A Gospel Story Dance for Youth

Betsey Beckman and Laura Ash

Jan/2014, 19 Pages, INSTANT DOWNLOAD

SKU: 9781606742013



The story of Zacchaeus is a beloved one, and lends itself well to the gift of movement and music.  It is a perfect way for the older youth of a community to offer a piece in an artfully engaging way for the younger children (and the adults love the beauty of the artistry as well!)  This story offers a beautiful embodied example of the radical call to generosity that is the foundation of Christian living.

This Gospel StoryDance includes the text of the Gospel of Luke as foundation for the script, and as such can be used as the proclamation of the scripture for settings where it would be welcome.  (For communities who worship with the Revised Common Lectionary, this passage appears every third year on the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time in Cycle C.)

The piece is designed for a narrator to read the Scripture passage from the ambo or lectern, while the Gospel story unfolds through embodiment and music alongside.  The piece needs at least five actor/dancers, but the size of the “crowd” can be expanded as desired.  The choreography described is meant to be simple enough for “non-dancers” but still requires a sense of rhythm and dramatic focus so that the story can come to life with dynamic engagement. 

The piece is designed for children/youth of fourth – twelfth grades, but could certainly include adults as well.  You may find it helpful to review the YouTube version of the choreography as a basis for your piece, and feel free to adapt the movements as needed for your own cast.

The musical score is written for piano and voice. If your community has a children’s choir or soloists, it would be delightful to involve them throughout the piece as well. 

Length: 6 minutes: Cast Size: 5+

Betsey Beckman, MM is a professional liturgical dancer, storyteller, author, spiritual director and retreat leader based in Seattle.  With her extensive background in performance, choreography and liturgy, she regularly appears as artist/presenter at national conventions as well as at her home parish, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.  She is the co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction and the producer of The Dancing Word DVD series, offering a full repertory of StoryDance meditations on women in scripture.  She has been creating and directing movement pieces for kids and adults at her parish for the past twenty years, and absolutely loves working with her good friend, Laura Ash, to weave the arts of music and movement together.  Their latest project was on a team co-creating a full-scale musical, Grace on the Margins, which Betsey choreographed and in which she also performed the role of Hildegard of Bingen. Betsey lives with her husband and son, both of whom are musicians, so their house is full of music and movement!

Learn more about Betsey’s work at

Laura Ash is the Music Director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Seattle, a creative and dynamic position she has held for over twenty years.  Laura, in collaboration with her husband David, has composed three albums of liturgical music, a series of Advent Lessons and Carols, and scores of other liturgical songs and psalms. The Ashes also have songs published with Oregon Catholic Press and have composed musical scores for many dance/drama offerings of The Dancing Word with Betsey Beckman.  Laura’s latest project was as co-composer and Music Director of Grace on the Margins, a full-scale musical on social justice themes produced by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center. The Ash family collaboration continues as their son, Benjamin brings his skills to transcribing musical scores for family publishing adventures.


You May Also Like

My Heart Sings Out

Fiona Vidal-White, Ed.$24.95

The Spiritual Guidance of Children

Jerome W. Berryman$29.95

How the Magi Truly Became Wise

The Reverend Donnel O'Flynn$5.95

Music and Vital Congregations:

William Bradley Roberts$19.95

A Man You Can Live With

Colleen Scheid$3.95

Liturgical Music - Year C

Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Thomas Pavlechko$32.95

The Jesse Tree

Randi Goldstein and Dina Strong $9.95