Tuesday, May 21st marked the Ballet 5:8 company's final performance of the 2012-2013 Season. Certainly, there was an overwhelming rush of emotion as the company's first ever team of six professional dancers bowed at the end of Doxa - To Worship. The conclusion of the piece marked the final time that this group of dancers, hailing literally from around the world, would perform together, having become like family after sharing nine months of true adventure in close quarters as Chicago's first ever missionary ballet company. A little over a week later, we are all still in awe over how God used the fledgling ministry of Ballet 5:8 in the span of the nine short months of the first performing season. Ballet 5:8 had the privilege of performing over 50 times during the season in venues big and small, likely and unlikely. Favorite venues included the Fine Arts Weeks at schools Wheaton Academy and Franklin Fine Arts Center, the International Arts Festival outside in Chicago's Daly Plaza, the collaborative theater run Common Threads sponsored by Tapestry Dance Company, Moody Bible Institute's Missions Conference, and First Free Church's Semeiotic as part of the annual Andersonville Arts Walk. We also enjoyed opportunities to partner with several area churches, to teach workshops at dance schools as far as Spring Arbor, Michigan, and even to bring meaningful discussions to a Logan Square Vaudeville show.
Of course, our goal is that our performances are never an end to themselves. We are humbled to be able to report that God, by His grace, has impacted our audience members through our performances. We've heard of hearts uplifted and encouraged, difficult but right decisions made, students inspired to use their gifts and talents for Christ, and at least one declaration of faith. We've also had great opportunities to engage in conversation and community with other Chicago artists through our participation in collaborative performance opportunities. We are left in awe, praising God for a truly incredible year of ministry.
Now, looking forward is a bittersweet activity as change approaches. Our ministry partner Helen Cooper has returned to her home country of Australia after obeying God's call to spend just one short season with our ballet company, and of course, the upcoming 2013-2014 season will not be the same without her. However, even as God is calling Cooper away from Ballet 5:8, He seems to be calling others to join the ministry. It is with great anticipation that we await the various summer arrivals of at least six new company artists, apprentices and trainees slated to join our ranks this August, and each dancer brings a new range of gifts, talents, and a heart for ministry to the organization. With the addition of the full Proverbs ballet to the company repertoire, and a brand-new original story ballet for the School of the Arts in Spring 2014 on the horizon, and much more, the 2013-2014 promises to be just as full - if not more so - as the first.
Please be in prayer for Ballet 5:8 this summer as we prepare for the coming performing season and to host 40+ students at our two-week summer intensive program. Students attending from the School of the Arts and from as far as Alaska will be able to study with Ballet 5:8 artistic staff and guest instructors strong in the Faith as well as in the arts, including Sol Nazario, Sarah Rabbers, Colleen Klein, Michelle Burger and others. It is our hope that students leave not only as stronger dancers, but more importantly, holding on all the more tightly to the eternal Salvation that comes only through the promise of Jesus Christ.