Lord of the Dance (I danced in the morning)

This is a folk-style hymn which uses dance as a metaphor for Jesus' life, death and resurrection.   

It was written by English historian, folk-singer and song-writer Sydney Carter (1915-2004), in 1963, and is set to a tune which is adapted from a traditional Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts.

The songs has been covered by a very wide range of artists, perhaps the most famous being Michael Flatley, who choreographed a dance setting which is the title track from a music and dance production.


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Southern Gospel trio performance - a capella:

Song leader with congregation - piano accompaniment:

Choir and congregation, with organ and bells:

Singer with band - contemporary worship song style arrangement, professional recording:

Singer with guitar, acoustic:

Instrumental - organ:


The lyrics are copyright so cannot be reproduced here.

The definitive, authorised version of the words is available from the Stainer and Bell website - near the bottom of the page.

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I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,
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.

I danced for the scribe and the pharisee,
But they would not dance and they wouldn’t follow me.
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John –
They came with me and the Dance went on.

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame;
The holy people said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high,
And they left me there on a Cross to die.

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black –
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
But I am the Dance, and I still go on.

They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you
If you’ll live in me –
I am the Lord
Of the Dance, said he.

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