“There is such a need for this kind of knowledge,” said Barrett, who studied and enjoyed dance as a child. She was a cheerleader at George P. Phenix High in Hampton. Phenix ceased to exist after 1968, when the name was changed to Pembroke High School. Barrett was a cheerleader at Norfolk State University, as well as an NSU alumni cheerleader who performed for about two decades.
“I’ve always enjoyed dancing,” said Barrett, ministry leader. “I enjoy the movement and encouraging others. I get a joy out of doing it.
“The most fulfilling part is you get to a certain age and think you can’t move,” she said. “We have a group called Platinum Praise. People in the Platinum Praise group come in complaining about rheumatism and arthritis until we start to perform. Then they say they didn’t feel the pain at all.”
Barrett turned her attention to praise and worship in 2000. About two dozen congregants presented a praise and worship performance. The Rev. Jerome A. Barber, pastor, encouraged the group to launch a praise and worship ministry. In December 2001, Jackie Barrett and Dena Boyd were appointed as ministry leaders. Soon about two dozen members from ages 18 to 60 were involved in a spiritual movement that has skyrocketed nationwide.
Praise dancing involves dance, mime, sign language, and movement, which is often accompanied by sacred music. Performances draw on various types of dance including jazz, modern, and ballet.
Praising God is the point, Barrett said. “The first movement was when God hovered over the earth in Genesis. So God made movement. Age doesn’t matter.
“The foundation of this ministry is prayer,” Barrett continued. “We not only dance together, worship together, share our trials, praises and blessings together but we pray together. The age range of male and female adults has been between 19 – 60+ yrs. We minister through all forms of dance and dramatic interpretation from praise and worship to multi-cultural Christian music.”
For more details, please visit: www.smzbt.org.