The Dancing Word Store

Welcome to The Dancing Word Store. Here you will find resources for prayer, inspiration, and embodiment.

Birthing the Holy – Our 2022 Collection

Birthing the Holy: Singing with Mary and the Sacred Feminine

The Birthing the Holy album and upcoming prayer cycle were created to accompany Christine Valters Paintner’s book Birthing the Holy: Wisdom of Mary and the Sacred Feminine. I have had the pleasure of producing this CD, and helping to midwife many of the songs!  Selections on this album celebrate many guises of Mary including: Queen of Angels, Virgin, Untier of Knots, Mustafia, Star of the Sea, Vessel of Grace, Our Lady of Silence, Our Lady of the Underworld, Mother of Sorrows, Greenest Branch, Theotokos, Mystical Rose, Madonna Protectress, and Mirror of Justice.

Available for streaming or digital download! The CD will be released in mid-July 2022. The companion DVD with new dances will be released May 2023.


Monk in the World – Our 2021 Collection

Monk in the World: Moving with Mystery

The Monk Manifesto is a set of 8 principles for contemplative, creative, and compassionate living. It is the Rule of Life for the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks community at Abbey of the Arts. We embrace the practices of Silence and Solitude, Hospitality, Community, Kinship with Creation, Work, Sabbath, Conversion, and Creative Joy. This DVD includes 14 prayer dances for every-body that embody the practices of the Monk Manifesto written by Christine Valters Paintner.

Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

The Monk Manifesto written by Christine Valters Paintner is a set of 8 principles for contemplative, creative, and compassionate living. It is the Rule of Life for the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks community at Abbey of the Arts. We embrace the practices of Silence and Solitude, Hospitality, Community, Kinship\with Creation, Work, Sabbath, Conversion, and Creative Joy. In our last album (Earth, Our Original Monastery) we explored Kinship with Creation. This album is an opportunity to celebrate the other 7 practices through the joy of song while cultivating our capacity for becoming monks in the world.


Earth, Our Original Monastery – Our 2020 Collection

Earth, Our Original Monastery: Dancing Our Way to the Divine

13 contemplative prayer dances for every-body and one poem video! All Teaching and Dance-Along videos are filmed outdoors to invite you into the joy of encountering the Divine in nature. Accompanies the CD, Earth, Our Original Monastery: Singing Our Way to the Sacred and the book, Earth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature by Christine Valters Paintner, (Ave Maria Press).

Earth, Our Original Monastery: Singing Our Way to the Sacred

Six different artist/composers offer us 14 songs to celebrate Earth as our Original cathedral, scriptures, saints, spiritual directors, icon, sacrament and liturgy. Plus songs celebrating the four elements, St. Francis, St. Gobnait and the Dine Navajo Blessingway Prayer.


The Soul’s Slow Ripening – Our 2019 Collection

The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Dancing the Sacred on a Celtic Path

12 Celtic-inspired prayer dances for every-body! With choreography and instruction by Betsey Beckman, this DVD is crafted to embody the songs on the CD The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers, and accompanies the book The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Twelve Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred by Christine Valters Paintner (Ave Maria Press).

The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers

Seven artist/composers share the gifts of Celtic spirituality with 12 songs inspired by Celtic saints – Brigid, Ciaran, Columcille, Gobnait, Kevin, Patrick, Sourney, Brendan, Colman, Dearbhla, Enda & Ita.


Monks and Mystics – Our 2015 Collection

Dancing with Monks and Mystics

With choreography and instruction by Betsey Beckman, this DVD teaches 12 prayerful and playful dances for every-body! Also accompanies the CD, Singing with Monks and Mystics and the book, Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics by Christine Valters Paintner. 

Singing with Monks and Mystics

Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

Five composer/artists celebrate monks and mystics in music – 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.


The Dancing Word Videos

The Creation

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.

The Woman at the Well

Betsey Beckman of The Dancing Word (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.


Miriam and Mary

Filmed in 2000 as the inaugural video in The Dancing Word series with Betsey Beckman, 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.


Books and Other Resources

The Soul’s Slow Ripening Lyric Meditation

This lyric book accompanies The Soul’s Slow Ripening CD & DVDwith 12 wonderful songs inspired by Irish monks and the journey of Celtic pilgrimage. This album was created in conjunction with Christine Valters Paintner’s newest book to be released in September 2018 – The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Twelve Celtic Practices for Seekers of the Sacred (Ave Maria Press). Musicians include Sherri Hansen, Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, Deirdre Ni Chinneide, Simon De Voil, Sara Thomsen, Margaret McClarty, and Margo Hennebach.

Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction

by Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, and Betsey Beckman, MM

Published by Morehouse Press as a Spiritual Directors International Imprint series.

The resource is designed to help spiritual directors and others use expressive arts in the context of spiritual direction. It is the latest book in the unique SDI series, designed for professional spiritual directors, but also useful for clergy, therapists, and Christian formation specialists.

“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.