Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After Costumes are Returned...

Three hours of sorting and taking inventory of the costumes used this semester... But it was actually fun! Now to wash them all...

Music credit: Caylea Ingram

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

To God be the glory!

It's always amazing to see the full group together... and to know that it's God that does it all!

Flying at Creation's Promise

"Creation's Promise" at Merrwood Lodge

 Despite the chandelier, which is always something to watch out for in leaps or with ribbons, MerryWood Lodge is always a very welcoming place to dance. The enthusiastic events coordinator is very encouraging each time we come.

Heavy rain and a tornado watch made us delay the presentation by 15 minutes, but God allowed many girls to come and dance beautifully for Him!

"Tell ol' Pharaoh, Let My people go!"

Swirls of white and purple for a song about David

Swirling skirts are always fun!

"Praise Ye the Lord - His mercy endures forever and ever!"

"He cried ' O bones, O bones a walkin'" (from "Ezekiel Saw da Wheel!")

Swirls of purple and blue

Celebrating Jesus after building His genealogy through "Matthew's Begats"

"Christ the Lord the newborn King!"

Developpes are a big part of "How Suddenly a Baby Cries" :)
Picture credit: J.P. Lofgren - and thanks to the mom who let us borrow her camera!

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Creation's Promise" at Charlton Place

 On Thursday, about half of the classes presented their dances at Charlton Place. It's always challenging to adjust to a different performance space (especially when you're using flags and the ceilings are low and there's a light fixture to watch out for) but it's a blessing to hear from residents afterwards again and again how they SO enjoyed it. Such a priviledge to show God's love through dance!

It's also a great "first performance" atmosphere! :)

Preparing for "Bring Us Home"

Having fun with "Joshua Fought the Battle" - upbeat and smiles!

3 of the girls in Wee 1 were sick, but the one that could come did well with the helpers! Please pray for all the dancers who are sick that they recover quickly and no one else gets sick this week!

It's been fun having guys fill in parts needed - here's "Daniel"!

"Born for This" ending pose

I'm enjoying playing Mary one more time... "I'm just a girl, nothing more; but I am willing; I am Yours"

"Can you see the wise men, a star to guide them, searching all the earth?"

"So Lamb of God, I offer me"

Preparing to proclaim that "Jesus is Alive!"
Picture credit: Silvia P.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teaching my last class...

Cleaned up. Went in to turn off the lights. A student helped me carry in a table, and we just stood there for a moment. I saw her look and gave her a hug, then we went out and I flicked off the lights. My last class as Miss Anna - complete.

For a girl who thought she was too shy to ever teach, God has brought me a long way. From my first classes with 15 students total at age 16, to my last class of many, full of 20 girls (since classes were combined this week)... Wow. And how fitting that many in that very last class I taught today were also in that first class years ago...

I walked through the church building to make sure doors were locked and lights turned off , thinking I was alone. But when I came back, my student - my friend - was still there. We hugged more, shed some tears, spoke some... But what do you say in moments like that? Change is hard. Letting go is hard.

I will miss my girls. The scrapbook Ballet IV gave me, with pictures of them and letters is something I 'll cherish. It will go with me as I become Mrs. Wolfe, will be a wonderful reminder to pray for these girls that have been so much more than students - much more like younger sisters and friends. True friends. There haven't been many friends my age in the area, but my students have welcomed me at their birthday parties and in on their conversations. I've gone out for meals with them, played many games, and been encouraged as I've seen them following the Lord. And I think Jenga will be my new favorite game, with the set they gave that has notes and verses on the pieces. :)

The tears, the sweet words... bring me back to something I wrote back in 2007. I wasn't wanting to go to college, wanting instead to stay home and learn from there while continuing to teach and direct. I wrote:
"When I marry or move on, I want to leave behind a lasting impact on the lives of many. I want to bless them with God's love, and serve them in His Spirit. I don't want them to just think “Oh, she was a nice girl.” I want them to miss me when I'm gone."
 I did go to college, but after a year God made it clear that it was time to come back. The 3 1/2 years since have been so full, so full of being able to pour into the lives of others and be richly blessed in return. And little did I know how true those words I penned at age 17 would be so true at age 22. Only God...

People ask if it's hard to stop teaching. I'm sure it will hit me more when "Creation's Promise" is over on December 15th. But, truly, all I feel is joy in looking at the next season. I WILL miss "my girls" - so much! But I can't wait to trade my job title as "ballet teacher" to that of "wife," and if God so blesses one day, "mother."

Teaching ballet was never something I set out to do. It just "happened" as God in His sovereignty took me outside of my comfort zone to bless girls that wanted to dance. I developed a passion for seeing Him glorified through dance and providing a modest and God-honoring atmosphere for girls to learn and grow. But I always knew this was a season... 

It was hard to be content in that season at times. I desired marriage. But I knew God had me here for a purpose, and I wanted to "worship in the waiting." God is SO faithful and SO good. I am glad that every time I was tempted to doubt, He always brought me back to a place of trust.

All I've done, all I've taught, has been from Him. And as I remind the girls, though I'm leaving, God is not. No, it's not the same... The sorrow is real. Tears are good. Letting go is hard, but needed...

And for many, dancing WILL still continue. God has provided in beautiful ways. I look forward to coming back and seeing "my girls" still dancing for Him, many passing on the art form - but more than that, the heart for worship - to other girls. Giving as they've been given much. 

Through the tears, I am blessed by these girls that yet rejoice.  They see God's hand in bringing Ryan and I together, and are able to "rejoice with those who rejoice" as my happiness - my overwhelming JOY in my man - means some sadness for them. And yet joy, to know God is faithful in creating marriages in His good time and way.

His gifts - for a season or a lifetime - are so good!

Rejoicing in Him!

*Miss* (for 53 more days!) Anna

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Come to "Creation's Promise"

It's just 2 weeks away! If you're in the area, we hope you can make it!

Friday, November 23, 2012

On Choreography

This year, for the first time, I choreographed and taught an entire dance to other class members. I've done smaller dances before for me and my three younger sisters... but this one was for 9 girls (including me), two dads, and a brother. I also helped with the choreography for another dance. Along the way, there were unexpected challenges and equally unexpected rewards. For instance, I have learned that:

  • Nine girls in a very small room makes it very hard for everyone to focus, but...
  • Even when nothing seems to be going right, God gives me the patience and grace to keep my head. Which is a miracle in itself.
  • It's easier to teach people in twos and threes than all at once.
  • The things I thought would be easy for everyone to understand were hard, and the things I thought would be challenging were mastered quickly.
  • No matter what they say and do while I'm teaching the dance, there are girls who care as much as I do about learning it well ... and it shows!
  • If you dance outside in bare feet on a cold day, you can't feel the ants when they bite you.
  • I can't teach a dance and answer costume questions at the same time.
  • I wish that, in the past, I hadn't asked Anna costume questions while she was teaching a dance.
  • If you're not going to write down your choreography, you'd better practice it OFTEN, or you will forget it by the time you have to teach it and, therefore, will have to make it up on the fly.
  • The device that plays music from a disc is called a "CD player," not a "boom box." And it is a very important device!
  • When asking people to play the part of Adam and Eve, be sure to specify what they're wearing up front. =) (Which, by the way, is a tan tunic with tan pants or a tan skirt.)
  • Having a former gymnast who can do handsprings is helpful when choreographing the fish in Creation. (Don't ask, just come and see!)
  • When there's no one else around to video the dance for the girls to practice with, a 6-year old can run a camera just fine!
  • Seeing everything come together, despite all the train wrecks in practice, sends chills down my spine.
  • Hearing your sister say that she didn't like the song that much initially, but now she likes it because of the way the dance interprets it, is one of the highest praises.
  • If this dance really does come together, all glory goes to the God who gave me the creativity, energy, peace, patience, and wisdom to choreograph and teach it. And to the God who took the little I could do and brought it all together.
The other day, I was listening to music for next semester and started thinking, "Whoa, I wonder what we'll be doing to this!" And then I realized... I very well may have to come up with what we're doing to that particular song! And if I don't, the other girls my age will! It will definitely be an adjustment to not have Anna here. But it will give us all the opportunity to grow. Choreography is fun, but sometimes stressful because there is a deadline... you can only teach what you've come up with so far, and the girls can't practice until they're taught. It's a privilege, but it comes with a risk. But God's grace is sufficient. Even when time is not.    

Lions and Scrunchies and Sashes, Oh My!

A few weeks ago, several lovely ladies helped out with the sewing, gluing, and tying of costumes. When the tulle and satin settled, we were much closer to finished costumes. And we had fun along the way!

Poor Katie got assigned the thousands of tutu scrunchies. She faithfully tied strips of tulle ribbon onto hair ties for hours!

The first shot at the lion's mane was WAY too long and poofy. But it sure made for a glamorous Statue of Liberty!

Ah... that's better!

Fish pants. =)

It takes special training to run one of these... still confuses me!

Pink satin sashes for both "Creation's Promise" and Anna's wedding!

Near the end, some of the girls helped sort the costumes we'd already assembled. This is the most costumes I think we've ever had!

Seeing a costume all together makes everything worth it!


Monday, November 5, 2012

More Fun Ballet Attire

 Due to a busy last few weeks (including sewing my wedding dress with my sister-in-law and finishing up all "Creation's Promise" choreography except for my solo!) I hadn't yet posted these fun ballet attire pictures from October 23 & 25.

Ballet III (green)
Ballet I (royal blue)

Ballet IV (2-day students) - I always forget how MANY there are in this class! :)

Ballet IV-B (maroon)

Ballet II-A (purple) - these girls keep me laughing!

Ballet IV-A (cream)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Costumes in Progress!

These last several weeks have involved lots of hunting down costumes for around 100 dancers, many of whom will wear more than one costume during the Christmas recital. While we have many costumes already "in stock" from previous performances, there are many specific things that we didn't have (like the animals in Noah's Ark!). It's fun to see some of the time and effort paying off as boxes and boxes of costumes arrive!

It's like Christmas before Christmas! The sparkly pink and purple costumes are for the "fish" in a dance depicting Creation...I'm personally especially excited about them!

While we have ordered about seven gazillion tops, overlays, and other costumes, some things we have to make get them just so! And cheaper! I mean, where are you going to find a lion's mane made of neon yellow tulle that will not scratch little girls' faces? Or a full length snake costume that you can actually dance in? So... with the help of my wonderful mom, sisters Katherine and Abi, and friends LeAnn, Miriam, and Ms. Wendy, we bought yards and yards of satin, ribbon, netting, broadcloth...and other little accessories.

And no, not everyone will be dancing as animals. But since we've never had people representing animals (other than lambs) before, those are the ones we have to specially buy and make this time around! Now, to assemble, organize, and sew everything...

When Anna "bequeathed" the costume closet and everything related to it to my sisters and me, I didn't really understand what all that meant...starting to really appreciate how much Anna has had on her plate the last 5 years of the King's Praise Ballet! Prayers are appreciated for creativity, minimal failure and problems, and maximum joy and energy for all of us as we tackle this huge task! To God be all the glory!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fun Ballet Attire: Wee 1 and Wee 3

                                                                Wee 1/Sky Blue

                                                                   Wee 3/Violet

The girls have been working so hard on their dances! It's such a joy to see them progress!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wee 2 Fun Ballet Attire Day!

Lots of pretty colors!

Fun Ballet Attire - Basics & Ballet II-B

                                                                   Basic Ballet 1(Red)

                                                                    Ballet II-B (Peach)

                                                                Basic Ballet 3 (Pink)   
                                                               Basic Ballet 2 (Lime)
                                         I (Jubilee Lofgren) really enjoyed teaching the Basics today!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Maroon, Purple, & Cream

 Last color day of the semester!

Wee 2 (yellow) pictures!

Smiling girls - a joy to teach!

Practicing an arabesque...