One ministry is hoping to educate, elevate and impact the world through dance.
iDance ministry, founded by María Daniel, is a ministry that focuses on the art of worship dance and sharing that art with others. iDance ministry is made up of various dance ambassadors who are trained in various styles of dance.
“People know us for dancing, and I love that,” Daniel said. “What they don’t know is all of those other things that we do. We don’t just dance, we serve. Dance is our vehicle to engage the community, and we use that as an opportunity to share what we do.”
Before iDance ministry was founded, Daniel fell ill due to undiagnosed Lyme disease and lost feeling in both legs. Being restricted to canes, walkers and wheelchairs left the lifelong dancer unable to dance, or even walk.
“(Dancing) was just who I was. It was like ‘María = dance’. So when that was taken away from me I didn’t know how life would look without dance, and it didn’t look good,” Daniel said.
For almost two years, she continued to struggle with her illness and the ability to walk and dance.
“God basically was trying to redirect me. I was very skilled and talented, so I don’t want to say there was a level of arrogance, but I danced for me,” she said. “God said if He were to restore the ability to dance, I would have to use it to serve others.”
During this period, Daniel received a request to dance. She accepted, not knowing at the time if she would physically be able to dance.
“All I remember is the music starting and the next memory I have is just hearing applause. I knew then that God had allowed me to dance,” Daniel said.
Daniel moved from New Jersey to Virginia post-illness and then founded iDance ministry while living in Greene County.
Even though Daniel no longer lives in Greene, she said that Greene County has been the “most supportive” and remains iDance ministries foundation. iDance ministry started in Greene with the hiphop experience class. Since the ministry was founded, Daniel and her dance ambassadors have performed at Disney World, the 35th annual McDonald’s Gospelfest and at the Haven in Charlottesville.
iDance ministry was also named the Hip Hop Dance Ministry of the Year and Daniel herself was named Outstanding Director of the Year from Dance Ministry Magazine in 2018.
“It was nice to be recognized by the broader community of worship dance because what we do is so different. That was a special thing for me,” Daniel said.
Beyond dancing, the dance ambassadors are personally mentored by Daniel to be good citizens, good Christians and are required to do community service. In the past, iDance ministry has worked with groups like the Special Olympic Athletes, Relay for Life and People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM).
To become a dance ambassador, participants must fill out an application at www.idanceministry.com.
Daniel sees iDance ministry becoming “bigger and broader” in the future.
“I see us doing more service. I see us as reaching a broader audience,” she said. “Beyond what we do in Greene County, we hope to continue to expand and reach a broader audience and draw more people, especially youth, to good citizenship, being a good Christians and just learning how to serve.”
To connect with iDance ministry, visit www.idanceministry.com or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ idanceministry.