Reflections on the 2013-14 Season
Because the Ballet 5:8 Company's main performing season lasts from September - May each year, summer is a great time for us to step back, take a deep breath, and rest in a little thankfulness and awe over what God has done. And oh, the things God has done. A few highlights:
In August 2013, we had the privilege of welcoming then-new company dancers Laura, Miriam-Rose, Lorianne, and Marinna to Chicago from as far away as Florida and Oregon, doubling the size of the performing company from the previous season. Together with returning dancers Lauren Ader-Cumpston, Amy Kozol Sanderson and Samantha Zanol, the group headed into our busiest performing season yet, little knowing it would also turn out to be one of the coldest and snowiest winters Chicago has ever experienced (yes, our Floridian survived). We are still in awe of God's provision to send these particular dancers and missionaries to join Ballet 5:8, each one possessing a vibrant passion for Him and subsequently, for the mission of Ballet 5:8, that has made a crucial difference in the work and ministry we've been able to do this year.
In November, 2013, we had the privilege of participating in Dance Chicago for the first time, joining many other dance artists from our city in a month-long series of performances. There are few better ways to sample and celebrate the Chicago dance scene! In November, we also had the privilege of premiering "As We Pray" at St. Paul's Bible Church. The shorter work is a moving ballet set around the words of The Lord's Prayer that has proven poignant for many, including many Christian schools, and that will return as an ongoing part of Ballet 5:8's rep for the upcoming season.
In December 2013, the School of the Arts performed it's full-length Christmas ballet, The Carpenter's Son, and was able to share the truth of the Christmas story with an audience of 1,100 over two performances.
As the new year arrived, Ballet 5:8 Artistic Director embarked on the journey of the creation of our first-ever full-length story ballet made in not the classical style, but the neoclassical style demanded by the 21st-century music the ballet is set to. The Story of Job: When Bad Things Happen to Good People became the centerpiece of our Spring Series 2014 Tour, which led the company to performances in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Spring Arbor, Michigan, and a sold-out single performance at the Beverly Arts Center in our very own city, Chicago. We are thanking God especially for the fact that the Spring Series tour and our discussion of the tough subject of suffering, through the eyes of Job, led to many significant conversations among staff and audience members alike.
Finally, we were able to wrap up the season with the premiere of a brand-new ballet for the School of the Arts: Racham, a Prodigal Son allegory told in the setting of a classical fairytale ballet. We were once again blessed with a great turnout and heard many, many stories of lives touched through the clear presentation of the Gospel in the story. Meanwhile, our students in the School of the Arts have been making incredible strides towards entering the mainstream dance world as individuals, creating new opportunities to share Christ with their peers. Our advanced students will be spending their summers throughout the U.S. at intensive programs with Gelsey Kirkland Classical Ballet, The Kirov Academy, Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet, among others.
We are praising God for these opportunities throughout the season to use ballet to share meaningful stories and ultimately, the hope of Christ with the communities we serve. Thanks so much for participating with us in this mission through your involvement with Ballet 5:8. Want to get involved? Learn more...