The Dancing Word Store
Here you will find resources you can purchase for prayer, inspiration and embodiment. All prices include tax and shipping.
Monks and Mystics – our newest resource!
Twelve prayerful and playful participatory dances for every-body! With choreography and instruction by Betsey Beckman and music commissioned by Abbey of the Arts. Enter into dances inspired by 12 monks and mystic through the ages including the Prophet Miriam, King David, Mary Mother of God, Amma Syncletica, Brigid of Kildare, Benedict of Nursia, Brendan the Navigator, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis of Assisi, Rainer Maria Rilke, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton. Filmed in locations that evoke and celebrate the gift of each monk and mystic!
CD: Singing with Monks and Mystics
A CD with 13 fabulous songs to accompany each of the twelve dancing monk icons plus a bonus second song for St. Benedict by composers Laura and David Ash, Betsey Beckman, Carmel Boyle, and Richard Bruxvoort Colligan.
To purchase a download of the CD, please visit CDBaby.com
Book: Praying with Monks and Mystics
This book of poems, reflections, icons and songs includes all 12 of the monks and mystics from the DVD and CD. If you are interested in the sheet music for the songs on the CD, you will want to have a copy of this book! Otherwise, you may be interested in the newer and more comprehensive resource – Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics, which you can purchase on Amazon.
Praying with Monks and Mystics – $18.00
Based on the book of Genesis, this beloved poem by African-American poet James Weldon Johnson comes to life with fresh, bold imagery through the vocal and dance interpretation of Betsey Beckman. Filmed in the northwest, the piece refreshes us with the vast beauty of nature as well as a playful and intimate celebration of God’s artistry. Designed for individuals or groups, viewers can first witness the dance of Creation and then step inside the journey through guided embodied prayer. This dynamic prayer video (with accompanying reflection questions) calls us to awaken to the wonder of our own holy birthing into God’s cosmic story.
Total run time: 55 min
- Stepping Inside the Creation (42 min.)
- The Creation – Main Feature (13 min.)
- Verbal Introduction (7 min)
- Guided Warm-Up and Movement (35 min)
Praise for The Creation:
“Through this dance prayer you will experience the Biblical story anew and come to know your flesh, bones, and being as very good.” -Christine Valters Paintner, Abbey of the Arts
“This classic of American religious poetry literally leaps off the page with Betsey’s inspired dance proclamation and accompanying movement prayer. There is no performing artist in the country who interprets religious texts and mediates spirituality through movement better than she!” – J. Michael Sparough, S.J.
- Click here to download pdf of Creation Reflection Questions
- Click here to download pdf of Stepping Inside the Creation Reflection Questions
- Click here to view The Creation trailer
Searching for meaning as a woman in the church and confronted with the challenges of a people and planet in peril, Grace’s cries for help are answered by Hildegard of Bingen, Joan of Arc, Sojourner Truth and Our Lady of Guadalupe, who lead her on a journey of the heart to experience grace on the margins. This original musical was written collaboratively by ten Seattle artists and created for the Northwest Women’s Convocation to address some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Note from Betsey: I was on the team that created this social justice musical, and I also had the honor of dancing the role of Hildegard of Bingen! This piece addresses issues of violence, human trafficking, immigration, environmental degradation and women in the church, and gives fresh inspiration for all those who are willing to open their hearts to the journey of spirit.
Besides sharing this work through DVD, we are hoping that high schools and universities will be interested in performing this engaging full-length musical! For performance rights, script and score, please contact the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center. www.ipjc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Dancing Word: Woman at the Well
“Those who have ears to hear, hear this story. Those who have eyes to see, see this scene. Anything can happen at a well!” – John Shea
Betsey Beckman, (renowned liturgical dancer and presenter) and J. Michael Sparough, S.J. (retreat master, storyteller and author) have been praying, publishing and performing together for over 30 years. Here they invite us into author John Shea’s beloved re-telling of the Woman at the Well for an emotion-filled journey of the thirst, heart-break, humor and healing.
With natural settings weaving together Biblical and 21st century images, the liberating message of the Gospel comes to life with refreshing water for our times.
Total run time : 22min
Praise for The Dancing Word: Woman at the Well
“Our Women’s Retreat with your DVD was MARVELOUS! The women were overwhelmed with the story of the Woman at the Well and the discussion time following their own reflection was difficult to cut off. They were absolutely confirmed in their own faith by her story and journey! Thank you!” – Leota Roesch, Director Faith Formation – Resurrection Catholic Church, Tempe, Arizona
“We prayed with the Woman at the Well DVD yesterday for our Lenten faith sharing small group. You did an incredible job! I always thought the story occurred in one place – but your dance reminded me that everything is a journey to and from. I will read and pray with the Woman at the Well in a totally new way. Thanks for sharing your creativity in so many ways. You are truly are a gift!” – Sr. Bea LaFramboise, SP – Seattle, WA
Note from Betsey: I am especially glad that many RCIA teams across the country have been inspired to integrate this resource into their journey with the Catechumenate. It’s also perfect for Lenten reflections and women’s retreats!
- Click here to download a pdf for – Woman at the Well Reflections Questions.
- Click here to view Woman at the Well Trailer
The Dancing Word: Mary Magdalene
This 2010 offering in the Dancing Word series offers an inspiring encounter with Mary Magdalene, whom we come to know as one of Jesus’ most courageous and intimate disciples. Filmed in the beauty of the Northwest, this scenic story offers dramatic visuals for the Gospel and gives fresh voice to the oldest truths of our faith. This DVD was chosen as a featured film in the Los Angeles Religious Education Film Showcase 2011!
Total run time : 80min
- Mary Magdalene – StoryDance (22 minutes)
- Artist’s Introduction (7 minutes)
- Guided Meditation with Christine Valters Paintner, PhD (18 minutes)
- Guided Movement and Scriptural Reflections with Betsey Beckman (40 minutes)
Praise for The Dancing Word: Mary Magdalene:
“A fabulous resource for prayer, inspiration and participation!” – Linda Haydock, SNJM, Director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center
“Mary Magdalene comes to life in a new, authentic way through the expressive dance of deep emotion and artful ecstatic exuberance.” – Kathy Coffey, author of Women of Mercy, Hidden Women of the Gospels, and The Art of Faith
“This journey deep into the words of John’s Gospel is literally poetry in motion, a visual feast for the eyes and a welcome banquet for the heart.” – Rev. J. Michael Sparough, S.J.
Note from Betsey: I’m really excited about the richness of this publication. What a powerful journey with Mary Magdalene! After viewing the story, the adjunct materials are crafted to support you in individual or communal prayer and participation. Reflect on your own relationship with Mary Magdalene through a contemplative prayer in the tradition of St. Ignatius. Following that, join in an experience of embodied prayer: in the Guided Movement section, the simple and powerful tools of InterPlay are offered as reflective practices to break open the Mary Magdalene story. With this support and encouragement, all are welcome to join in the dance! A wonderful tool for Women’s Groups, parish gatherings, RCIA, sacred dancers, or anyone who wishes to deepen his or her relationship with Mary Magalene as guide, as mentor, as saint, as friend.
The Dancing Word: Miriam and Mary
Filmed in 2000 as the inaugural video in The Dancing Word series, this 35 minute DVD offers two Biblical StoryDances:
- Miriam of the Dance (18 minutes)
- The Annunciation (15 minutes)
“Here is the Bible – and two of its most important women – made powerfully present with an expressive artistry to charge the imagination, soften the heart, and fire the soul with love.” – Rev. J. Michael Sparough, S.J.
Treasures from the Heart: Meditations with Mary, Our Mother of Mercy / 2 CD Set – $18
In 2011, newly re-released on CD! J. Michael Sparough, S.J. & Betsey Beckman. Music by Bobby Fisher
Through guided imagery, meditation and music, Michael Sparough, S.J., Betsey Beckman and Bobby Fisher present Mary as a healing presence who can bring life to our aching hearts. The trio encourages us through prayer and music to imagine, visualize and experience Christ‘s life-changing love through the gift of his mother. Fr. Sparough tells personal stories about his childhood devotion to Mary, his gradual lapse from Marian devotions and his reawakening to Mary in the Bethlehem cave. In the first meditation, he leads us to encounter the Christ Child, reminding us that we need to consider feelings, not just images, as we journey to inner healing. In a parallel journey, Betsey Beckman details a time when Mary was not important to her. Through dance therapy and the experience of being a mother, Ms. Beckman discovers Mary as a powerful personal presence. In the second meditation, she invites us to experience Mary, Our Mother of Mercy, holding us in our pain. Both presentations blend relaxed breathing techniques and meditative music composed by bobby Fisher.
Note from Betsey: We are excited to re-release this audio-recording originally produced in the 1980’s!
Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction
By Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman
Published by Morehouse Press as a Spiritual Directors International Imprint series.
“Beautifully and evocatively explores the relationship between spiritual direction and the arts.” – Mary Rose Bumpus, School of Theology and Ministry
“We have been far too left-brain, verbal, and linear in our attempts to transform and mature actual people–intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Here we have two women filling the tragic gap–and beautifully so! Spiritual direction is the growing edge of ministry today and this excellent book will surely direct that growth.” – Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M. , Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
A Retreat with Our Lady, Dominic & Ignatius: Praying with Our Bodies
by Betsey Beckman, Nina O’Connor & J. Michael Sparough, S.J.
Your directors for this retreat, Praying With Our Bodies, are Our Lady, Dominic and Ignatius. Our Lady—Mary of Nazareth, widowed woman, survivor, sojourner, seeker of sanctuary, marginalized woman, woman pregnant with hope—teaches us how to let the Spirit pray through us in word, in silence, in stillness and in movement. Our other two mentors, Dominic, founder of the Order of Preachers, and Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus, are well known for their steadfast devotion to Our Lady. They, too, have much to teach us about how to let the Holy Spirit pray in us through the “temples” of our bodies. Dominic taught his followers nine ways of corporal prayer, and he leads us in these practices. Ignatius teaches us to honor and welcome the imagination in our contemplations. Includes numerous movement-prayer exercises for use in private or communal prayer.