Johnetta Luther

Laci Ollison | March 15th, 2019
Johnetta Luther (Photos by Luguzy Atkins)

Johnetta Luther (Photos by Luguzy Atkins)

White paint covers the entirety of her face while crisp white gloves adorn her hands. An eager audience sits in front of her, watching intently. The music begins, and Johnetta Luther gracefully articulates the lyrics of the inspirational song through movements with her body. Her audience participates alongside her by humming, clapping, and letting out jubilant “amen’s” and “hallelujah’s.”

A Greensboro native, Johnetta established “Silent Voice Mime Ministry” after she began receiving invitations to perform at local churches. At 15 years old, Johnetta became a dancer, ministering to people through mime. 10-years-later, she officially became an artist.

“I started out dancing on the dance team at church,” Johnetta said. “My mother was the leader of the dance ministry.” But after other girls on the dance team were unable to attend some of the engagements, Johnetta said she began traveling by herself. “My aunt told me I should put on white paint.” This is when Silent Voice Mime Ministry was birthed.

But Johnetta said the decision to dance by herself wasn’t an easy one to make. “I was discouraged at first because I was so used to dancing with a group,” says Johnetta. “I was nervous about dancing by myself.” A conversation with her pastor changed her view and gave her the confidence she needed to launch her solo mime ministry. “My pastor told me that when he preaches, sometimes it’s a full room, and sometimes it’s only a few people there; sometimes his wife is there, and sometimes she isn’t. But he still preaches anyways.”

Since then, Johnetta has ministered in churches across the triad, and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. “I realized that I have an anointing on my life,” says the mime dancer. “I’m not going to take it lightly.” Johnetta says that any time she gets the opportunity to praise God through the music and lyrics of gospel artists, she will take that chance.

“I don’t come up with a routine unless there is repetition in the song,” says Johnetta. “I just go for how I see the song being played out in my life.”
The dancer says that she tries to make each performance unique. Typically, when she receives an engagement, she chooses a song that reflects the theme or occasion of the program. She will then spend time rehearsing and memorizing the song. “It’s about knowing the song. From every beat to every ad lib; you have to flow with the spirit or else it will look sloppy.” Johnetta says that she allows the words of the song to minister to her as she is practicing for an upcoming engagement. She tries to apply the song to her life so that it can be symbolic for how she ministers.

But there was one point when Johnetta says her praise was all she had. “We found out that my father had cancer and within a few months he passed away; I was eight months pregnant.” For Johnetta, losing her father came as a major devastation. But she continued to give God praise through her dance and mime ministry. “I used my life to praise God,” Johnetta says. “So that hopefully someone will see God through me.”

Johnetta says that she wants to show others how she is able to praise God even while things seem tough, because that is how she is able to cope with the loss of her father. “My father was my best friend. He took care of me and raised me to be the woman that I am today. Losing him and dealing with his loss has been a huge transition.” Johnetta says the birth of her son was the moment that her joy returned.

Johnathan is Johnetta’s pride and joy. And at just 5-years-old he is already beginning to carry the legacy of Silent Voice Mime Ministry by ministering alongside his mother. “I want to leave something for him to carry on. I am passing on my passion to my son.”

Johnetta hopes to encourage the next generation of mime and praise dancers. She encourages others who minister through dance to “believe in the God that’s in you.” Johnetta says that if you can believe in the God that’s in you, then you can tell someone else about Him. “You have to find God in you before you can show someone else.”

She also reminds other to not look for applause from other people. Johnetta encourages other dancers to be authentic in their dance and remember the real reason why they are performing. “I’ve been there when it was entertainment. Don’t make it entertainment, make it a praise. It’s good fun but remember what you’re doing it for. Don’t get carried away with the paint because it has to come off.”

For Johnetta, mime is more than a performance; it’s ministry. She even recalls a time when someone received salvation after she was finished ministering at a church. “I had just finished ministering One More Chance by Ricky Dillard. That’s one of my favorite songs. The spirit was so high.” An impromptu altar call was extended, and one young lady gave her life to Christ that night.

Johnetta says that her main goal is to let people know about the God that she serves. As she says, “knowing Him will keep you grounded.”

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