Dancing for god?

She was a striptease artist, an exotic lap dancer titillating men in nightclubs across Milan. Today, she is a nun.

Anna Nobili found her new calling after a visit to the shrine of St Francis in Assisi in 2002. She has transformed her old profession and not given it up. According to a report:

Sister Nobili is due to perform in front of senior Catholic clerics later this week at the Holy Cross in Jerusalem Basilica, one of Rome’s best-known churches. The performance, based on stories from the Old and New Testaments, will be called The Bible: Day and Night. Among the guests expected to attend will be Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, who is in charge of the Vatican’s Cultural Department.

Would that make god happy or the clergy? I find this a bit disconcerting. Her change of heart is understandable, but how will those watching justify their position? Will there be nuns among the audience (the report only mentions that she will be dancing before bishops and cardinals)?

She says:

“I was wasting my life dancing for men in clubs. The nights were filled with sex and alcohol. It was an empty life but I liked it because I was the centre of attention.”

This “Ballerina for God”, as she calls herself, is seeking the same sort of attention now. She will be known not for her piety but her moves on stage. She may justify the dances as mystical and her latest performances may well be based on stories from the Bible, but religious tracts and mythology have been used often enough by mainstream dancers. Even pop stars have manipulated these – the Cross, Sanskrit shlokas, the Sufi twirl, such references to god abound. What makes her different?

“But now my life has been transformed. I still dance but now I dance for God and I’m happy. All my choreography is dedicated to Him. My aim is to pray using my body.”

This appears to be the antithesis of what the Catholic Church would like. It denies the devotee the luxury of any vanity and riches and the body is subservient to the soul.

Here, she is blatantly referring to her body as a means to prayer. This is almost like marketing it, whatever the purpose might be.

Would she have grabbed the headlines had she been just another dancer?

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Sister Nobili performs


  1. Everything goes in the name of religion, doesn't it? Everything.

  2. Yes, that is why it is religion...


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