the divine, transcending words and increasing the reverence of celebrations.

Michele has found that prayerful pre-planning with the worship team can assure that liturgical movement or storytelling draws attention to the message that is the core of a particular celebration, thereby deepening the ritual.

Michele dances, moves, and tells scriptural stories as a soloist. She also teaches liturgical ministers and congregational members movement and gestures that bring meaning to worship services.

Liturgical movement, dance, and drama can be appropriate:

For many types of services:
  • Sundays and Holy Days
  • Prayer, healing, and reconciliation
  • Retreats, revivals, and missions
At specified times in a worship service:
  • Opening, gospel, offertory, and recessional processions
  • Proclamations of scripture
  • Reflections on scripture
  • The Lord’s Prayer
On Holy Days:
  • Palm Sunday and Good Friday: dance “Were you there?”
  • Easter Vigil: enact Moses parting the sea and Miriam dancing; celebrate with ribbon banners
  • Easter: enact John 20: Mary Magdalene and the risen Christ
  • Pentecost: dramatically proclaim Acts 2: the Pentecost story with ribbon banners
  • Advent: dance Mary and Joseph
  • Christmas: dramatize the Christmas story
For rites of passage:
  • Baptisms: sprinkling rite
  • First communions: offertory procession to “We come to your feast”
  • Confirmations: Holy Spirit ribbon banner dance
  • Funerals: bless casket with holy water or incense rising from a bowl
To enhance the existing liturgical roles of
  • Presiders
  • Readers
  • Incense, banner, and candle bearers

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Congregational movement for the Lord’s Prayer choreographed and taught by Michele Beaulieux

Pray the Lord’s Prayer with simple movements suitable for all ages.

During worship, movement and gestures can mediate between the human and the divine, transcending words and increasing the reverence of celebrations.

This video teaches simple movements — appropriate for congregational use — to the Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father. The straightforward choreography
is suitable for worship services, retreats, prayer groups, personal prayer, and
for four-year-olds and ninety-year-olds. Participants find that embodying this
familiar prayer deepens worship and inspires new insights.

Please visit my blog post, “Making my Lord’s Prayer choreography even more communal!” for revisions to the choreography that I’ve made since this video was filmed.

The movement of fingers on beads expanded to the whole body.

Michele leads a movement prayer group at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church.Photo by Scott Spears.

The traditional Roman Catholic meditative prayer form, the rosary, is based on movement: the movement of fingers on beads. Michele has expanded the movement of the rosary’s prayer intentions, scripture stories, and repetitive prayers to the entire body.

  • Private Movement Prayer

    Having deepened her own personal prayer by moving through the rosary, Michele now teaches others how to develop private movement meditation practices. People who participate in her retreats and prayer hours find their personal rosary prayer deepened. They expand their prayer movement beyond their fingers to their entire bodies. A simple walking meditation may transform into a private dance.

  • Participatory Retreats

    At retreats and prayer hours, Michele guides people, whether they consider themselves dancers or not, in moving through the rosary themselves. The rosary is so rich, so full of layers that it provides a plush structure within which to explore movement. Participants’ movement prayer may focus on any one of the three intertwined elements of the rosary: the prayer intention, the scripturally-based mystery meditation, or the repetitive bead prayers. It may also flow effortlessly between them.

  • Rosary Dance Prayer Hour Presentations

    Michele puts the rosary in motion for others to witness as they sit and pray. She memorizes, proclaims, enacts, and dances the rosary’s scripture stories by herself or with others as part of a retreat or prayer hour. She then leads participants in praying the repetitive prayers in a way that reflects their mysteries. Sometimes, the prayers may be prayed silently, sometimes out loud, sometimes sung. She may dance to the rhythm of the spoken prayers.

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Visit Michele’s blog posts on rosary dance.

What ministers and lay people say about Michele Beaulieux:

Communion Dance
Michele incenses the altar at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park. Photo by Debra Sawyer.

“It was like seeing God’s words transformed into motion before my very own eyes. It left me wanting to follow and participate because it had a deeper meaning that touched my heart and will remain in my mind.”

— Carmen Santoyo, Parishioner
Holy Innocents Church , Chicago, Illinois

Michele is wonderful! She made us think about the Woman at the Well in a new way — what a gift!

— The Rev. Bob Campbell, former Pastor
New Hope United Methodist Church, Chicago, Illinois

Your movement helped me participate in what was unfolding by drawing me physically into the events [of the Passion story]. Those were movements I could have made as I participated in the events. This made it “come alive.”
So my skepticism was answered. I did not view your work as performance because the movements seemed to be natural and familiar as human response to momentous events. While you were “front and center”, you still seemed part of it all. Perhaps the amount of time you spent on each movement helped that to take place. I never thought you were at it “too long” so as to draw attention to yourself unnecessarily; it was always about the message and events.

— Paul H. Gahl, Worshipper
Saint Paul Lutheran Church, Villa Park, Illinois

 

Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, Illinois

To watch and pray with Ms. White as she unites her dance with the liturgy is truly a blessing. Her graceful movements tend to life one’s spirit and enable a person to pray in a way that brings devotion and deep meaning to our quest for God.

The Late Monsignor John J. Egan

Old Saint Patrick’s Church, Chicago, Illinois

Michele choreographed our annual Labor Day ‘Mass in Celebration of Working Life’ that she designed through a prayerful and participative process with lay members of the community. The result was a liturgical experience so moving and powerful that people in the community were literally brought to tears.

Al Gustafson, former director, Crossroads Center

Felician Sisters Convent – Mother of Good Counsel Province, Chicago, Illinois

Every gesture was a prayer.

It was totally innocent and beautiful. No one could feel threatened by anything presented. Good job. Very well done.

The sincerity of the presenter helped me pray. She did not draw attention to herself. She led us to Mary.

Made me promise myself that saying the rosary daily will be more “intense” with much more feeling and devotion to Mary.

Comments from Felician Sisters after rosary prayer hour

Sinsinawa Mound Center, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the program you did at the Mound. It’s the sort of thing that grows on you. I think of it and reflect on what I did and what I learned and I wanted you to know I appreciated it long afterwards as well.

Christine Dougherty, participant

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Michele has been dancing since she could walk…

… studying and performing modern dance, ballet, mime, improvisation and creative movement.

Michele performed as a modern dancer at Link’s Hall, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Blue Rider Theater in Chicago. Then, in the early 1990’s at St. Thomas Apostle Church, she saw a sacred dance concert choreographed by Maggie Kast. Taken by how the setting deepened the meaning of the dancers’ gestures, Michele recognized that the same movements performed on a stage would not have been nearly as compelling. Captivated ever since by the context-specific dance form of liturgical dance, she has worked primarily as a soloist in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other Protestant Christian churches as well as ecumenical and interfaith settings in the greater Chicago area.

Michele has led well-received Lord’s Prayer, rosary movement prayer, and liturgical minister movement training retreats and prayer hours at numerous churches and retreat centers. She has choreographed and taught simple congregational movement for the Lord’s Prayer . Michele also developed a meditative movement form, Rosary in Motion, which was featured on WTTW’s 30 Good Minutes.

The former president of the Lakeshore Chapter of the Sacred Dance Guild, Michele was quoted in the Chicago Tribune articles: “The Spirit Moves Them” and “Sacred Dance Seeks the Secular.” Michele was also instrumental in the Lakeshore Chapter receiving grants from the Chicago Community Trust and the Community Arts Assistance Program of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. As an individual artist, Michele also received Community Arts Assistance Program grants to create this website and her video on moving the Lord’s Prayer.

Michele is currently a member of the Sacred Dance Guild and the Network of Biblical Storytellers .

Beaulieux, pronounced “bowl YOU,” means “beautiful places” in French.

For information on booking, please contact Michele .

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Upcoming and Past Events

The Fire of Pentacost

Michele leads members of the congregation of New Hope Methodist Church in Chicago outside to spread the fire of Pentecost. Photo Wade Thrall

Contact Michele now to schedule her for a worship service or retreat!

Event Highlights:

2016
Easter Sunrise Worship
March 27, 2016, 6:30am
After gathering around a vigil fire and remembering stories Jesus had told us, and then reflecting on how people anointed bodies for burial in biblical times, we ventured out to a mounded tomb in the church cemetery. There, dressed in red, I proclaimed the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb, which I have memorized from John (This time it was 20:1, 11-18a which focused on Mary’s story). Upon conclusion, the congregation sang “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” and I danced. We then went into the church to share communion and then breakfast. It was very special to be able to tell the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb that first Easter morning, outside, at a tomb, early on a Easter morning!
Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts

More Past Events

2015

Sunday Service
Sunday, September 13, 2015, 11:00am
I danced with ribbon banners representing the Holy Spirit to welcome new members into the church.
Ravenswood Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois

Easter Sunday Service
April 5, 2015, 11:00am
I proclaimed the memorized story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb from John 20:1-18 and then danced in joy for having seen the Lord.
Ravenswood Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Illinois

2014

The Art of Lent
Monday, April 7, 2014, 7pm
I taught choreography to the Lord’s Prayer as part of a series using various art forms to explore healing and renewal in Lent.
First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette, Wilmette, Illinois

2013

Christian Educators Fellowship retreat
Thursday, January 17, 2013
I led a reflective movement-based retreat, Moving with the Lord’s Prayer.
First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge, Park Ridge, Illinois

2012

Tent Revival
Monday & Tuesday, July 16 & 17, 2012, 7pm
Taught movement to the Lord’s Prayer to enthusiastic congregation.
First United Methodist Church of Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Easter Sunday Service
April 8 , 2012, 10:30 am
I proclaimed the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb from John 20:1-18 and then danced in joy for having seen the Lord. Visit my blog post for a description.
Community Church of Barrington, Barrington, Illinois

Inauguration and Installation of the Rev. Dr. Frank Masao Yamada as the Tenth President of McCormick Theological Seminary
Thursday, February 9, 2012, 10:00am
I served as lead banner bearer for the opening and closing processions and the scripture acclamation at the inauguration ceremony. See my blog post for a description, including links to video of the dance in the service.
Apostolic Church of God, Chicago, Illinois

Contact Michele Beaulieux

Michele is based in Chicago, Illinois but is willing to travel to provide movement, dance, or drama for a worship service, liturgical celebration, or community ritual or to lead a workshop or retreat.

To discuss possibilities, please email her at michele@deepenworship.org!

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