Nelly Sparkman Finds a Strong Connection Between Her Devotion to Dance and Her Faith

Devotion Dance

Nelly Sparkman has become accustomed to The sloppy road conditions and blistering wind chills that are winter features in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she lives. Like the messy weather, the life of a professional ballroom dancer. And devotion dance teacher is fraught with challenges—as the saying goes, they are difficulties that she wouldn’t change for her life.

On the surface, it’s easy to see a diva: glamorous looks, meticulous and stylish clothing, and an aura of glamour. But after only ten minutes of conversation, you would recognize the dangers of prejudging someone. Her success doesn’t come from luck. But is the product of her tenacity coupled with a commitment to emotional balance. And she is deeply grateful for every blessing that has come her way on her journey to her current success.

Sparkman grew up in Russia alongside five brothers and two sisters. Her family couldn’t afford a stove; on most days. They weathered the cold and if this wasn’t heartbreaking enough, the family didn’t have running water or even a bathroom. Winters were cold and harsh, and summers were spent growing potatoes. And other vegetables to get them through the next winter. But Sparkman’s family survived, even as their less-than-ideal environment sometimes presented them with even more challenges.

devotion dance

Despite many adversities, Sparkman’s family could rely on prayer and the power of God. While Sparkman remains a devoted Christian currently. She felt at times in a battle with the Bible’s teaching and her call to dance; the more she pushed her urges away. The more complicated she felt between her faith and desires.

Strict Baptist Family

“I was raised in a strict Baptist family, and back in the day, dancing was a big sign,” Sparkman said. “A lot of Baptist families didn’t allow their children to dance. I would hear music, and my body would start moving. I couldn’t explain why, but my parents would say, ‘Stop it; that’s not good.'” She went on to say, “At age six, I learned that if I wanted to express and experience music, I had to wait until no one was home. For example, if [my parents and siblings] were outside working in the garden. I would tun on the music and dance, imagining I was on a cloud dancing with Jesus.”

Although many aspiring dancers experience an internal tug-of-war, debating. Whether dance is worth pursuing, they rarely have to grapple with this complicated decision at the age of six. Sparkman didn’t have the cognitive ability to discriminate and interpret the Bible for herself at that time, so there were good reasons for her trepidation.

Her parents’ religious conviction began to influence her overtime, such as the case during one interaction with a friend who presented Sparkman with a dare to join a dance class. Still unconvinced that dance wasn’t still a sin, Sparkman reached out to her then Russian pastor at the time, hoping that he would explain to her friend that dancing was a sin.  But to Sparkman’s dismay, the pastor confirmed that dancing didn’t actually go against Bible teaching.

dance devotion


Sparkman with her student at a showcase

Regardless of how  Sparkman, who earned her degree in childhood education, wished to define dance. It was time for her to move beyond old beliefs and remain true to herself as a dancer.

In 2014, Sparkman attended a ballroom dancing social event. Afterward, a dance teacher approached her and brought up moving beyond social dancing to teaching other students.  “I felt a crazy miracle come into my hand,” she said. “I hated my day job and wanted a way out and was looking at what else I could do. I was really searching for what I was going to do for the rest of my life.”

The ever-optimistic Sparkman accepted the challenge with ambition and determination. But often, devoted Christians face moral and unethical challenges, and Sparkman was no different; her internal battle carried on and off from 2013 to 2015, with the question of whether she was sinning by dancing.

“When I started to pursue teaching, I had guilt and shame,” she said. ” I feared telling my parents what my job was. I believed that I was going to get into a car accident and lose my legs for my sin [of dancing].”

Sparkman trod lightly in this area, slowly coming to terms with the idea that she wasn’t going against the Bible’s rules.

Since her decision to truly pursue dance, Sparkman has made significant strides.  She is the founder of Passion Meets Dance, and her mission statement is clear. “Ever since I remember, Jesus and music were the only constant passions in my life, and I fell in love with dancing before I even knew of it,” she said.  

Nelly Sparkman Finds a Strong Connection Between Her Devotion to Dance

Community Volunteering

Her work as a teacher, business owner, and top-level performer (she also gives back to the community volunteering with disabled individuals) is arduous given the number of roles she has to play. Sparkman cares deeply about her students and wants to be sure they are always ready and excited before their performances. This requires careful analysis on her part and modifications if she senses that a particular move does not align with her performance vision.

Sparkman is a beautiful, unique, and hard-working teacher who continually invests in her dance development by cultivating her gift. “I believe that a great teacher knows…someone who puts in time for themselves and gets coaching from other teachers and instructors who are of high caliber.”

She tries to remain mindful of where each student is on their dance journey and takes the time to listen to their visions and aspirations while developing a plan throughout their progression. “Most teachers make learning dance feel really hard. It shouldn’t be! Dancing should be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable for everyone, especially when you are just starting,” she said. Sparkman added, “Don’t let anything hold you back from experiencing this joy and freedom; otherwise, you may just regret it.”

Sad Reality

The sad reality is, many teachers want dominance and control, and this has never been Sparkman’s style; she is mindful that teachers make mistakes but is adamant they need to accept responsibility.   “There was one incident where I got frustrated, and I looked back at that incident and apologized to a student, and now we are excellent friends,” she said. “We forged a great relationship through our experience. That one moment did make me feel that this is not who I wanted to be—a teacher.”

COVID-19 has impacted nearly everyone, and now is a time of reflection for Sparkman. She married her husband, Taylor, a year ago. Because of the pandemic, she feels she has put all the parts of her life into proper perspective. “It’s been a blessing—how everything turned out for our marriage,” she said. “We have been able to spend a ton of time together. It’s been a healthy one year of marriage where we can lay that foundation.”

During COVID, Sparkman continues to dance three to four times a week. “It’s a gift from God,” she said about dancing. “He’s not out to get me. He is out to bless me with a gift that He has given me.”

Spicy ray is the founder of the site and has a passion for writing developed in early childhood. His goal as a writer is to provide readers with inspiration, dedication, motivation, and critical thinking skills. He has a solid commitment to allowing writers to share their stories from a variety of backgrounds. He enjoys reading non-fiction, having tarot card readings, going to movies, and watching boxing in his free time.

Latest articles

Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here