BalletMet collaborated with Ministry in Motion Ohio Worship Arts, a Columbus community-based worship and performing arts organization to host a liturgical dance workshop and showcase open to the community this past weekend.
The 51 participants were a diverse group with different levels of dance experience with varying denominations. There was a melting-pot of ethnicities and ages with dancers as young as 13 and as old as in their 70s. (It’s definitely my new aspiration in life to be still dancing when I’m in my 70s!)
The day began for participants with a morning devotion and prayer. Following this was a variety of dance classes: modern taught by BalletMet instructor Maria Glimcher, ballet taught by BalletMet’s Katy Tombaugh Henn, jazz taught by Mariah Layne French from XClaim Dance, a local faith-based dance company, flag worship taught by Rochelle Pitts from God’s Glory Dance Ministry, and finally a choreography class taught by BalletMet’s Director of Education, Ambre Emory-Maier.
Ambre, who coordinated the event, described the workshop atmosphere as “uplifting and positive.” The participants were eager to learn and to be in the company of other like-minded people who love to dance, she said.
After the day’s work, the participants prepared for their time to take the stage in the evening’s showcase in the BalletMet performance space, where Ambre was stage and production manager.
The proceeds from the showcase, which totaled to $277, were “love donations” from the audience. These funds were donated to the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus for Haiti aid.
In all there were 9 dances with varied music from contemporary rock, gospel, classical, Latin-inspired, and even a live, original song. The costumes were of simple, conservative dress with an emphasis on the color, which hold important religious and spiritual meanings.
A special feature of the performance was a pas de deux performed by BalletMet trainees Monica Giragosian and Emelio Lugo. The piece entitled Bach Cantata #10 was choreographed by Michael Uthoff, Artistic and Executive Director of Dance St. Louis.
This is BalletMet’s third year hosting this event and it’s an event that Ambre looks forward to every year because of the community outreach. Often, liturgical dancers never get the opportunity to dance in a large space with mirrors and perform on a stage, she said.
“We see a need within the community that we’re trying to meet,” she said. “By offering our facility and dance expertise participants begin to know BalletMet. By doing this type of program we’re not making a statement about religion, but rather building a partnership for which all can learn.”
Ministry in Motion’s founder Lorii Williams Wallace describes the workshop as a “wonderful partnership” that fosters both personal growth and fellowship with others. It’s a great opportunity for members of the community to get dance training from professional dancers, she said.
After dancing for many years Lorii started Ministry in Motion to use dance as a means to “unite people, to heal, to develop others, and to create wonderful visions by bringing the words in the Bible to life.” Since then, the organization has worked with over 100 churches, dance companies, and organizations.
Click here to learn more about Ministry in Motion's upcoming events and how to get involved.