Some liturgical dance was common in ancient times or non-Western settings, with precedents in Judaism beginning with accounts of dancing in the Old Testament. An example is the episode when King David danced before the Ark of the Covenant (2 Sam 6:14), but this instance is often considered to be outside of Jewish norms and Rabbinic rituals prescribed at the time.
Dance has historically been controversial within Christianity. Many records exist of prohibitions by leaders of most branches of the Christian Church, for such reasons as the association of dance with paganism, the use of dance for sexual purposes, and a Greek-influenced belief in the separation of soul and body. Beginning in the second half of the 20th century, there was a significant growth in the use of dance in Christian worship. This received a boost from the charismatic movement of the 1970s, which initiated a transition to contemporary worship in many churches.