Sunday, May 04, 2008

Gabriella's Dance Recital

Gabriella with two of her homeschool co-op/dance class friends.

For the past year, Gabriella's regular weekly joy has been to attend her dance class at Heart & Sole Dance studio. I will firmly state that prior to last spring I had never once considered allowing my girls to be involved in dance for many reasons; high pressure, immodest clothing & outfits, inappropriate dance styles for young girls, all to name a few... but after I saw a group of students perform under the direction of a Christian teacher with a Christ-centered focus, my mind began to change. I explored the teacher and studio further and spoke to parents who had children work with her previously - I only received glowing reports. This woman had rules about the kind of clothes worn to dance class -modesty required, it was not high pressure performance based dance (regardless of the age group), and it was not about proudly displaying yourself, but to use the body God gave you to praise him through dance. After several months of consideration and prayer, Mike & I decided to enroll Gabriella in the class for the school year - a dream come true for her, she has always had a passion for dance since she was a toddler.

Many of the girls in Gabriella's class were also in our homeschool co-op, so she was surrounded by friends each week. Her teacher is a gem and probably the most patient woman on the planet, and her talents abound. She makes the class fun, not stressful and begins each class with a devotion period.

In April, the big day finally arrived for Gabriella's dance recital - all students in the program would be performing from age 4 through adult. I still harbored concern if Mike & I had made the right choice in having Gabriella involved, but all of it faded away as we watched not only our child, but many others including teens and adults dance in praise to God in a variety of dance styles - all of it artistic, pure, and uplifting. All performances were to Christian music, including hymns, classics, hip-hop, pop, and praise tunes - including favorites like I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me, I Need Thee Every Hour by Selah and You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. We also were able to see the teacher perform, she was splendid to watch. She gave a short talk about her dream to start a Christian dance program to praise God through dance and how it came to be, and her hopes and prayers for the future of the program, including the fact that no child would be turned away for lack of funds or talent. The entire program was in a word: uplifting.

Gabriella did an outstanding job and really shined. She was front & center on the stage and not a bit nervous. Her age group performed twice, once alone and the other with ALL of the students of all ages on stage together for the final dance. She had a fabulous time and has already made her request to be involved in the program next year; she is saddened to have to take the summer off.
Last week we had our last day of homeschool co-op. In one of her classes she had show & tell time where she could bring 2 things to share about that were really special to her this year. She brought one of her American Girl dolls she received as a very special gift from her friend Laura, and her dance slippers. Her teacher found me later specifically to tell me what Gabriella shared with the class (since I was teaching elsewhere). She said when Gabriella talked about dance she summed it up with, "I love to dance because I feel like I'm dancing for Jesus and He is the only one watching. I feel happy when I dance."
Bible Verse from the first class devotion time:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

Gabriella with her teacher Cyndy Murdock (green dress)

Some of the Heart & Sole dance students on stage after final performance

No comments: