WHY I CHOOSE TO DANCE WITH FLAGS…
How to Use SOE Quill Wing Flags At Spirit of Excellent WAI – We are Worshiping our Creator with the Artistic Expression He First Gave Us. Only 8 minutes from downtown Detroit Michigan – you can throw stones across the Detroit River to our Ministry Training Centre here at the Beautiful Water’s Edge Event Centre! Come visit us and join us on Mondays for Creative Jams, prayer & music collaboration, silk painting, flag, Modeling and Etiquette, and the Ministry of Role Modeling the Spirit of Excellence!
I am inspired as I worship in my personal times. I envision items of beauty, colour and texture – all create an atmosphere inspiring me to give honour and esteem to my Creator! The Master Designer Creator! He is a author of all beauty, and creations. I want to be wrapped in HIS presence. I feel His love and value towards me. I enjoy creating these silk hand painted items in hopes they may help others to sense HIS presence, and His value on us.
One of my favourite scripture is Isaiah 61:3 “I will give you beauty for ashes and garments of praise. You shall be adorned with My righteousness and holiness shall be upon your shoulders.” I like to create beautiful, garments which remind me of, and make me feel like a child of The King of KINGS – whom we worship and honour in every way we can and are able to! I create these garments to be adorned with a symbolic representation, and garment of honour and to remind us of HIS Holiness.
I’d like to share some brief history on FLAG TWIRLING that I have researched and is in my Flag Twirling Manual
A Brief History of World Flags
People have used flags for over 4,000 years. Authentic flag design of ancient peoples includes a metal flag from Iran, ca. 3000 BC, and reconstructions of vexilloids shown on ancient Greek coins, Egyptian tomb carvings, etc.
The first type of flag was called a vexilloid. Vexillology is the scientific study of flags. This word comes from a Latin word which means “guide”. First flags or vexilloids were metal or wooden poles with carvings on top. About 2,000 years ago, pieces of fabric or material were added to some vexilloids for decoration.
These looked more like the flags we know today.
A flag is a piece of colored fabric or material that is used as a symbol, or for sending a signal. Some flags are used only for decoration. Usually, flags are messages from a person or a group of people.
People use flags to give others information, such as, who they are. Long ago, knights carried flags into battle because it was hard to know who the knights were when they were dressed up and covered in ar- mor ready for battle! Flags were important because they helped soldiers tell their friends from their ene- mies in battle.
Today, every country in the world has a flag. As governments change, so do their flags. Every state in the United States has a flag, too. Flags are used to give information, signals or stand for special symbols or things. Many organizations or groups like the Girl Scouts or the United Nations have flags. Clubs and organizations have their own flags too. The five circles of the Olympic flag represent the coming together of people from five continents in friendly competition. Peace is the message of the olive branches cradling the world in the flag of the United Nations. Some people, like a king or queen, have their very own personal flag. Sometimes it flies over any building or place where they are staying.
Flags include symbols that are used to show ideas which would otherwise take many words. Flags are used for wars, as well as for the celebration of special events. On sad occasions, flags are flown at half-mast to honor the dead, and draped over the coffins of national heroes.
The colors found in flags have special meanings:
Red – danger, revolution, bloodshed of war, courage, power
White – peace, surrender, truce
Orange- courage, sacrifice
Green – safety, land, youth, hope
Yellow – caution, gold
Black – mourning, death
Flags come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. They can be used for important events, or to represent something special or give a special message. Sometimes an interesting decoration at the tip of the flag pole is added. This is called a finial.
One flag that almost everyone knows is the “White Flag of Surrender”. Waiving a white flag is the international sign for surrender. Soldiers carrying or waving the “White Flag” are not fired upon.
These “White Flags” are not made up in advance and are usually made out of any materials avail- able at the time it is to be used.
Another well known flag is the “Jolly Roger”, used by pirates to frighten people. These flags usual- ly had a black background which stood for “no quarter” or “no mercy will be shown to those who resist.”
Another well known flag is the “Red Flag” which means danger.
People who design flags have an important job. They must get their message and information on the flag without using many words or pictures. The pictures and colors on a flag symbolize some- thing important. Flag designers used to make sketches with pencils and paints, now they use computers to help them design flags.
Many flags have the same basic patterns such as stripes, both horizontal and vertical, and stars. Many flags are divided into quarters and some are given a border. Colors on a flag are important. Years ago, flags were made by hand by sewing pieces of fabric together or embroidered with yarn or painted. Today, flags are usually printed in long rolls of fabric which are run through a machine which prints a pattern over and over again on the fabric. Then the fabric is washed, dried and then cut into separate flags.
Flags Used for Worship and Dance
The purpose of the flag or banner ministry, is to visually lift the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, giving Him all the glory, honor, and praise. The Lord commands in the Bible to use them for different purposes. They also prepare the way for His presence, as we are commanded to do:
“Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people, build up, build up the highway: remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.”
Our commitment is to the work of the Holy Spirit–to minister salvation and healing through music, movement and teaching.
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
The banners are one of a kind and highly detailed in embellishment. These banners have all been researched biblically for symbolic aspects. Most importantly, the anointing of the Holy Spirit falls upon each banner during pageantry events.
It is our desire that each member of the Body of Christ would enter into praise and worship as the spirit of the Lord leads them.
…”and in the name of our God, we will set up banners, may the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” Psalm 20:5
“Banner” – a piece of cloth attached by one edge to a staff, used by a Monarch, Feudal Lord or Commander, as a rallying point for battle. Webster’s Dictionary
There are eleven uses or purposes of banners based on the Word of God.
Banners rally the troops in war. Banners bestow honour.
Banners tell people who you represent Banners signal or attract attention.
Banners herald the event. Banners unify the company. Banners show victories won.
Banners are a demonstration of God’s presence lifted in our midst. Banners can be a rallying point of healing
Banners put the enemy to flight.
Banners minister to and celebrate the Lord.
note: Banners are also called ensigns and standards, and flags in the Strong’s Concordance dictionary.
My Introduction to Flag Twirling copyrights written by Colleen Kosti excerpts from “The Art of Flag Twirling – Flag Manual”
I first saw this beautiful art form back in the early 1990’s. I was taken back by the feelings I experienced as I watched a lady dance with her flags on baton like poles. The flags twirled quickly and flowing as she ex- pertly moved about performing her dance and twirling these flag poles as if they were her weapons.
I wept, I rejoiced and I was stirred up. My desire to learn was too great to contain, and I went to talk with her at the first opportunity I could manage.
She took a few moments to show me her flags, and even how to hold them and perform the twirls. We made plans to meet again over the next few days of the conference to spend more time instructing me. Mary Watts (the flag instructor) was from Indiana, and at the end of the weekend, she was so gracious to give me her very own flags and poles.
Thus was the beginning of my learning experience and journey of many years of learning the art of flag twirling and the meaning of this beautiful art form.
I went home with my new found treasure—my pair of flag twirling batons, and practiced continuously. Within a few months a group of young people from a school in Dallas visited our church, and I was surprised to see them dance with flags as well! I wasn’t able to speak with any of them, but within a few months someone I knew was planning on attending the same school and so I commissioned her to send me any information on this art form. And so my learning began—and now I am a master instructor in four levels of flag twirling, and I love it!
My words to encourage you—are “PRACTICE ~ PRACTICE ~ PRACTICE” ! I have been twirling flags now for 27 years, and have performed at many different locations, all across the United States and Canada. Inside and outside, at conferences, churches, schools, parks and the streets in parades and marches – to groups small and as large as 40,000 people at the Toronto Rogers Centre – a stadium! Everyone loves to see the flags twirl—and it is a great tool for drawing crowds and keeping them watching. I have enjoyed it as a great discipline and form to use my creativity. Learn the rudiments, and then creative your own movements, and most of all—don’t forget who created them to be use, and how important the flag is in communicating to others through it’s design, colour and symbols.
I purchased a collection of training material, and continued to learn more of flag twirling. Every opportunity I could find, I went to conferences to learn dance, creative movement arts, mime, flags and banners and their use. Finally my daughters and I were able to make arrangements to meet the trainers who I had been studying under. I had never met personally, only talked with on the phone and studied all her training materials to do with flags, tambourine and dance. Our family traveled to New York City—Manhattan in 1999. We finally met in person my instructors, and my daughters and I successfully completed our assessments in flag twirling and tambourine. My oldest daughter was encouraged and they invited her to attend their intensive training in Dallas in the next year. Here she would live in residence at the training school for 6 months. She studied there over the following year and refined her techniques and I benefited from visiting the training center as well, and continued to draw from her training upon her return home.
Over the years I grew with my dance, personal worship using the flags. I taught more and more students also how to twirl them. I was asked to choreograph routines using the flags to special presentation singing ‘Oh Canada’, and other special occasions. I loved it, and the flag team grew to over 40 young people.
I have trained several hundred people, all ages, how to twirl the flags and experience joy and enrichment to their personal creative expression. I have found the flags to be an extension of my expression and have enriched my communication through my dance form. With much study of the history of the flags and their background, I discovered the purpose of their origin, and why they became so meaningful to me.
I believe you will also be surprised at how much you are going to learn. You will discover more than you ever imagined, through learning the ‘art of flag twirling’.
Enjoy your studies—and do not be hard on yourself. It may take you many years to reach the level of skill you desire. And, skill should not be your goal. Your goal should be to discover your purpose for your expression, and to become free to dance with your flags.
Lift up your Banner—and take JOY! You will never be the same as you experience this anointed ministry in Flags!
Minister Colleen Kosti