Dance then wherever you may be,
Lord of the Dance
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.
is my absolute favorite Easter Hymn
and I did some reading up about this piece on the internet. It was composed by Sydney Carter
(b. 1915) in 1963 for a Shaker
melody Simple Gifts
acknowledged under a separate copyright of its own.
Using dancing as metaphor for Jesus ministry here on earth, Sydney describes it as a carol - ' a dancing kind of song, the life of which is in the dance as much as in the verbal statement.' The song has been borrowed by Irish dancer Michael Flatley, who has kicked Jesus out of the song and then added a mysterious forest spirit and enough special effects for a rock concert.
The ' Pagan version' posted at various web sites on the internet is a derivative that has been applied to Carter's song and never been authorized by the British songwriter who is alive and very well, living off his small income from royalties of this song as well as his ' One More Step Along the World I Go' in London.
Primarily a poet, folk singer and songwriter, Carter was a sometime schoolmaster and served in World War II in the Middle East and Greece as part of an Ambulance Unit. In 1996 a survey of schools in the United Kingdom, determined the three of the most often performed songs in assemblies were ones composed by Sydney. One More Step came first, Lord of the Dance in fifth place and When I Needed a Neighbour the sixth most popular.
A regular communicant to his local Anglican parish. His faith is embodied in his quotation from his poem
"So what do you believe in ?
Nothing fixed or final,
all the while I
travel a miracle. I doubt,
I walk upon the water."
In an interview for The Times - Thursday August 29 1996
Mr. Carter explains what motivates him as a songwriter.....
"They are songs which can be sung in a Christian context, but they all had to mean something to me because I was often on the edge on not believing. The songs certainly have not made my fortune, but I am still grateful for the royalties when they come in." ..."There are obvious problems with so many denominations in schools today, but I had collective worship at school and I do not think it is a bad thing."
Steiner and Bell: