Just like any other dance form, liturgical or praise dance is a nonverbal expression of emotions, thoughts and feelings to others, and sometimes to oneself. In the case of youth ministry praise dance troupe Sistahs N Christ, it is a language of worship where the movement of hands, feet, and the occasional head nod, are used to communicate with God.
Composed of four young ladies from Northwest Indiana, Sistahs N Christ uses dance not as a form of entertainment, but to usher in the Holy Spirit to a sacred place and bring the audience to worship, encouraging and leading them in the direction of God.
Mostly born and raised in Gary, Rava Jonnae Turner, 15; Donna McNeal, 15; Lorielle Starks, 16; and Ashley Johnson, 19 are Sistahs N Christ, or SNC as they are often called by their many devoted supporters—including me, their big sister and an alumna of the group. They are active members of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Charles M. Morgan.
The founder, director, choreographer, mom, and aunt Arlisa Starks-Turner pushes SNC to always reach their full potential under the anointing of God.
“My favorite part about working with these young ladies is after the long days and hours of practice and they finally perform, I get to see how they become one with their praise and dance,” she said.
Sistahs N Christ believes the presence of the actual dance should not be overshadowed by the praise that is being brought forth. Where the motto in live performance theatre is, “The show must go on!” SNC’s motto is “It’s not about the dance, it’s about the praise.”
Over the 10 years that the group has been dancing, Sistahs N Christ has shown their devotion and dedication to the craft by performing all across Northwest Indiana, proclaiming their ministry has no boundaries and that they go where God calls them.
In 2012 and 2013, Sistahs N Christ performed for the Northwest Indiana Gospel Music Alive Awards, presented by founder Dr. Johnice Joyner. Shortly after they performed at the Gospel Sunrise Productions and Floretha Kelley Presents an Evening with the Canton Spirituals.
Their work and dedication for their craft is matched only by their heart for God. The members of SNC are always in awe of God when they see how the power of their performance inspired someone faithfully. But they were never more overwhelmed with joy than when they received the email that they’d be proclaiming their reach outside of their hometown.
In 2018, they performed for the national taping of “Dancing My Way to Jesus” in Atlanta, hosted by Lady Velneeta Hamlett at the historical home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church, The Ebenezer Baptist Church. That performance would be the catalyst for being nominated for the 2019 Gospel Choice Music Awards for Best Praise Dance Group of the Year.
My mom read the email from Lady Velneeta herself, who said that SNC was nominated based on their TV ratings, which lead the committee to “shout out and scream that your ministry has been nominated.”
Tears of joy flowed down all of my sisters’ faces as they realized just how far they had made an impact.
“I just love that God uses me and my sisters to minister in this fashion,” Lorielle said.
“Getting the chance to dance with girls I call my sisters is the best thing I could do with my time,” Rava Jonnae said.
Though Sistahs N Christ has marked new territory with their new-found recognition, these four young women remain humble and true to their roots in their hometown of Gary. I love the outreach and exposure my sisters are getting, but I love that they stay rooted in the core values of the group’s motto as they remain steadfast by prayer and supplication.
Sistahs N Christ continually thanks all of their supporters for believing in them with their mission these past 10 years.
If you would like to know more about Sistahs N Christ or would like for them to bless your event in the NWI region, follow them on Facebook @Sistahs N Christ. Information on how you can also be a support and vote for them for the 2019 Gospel Choice Music Awards is also available the webpage, https://www.gospelchoicemusicawards.com.