Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preparations for "A Sacrifice of Praise"

The Lord willing, The King's Praise Ballet will present their end-of-the-year recital, "A Sacrifice of Praise," on Saturday, May 1st. It's still more than 3 months away, but preparations have been in full swing since the end of December.

There have been songs to find - 14 to be exact. After listening to almost all of my CDs and searching online, I was able to find songs that fit each class and work together as a whole.

Next, comes the task of choreographing them all. It's fun, but time-consuming work. The best way for me is to listen to the songs over and over as I work on other things, getting fully familiar with each song. I then edit/shorten the song if need be, so that the girls aren't onstage for too long and are able to learn the dance without too much repetitive music. 4 minutes is usually the maximum length, 3 minutes the goal, and 2 minutes if they're really small. Generally, the younger the girls, the shorter the song. :)

Then, as I've been doing this past month, I take time to focus on each song, listening to it as a whole, then coming up with movements phrase-by-phrase. While I listen to the music the weeks before choreographing, I nearly always get visual pictures of what different parts could look like. This can be dangerous, though, for sometimes inspiration comes at the most random of times - like the time I was driving to a friend's house and missed my exit on the highway because my head was full of dance moves for a particular song. *ahem*

This time, it's been fun to think more outside of the box, and come up with different patterns and ways of moving. I try to make each dance different, which can be difficult when you're choreographing many songs at once and working with beginning dancers. But, God is so awesome to give much inspiration and creativity! So far, I have 7 songs completed and 5 partially done. I write down the choreography for each song in my notebook, to keep track of them all.

I've already started teaching the girls their dances, which is always a hard period. There never seems to be enough time in class to do barre work, stretching, combinations, and learn a dance! But, I try to balance it out, even if we don't accomplish it all each week. It's always difficult to translate what I see in my head into the the hearts and bodies of my students, but it is exciting to see things begin to take shape.

Another big part of preparing for a presentation is finding the costumes. It's very hard to find modest, beautiful costumes, especially for older girls. But, by God's grace I found some lovely ones, though some will need layering to make them work. It was a long search, and I joined 5 costume companies in the process, but I finally found affordable, tasteful options. Measurements are being taken this week, and the orders should be placed next week!

The props this year have been fun to find and create as well. I've tried to make each class have something different, so some will have billows and large flags, others crowns, some long, wide ribbons, others smaller, many-colored ribbons, and multi-colored flags and pastel fabric drapes round out the selection. The search takes a long time - and the fabric department at Hobby Lobby has come to recognize me as I go in use a 40% off coupon nearly every time I'm in the area - but it is enjoyable.

There's still much to do, but though it can be tiring and overwhelming at times, I am enjoying the preparations. It takes sacrifices, but through these sacrifices, I hope to bring God praise!

Please pray that the preparations will continue to go well, and that God will be glorified through it all.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Silent Prayer

Due to the music copyright, I'm unable to upload videos of the dances that were done in "Beyond Bethlehem." However, a blogging friend still wanted to see a dance of mine, so I have uploaded the dance that opened the musical, only without any audio. The music it was done to is "Hope of Israel" by Michael W. Smith, a beautiful instrumental and moving piece. The dance isn't the same without the emotion of the music, but at least you get some idea of what it was like.

Click here to see it larger on

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pictures of Beyond Bethlehem

I've finally uploaded pictures from the dress rehearsals of "Beyond Bethlehem." In chronological order, the pictures and captions help give a taste of what the story was all about.

See the Picasa Web Album of pictures by going here!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Slideshow of Pictures from Beyond Bethlehem

It's been a wonderful production, one with memories that will definitely last...

See it larger on by going here.

Introducing the Cast of "Beyond Bethlehem"

It was a pleasure to work with all of these people! It was a large cast, with many things to coordinate, but they made it quite enjoyable and were very helpful.

See it larger on by going here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

She Failed Art

Mrs. Susie has long been an inspiration to me. She exemplifies Godly womanhood and trust in God even through the hard times. When I was ten, she was my beloved Sunday School teacher; now, two of her granddaughters take dance from me. Her life continues to bless others as she encourages and serves many, often without recognition.

She also has a gift for artistry, and many people have been blessed with the beauty she brings. Over the years, church sanctuaries, special events, homes, and weddings have been transformed by her touch. She allows God to work through her, and brings glory to Him with the results.

With all of her skill, she must have had extensive training in the arts, right? While she worked on turning a theatre set into ancient Israel, we asked her: “Mrs. Susie, did you take art growing up?” She acknowledged that she had taken one art course in college, and with a half-smile, remarked that she had failed it. The teacher refused to pass her because, though her art was good, the teacher said she worked too slow.

It took a minute for me to comprehend it all. Here she was, making brown paper look like the Judean countryside with a little bit of chalk, being asked to do so only the night before, and only having 3 hours to finish – and she failed art class for working too slow?

That class was the end of her formal artistic training, but she didn’t let it stop her from using her gifts. Even now, many years later, she continues to use her talents on an ongoing basis. I wonder how many of her classmates – those that passed the course with straight As – still use their training to do art. God truly works in unique ways.

What if she had given up? What if she had believed that she really was too slow, and didn’t have what it took to be an artist? There would be a lot less beauty in this community, among her family, and among her church. Her daughter probably wouldn’t have become the artist she is now, which she learned to be through helping her mother. My sister’s wedding locations wouldn’t have been decorated so beautifully, and the set of “Beyond Bethlehem” would still be lacking something.

Yet, Mrs. Susie didn’t give up. She persevered and trusted God to use her gifts as He saw fit. She may not have trained in a world-class arts school, but she has learned to see things through His eyes. And as she allows His creativity to work through her, she has touched the world in ways she may never know.

What about you? Is there something God has called you to do, but that seems too hard, and you feel like giving up? Have others told you that your work isn’t good enough, that you don’t have what it takes? Take encouragement from Mrs. Susie, and don’t lose heart. If God has called you to do something, He will give you the strength and ability to bring it about.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Royalty Free Music

After struggling to find music licenses for songs I wanted to record on DVD, I was relieved to find this free music resource. The site lists different places that offer free music without royalty fees, and is very helpful for those wanting to use music in things without breaking the law. This site has some especially beautiful music, from which I am using a few pieces for slideshows of pictures from "Beyond Bethlehem."

If you're needing music for a project, check out the helpful resources above!