Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Welcome Back! Ad Deum Celebrates 15 Seasons

Here at Ad Deum Dance Company, we are back and in full swing as we celebrate our 15th season of doing what we do best: laying our gift of dance down at God’s throne of grace.

We’ve already had the opportunity to perform at several unique venues – Bailando Dance Festival, Project Dance Atlanta, Houston Kidney Action Day – and are busy preparing for a couple more before Thanksgiving.

This weekend is the Ad Deum & Ad Deum II Dance Company Fall Concert in which both companies will be sharing the stage for an evening of diverse works from the company’s repertoire.

At the same time we are preparing for the Fall Concert, the main company is four weeks deep in a collaboration with Dr. Paulo Gomes of the Houston Camerata  and Durell Comedy of The Limón Dance Company for Mozart’s Waisenhaus Mass. Both the conductor and choreographer have long waited for an opportunity to work with this masterful piece of music, and we couldn’t be happier getting caught in the middle of the creativity flowing between the two!

Fun Fact: We are learning all the choreography from videos, which are sent to us after Comedy choreographs the pieces on a cast of dance majors at George Mason University.

Well, it’s time for us to head back to studio. As you can probably imagine, we're in the middle of a busy week; but we certainly hope to see you at one of our upcoming concerts. Don’t forget to say hello after the show!

If You’re Going:

Ad Deum & Ad Deum II Dance Company Fall Concert
Saturday, November 1 at 7:30pm
Houston Community College – Spring Branch Campus
1010 Sam Houston Pkwy
Houston, TX 77043

Tickets: $10 (cash or check only)

Mozart’s Waisenhaus Mass – Too Many Notes… And So Many Toes!

Friday, November 7 at 7:30pm
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
18220 Upper Bay Road
Houston, TX 77058

Saturday, November 8 at 7:30pm
Grace Presbyterian Church
10221 Ella Lee Lane
Houston, TX 77042

Tickets: $15 – general admission; $10 – seniors/students with valid ID
Advance sales at www.houstoncamerata.com

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dancer Profile: Whitney Dufrene

"Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness combined with our faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God's glory. But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people." (Rom. 5: 1-6)

Whitney Dufrene

Whitney Dufrene, from Louisiana, received her B.F.A. in Dance from Belhaven University. She trained with Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre and Point Park University, and attended intensives with Doug Varone and Dancers, Juilliard, Nashville Ballet, Houston Ballet, and CPYB. Whitney began working with Ad Deum Dance Company in January of 2013, and is honored to be here. Soli Deo Gloria.

Fun Facts:
1. Do you have a nick name? Whit, Whittle

2. Where are you from? Baton Rouge, Louisiana

3. How many years have you been dancing? I have been dancing for twenty one years! For as long as I can remember, I have passionately loved to dance:)

4. Favorite style or styles of dance?

There is something to appreciate from all styles, but I am most deeply moved by contemporary/modern movement. I really love musical theater jazz as well--particularly work by Bob Fosse, Gene Kelly, and Jerome Robbins. I am also a big Donald O'Connor fan! Make 'em laugh!

5. What made you want to start dancing?

For as long as I can remember, movement has always been my deepest joy! I didn't know it at the age of three--but God called me to worship Him through dance! Let my lifesong sing to you, Jesus! I feel the most who-I-was-created-to-be when I am moving. I feel closest to the Lord when I am communing with Him through the beautiful gift of dance. What an amazing way to express the human heart--crying out to God and praising Him through movement!

6. What dance companies or dancers inspire you?

DOUG VARONE AND DANCERS! Doug Varone, Eddie Taketa, Julia Burrer, Xan Burley, Alex Springer, Erin Owen, Hsiao Jou Tang, Hollis Bartlett, Colin Stilwell, Ryan Corriston, Natalie Desch, Netta Yerushalmy, and Daniel Charon. I am also completely inspired by the Ririe-Woodbury company, the Limon Company, Lar Lubovitch, Hubbard Street, Batsheva Dance Company, Spencer and Andrea from iMEE, Stephen Wynne, Steve Rooks, Karen Castleman, Vincent Hardy, Pina Bausch, Jason Mcdole, all of my amazing faculty and peers at Belhaven University, and so many more!

7. Favorite work of Ad Deum?

I can't choose one! haha! I can narrow it down to four: Rwanda Cry, Joyful Noise, Exodus, and Corpus Instrumental. Whoah man...so much that I could say here. Rwanda Cry--oh dear goodness! This piece captivates and ruins my heart completely! What a powerful work created by God through Steve Rooks! Joyful Noise--a brilliant work choreographed by God through Durrell Comedy. I have never experienced a piece that pierced directly through the heart of my personal testimony. Every time on stage is a beautiful moment with the Lord, reflecting back on His faithfulness and sovereignty! Exodus...I am slightly partial to this work:). A beautiful piece choreographed by God through Ryan Corriston--in my favorite style of moving. So powerful, so rich, so full--so HOPEFUL! It dives into the promise God has made to set the captives free--He WILL do this! Amen! And finally, Corpus Instrumental: a breathtaking offering choreographed by God through Randall Flinn surrounding the beautiful verses in Romans 12 that state: "Because of God's mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don't be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can discern what God's will is--his good and perfect will."

8. Favorite performance or outreach?

Ahhhhh! So hard to choose just one! I have been blessed by them all! I would have to say Project Dance Houston, our visits to Amazing Place, and also the Veteran's Hospital--as well as the children's school for the hearing impaired. Oh my heart!

9. Favorite Ad Deum memory?

Morning devotional/worship gathering time! To sit in the circle each morning with this amazing group of people is an honor and a privilege. I learn so much about Christ from each and every one of the Ad Deum members every single day. I am very blessed!

Also--Project Dance Houston weekend this year. It was my first Project Dance--whoah baby yeah! A-MAZING!.

10. Favorite food?

Mango! Partially because it's awesome! But mostly because it reminds me of Haiti! Mwen sonje ti moun yo anpil--Le Bondye di mwen, map retourne la!

11. What would you do if you were not a dancer?

So many desires! Wahhhhhhh!!!! I would either be a Child Life Specialist, or work in orphan care somehow. Perhaps a Fair Trade advocate, human trafficking victim defender, social worker, working full-time with Joni and Friends, listener.....not sure! These are all on my heart! We shall see how the Lord weaves this life together perfectly for His glory!

12. What type of music do you listen to?

Worship! (Bethel, IHOP, Jesus Culture, Hillsong, etc), Classical (I LOVE strings!), and Musicals! (particularly Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Parade, Singin in the Rain, Top Hat, etc.)

13. Random fact?

I love babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"Dance through me O Holy Breath, move my being to bring you honor. Guard and guide my steps, as my soul delights to follow you. Let my ears be in tune with your music and the rhythm of my heart beat with your desires. Grant the grace that I ...so need to keep me dancing freely through this life. Deliver me from the weight of darkness that longs to shackle my feet. Precious Holy Breath, if and when I might stumble, be quick to raise me again, revive and restore me to the dance that brings you honor. Liberate the true dancer in me, formed by the wind of your Image. Sacred Breath, bid me to dance with you, everlasting, eternal, dance with you." --Randall Flinn

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dancer Profile: Ann Sterling Dale

 "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

 Zephaniah 3:17

Ann Sterling Dale   

Ann Sterling Dale received a B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from Elon University. She trained at the Ailey School, Steps on Broadway, Parsons Dance, the Jennifer Muller The Works scholarship program, and Arrows International. She has performed in NYC with Bala Sole Dance Company, The Next Stage Project, and Flexicurve. She has a passion for choreography and has shown work in the NYC Young Choreographer’s Festival. She is currently teaching dance in  the Houston area, and she desires to use dance as worship. Ann Sterling is excited to return for her second season with Ad Deum.

Fun Facts:
1. Where are you from? Statesville, NC

2. How many years have you been dancing? Twenty years! 
3. Favorite style or styles of dance? JAZZ is my favorite style because I love athletic, strong, fast movement, jumps and turns! I also absolutely love Hip-Hop and African because they have so much rhythm and soul at the core of the styles!! : ) 

4. What made you want to start dancing? Jesus..: ) But really! My mom was a dancer, so she most likely signed me up for dance classes because I was dancing around the house to music. Or why did you start dancing?

5. What dancers or dance companies inspire you? Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and Parsons Dance

6. Favorite work of Ad Deum? Innocence Not Lost because it is such a powerful and relevant work to the culture today in American and all over the world, and it is a form of intercession for the girls who are being trafficked. 

7. Favorite Performance or Outreach? It was Project Dance Houston last year because I love dancing outside, and my parents were there, and the GLORY of the LORD fell upon that place as we danced and worshipped!

8. Favorite Ad Deum Memory? The day we all dressed up as random characters and did an epic improv dance for Stella's birthday at 8:30 am, and Dan dressed up as Spider Man (full costume), and Andreas was dancing around with a vacuum and a broom, and I was jumping, leaping and bouncing non-stop without warming up and wearing sunglasses of course! 

9. Favorite Food? Raspberries!! They are the perfect mixture of tartness and sweetness!

10. What would you do if you were not a dancer? I would be a fitness instructor and a writer

11. What type of music do you listen to? Worship

12. Random Fact? I play the harp and I like to mimic people : ) AND smiling's my favorite!

"To dance is to live!", "Dance is the hidden language of the soul, of the body", "Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion"
- Martha Graham

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dancer Profile: Tiffany Schrepferman

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
                                                                                               Psalm 37:3-7

Tiffany Schrepferman

Tiffany is currently serving as the Technical Director of Ad Deum Dance Company in addition to performing with the company. After graduating from Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, she worked for three summers as the Production Stage Manager of the Reynolds Theater at the American Dance Festival held at Duke University. Tiffany is excited to be a part of the Ad Deum community for her fourth season.

Fun Facts:
1. Nick name? T. Schrep or Schrep

2. Where are you from? Columbus, MS

3. How many years have you been dancing? I've been dancing for as long as I can remember! There are home videos of me at 2-3 years old twirling around in the living room to praise music, but I have officially been training since I was 7.

4. Favorite style or styles of dance? Ballet was my first love because that is what I started with and how I first found my passion for dance, but I love contemporary and modern dance because I feel like it is so real and expressive; very much based in emotion and story that is relevant to the viewer, as well as experiemential for the performer. I also love flamenco and Irish dancing and enjoy performing both.

5. What made you want to start dancing? I have been dancing for as long as I can remember. I feel like that is a very natural part of who I am - I was born for this, and I feel closest to God when I dance. When I saw my first ballet performance by Ballet Magnificat when I was 8 years old, that is when I decided 'I really want to do this, that is who I want to be.' They performed the work "Savior" and even at that young age I remember being struck by the power of the story through movement, and wanting to be a part of it.

6. What dancers or dance companies inspire you? Spencer and Andrea of iMee Dance Company, Dawn Dipple of Revolve Dance Company, NobleMotion Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ceder Lake Contemporary Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, RUBBERBANDance Group, Eiko & Koma, Vertigo Dance Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, Batsheva Dance Company, Scottish Dance Theatre... I have a long list. = )

7. Favorite work of Ad Deum? Topping the list would be "Propphets" the first piece that I ever saw Ad Deum perform. The Lord used this piece to speak to me very personally and deeply. Then "Innocence Not Lost"- even though it is extremely hard on the body to perform, this piece is a cry and a prayer on behalf of those who have no voice, and I am honored to dance it for them.

8. Favorite Performance or Outreach of the year? Anytime we get to do a Human trafficking benefit concert, or perform in an awareness event. I also really enjoy our Spring Break Intensive/Project Dance Performances.

9. Favorite Ad Deum Memory? Performing "Innocence Not Lost" at a human trafficking benefit concert on my birthday 2 years ago. We were sitting backstage getting ready to go on and we could hear the speaker telling her story before us. She had been a victim of human trafficking and had been rescued. Her story was so moving and I'm pretty sure that all of us were crying backstage, then we went out to dance and I felt like we all connected so much with what we were dancing about, and really interceded on behalf of those girls. After that day, I feel like we really bonded as a group and in mutual purpose, and it shifted the way we connected to each other and danced together from then on in a good way.

10. Favorite Food? AVOCADOS!!! They are just so good! But I also have a weakness for Whole Foods pizza.

11. What would you do if you were not a dancer? I would be a Lighting Designer/Stage Manager, and possibly a Dance Festival Director... things I already do/hope to be someday.

12. What type of music do you listen to? Soundtracks! I just love epic orchestral music... anything from IHOP (International House of Prayer)

13. Random Interesting Fact? I am actually quite good at archery and used to teach it. I can also do a mean turkey call and have been known to hold my own in a conversation with said birds.

"Dance is the Voice of the Soul." - Unknown

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dancer's Summer Activities:

Have you ever wondered what Ad Deum dancers do on their summer breaks? Wonder no longer. This blog post will give you a glimpse of some of your favorite dancers' activities during their breaks.

Emily Runyeon

I had the privilege of going on an Arrows International mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua this summer. Arrows International is an organization that takes a group of dancers to other countries to spread the gospel through dance!  We trained for 10 days, learned 8 dances, and then flew to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to perform in schools, churches, markets, and even on a Nicaraguan TV station.  We also taught numerous dance workshops to the community.  I believe many lives were touched and changed (including my own!), and 63 students gave their lives to Christ! I highly recommend taking an Arrows International mission trip to any dancer out there!  I can definitely view this trip as a pivotal point in my life!

Tiffany Schrepferman

This summer I was a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding, and had lots of fun reconnecting with many friends from college at the wedding. Then I was off to the American Dance Festival for my 5th summer where I work as the Production Stage Manager of the Reynolds Theater at Duke University. Every summer at ADF is incredibly diverse, and this summer, in addition to working with many amazing companies from around the world and seeing the hand of God move in this secular arena, I also got to discover and invent many different ways to clean almost any substance off of Marley, including but not limited to: baby powder, colored hairspray, orange juice, squashed grapes and figs, paint, feathers, sequins, massive amounts of hot glue, fresh flowers, coffee, raw meat, blood, and of course sweat and tears. All for the love of dance. :)

Sarah Yarbrough

This August I spent a week in Wisconsin at Christian Disciple Farm, a bible school day camp for children and young adults with special needs. The theme for the week was Everywhere Funfare/Carnival and my group was called the Amazing Animal Trainers. I was paired up with a buddy, an awesome ten year old who taught me a lot about friendship and playtime. We got to know each other throughout the week as we climbed the giant rock wall, tried our hand at arts and crafts, rocked out in the music garden, acted out bible stories, and ate lunch together. In the evening there were activities for the volunteers; hiking, kayaking, trap shooting, bible study, worship, and ice breaker activities. My time on the farm with my buddy and the other volunteers was an incredible, full, life-giving experience that I am still learning from and am grateful for.

Tiffany Strickland

This summer I was a pastoral intern at Deer Park United Methodist Church. If you had asked me last year if I wanted to go to seminary, I might of looked at you like you were crazy. Last year, I woke up one day and thought, "You should go to seminary!" Strange, I thought. That thought had never crossed my mind before so I prayed about what that mean't and eventually it led me to this internship. It gave me the full pastor experience from hospital visits, daily church management, leading Bible studies, to even preaching. Preaching was the part I was most nervous about but after I said my opening line, I didn't want it to end. I loved every minute of it.
I also got to go with my mom and aunt to the Mary Kay 50th Anniversary Seminar and you will never guess who I got to see performing there! No other than Ad Deum's Dani Stinger. She was amazing and you could tell she was having a blast. I finished out my summer break by visiting friends and family in Dallas, Georgia, and South Carolina. It was a wonderful summer break.

Rebecca Pillow

This summer I was able to travel to visit friends and family from my home in Florida and Georgia. I was also able assist at a few dance intensives and participate in a performance honoring our country called "We the People." However, my number one job this summer was being a supportive wife. My husband Bob graduated from University of Houston's Law School (magna cum laude!!!) in May and spent June and July studying for the bar exam. While I was teaching/rehearsing/dancing at our Ad Deum summer dance intensive Bob was spending three days taking the hardest test of his life. The next day he flew to Uganda to spend a week with International Justice Mission. Their goal was to organize and file in court rooms so that their projects may run more smoothly. After that we took a well needed vacation. We went a cruise to Isla Rotan, Belize, and Mexico which was incredible. We were able to relax and enjoy God's beautiful creation. It was a wonderful, restful time to have before I started my fourth season at Ad Deum and before he started his job as an attorney at Hogan Lovells. Praise be to God for all He has blessed us with this year.

Stay tuned to see who is dancer of the week next week!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dancer Profile: Emily Runyeon

My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away."
Song of Solomon 2:10

Emily Runyeon

Emily, from Dayton, Ohio, received her B.A. in Psychology from Wright State University.  She began her dance training with South Dayton Dance Theatre and continued her studies at Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company, New ARTiculations, and Arrows International.  Currently she teaches dance for West University Dance Centre, and is excited to continue her third season with Ad Deum.

Fun Facts:
1. Nick Name? Erin Joe the Lumberjack

2. Where are you from? Dayton Ohio

3. How many years have you been dancing? I started dancing when I was 2.5 years old.

4. Favorite style of dance? Contemporary because it combines both ballet and modern into one.

5. What made you want to start dancing? Apparently I was dancing around the house, so my mom signed me up for dancing and I never quit.

6. What dance companies inspire you? I am inspired by Dayton Contemporary Company because it is the company I grew up watching. I love their repertoire, their talent is incredible, and they are just a great, fun group of people.

7. Favorite work of Ad Deum? My favorite piece is a Joyful Noise choreographed by Durell Comedy. This piece is such a gift from the Lord for me to dance because I feel Durell choreographed part of my testimony that I hadn't been able to put into words.

8. Favorite Performance or Outreach with Ad Deum? My favorite Outreach we have done was at Sheltering Arms. Sheltering Arms is a center for people who are suffering from some sort of dementia. This outreach was really close to my heart because my grandma suffered from Alzheimer's disease and I could see aspects of my Nana in each of the people that were there. It was such a blessing to perform for them and bring joy to their hearts because the joy they feel while watching our dancing lasts longer than the actual memory of our dances.

9. Favorite Ad Deum Memory? My favorite Ad Deum memory is when we washed the feet of our participants at our Switzerland intensive. It was really special for me to serve each participant in that way and get to pray over and bless each one of them.

10. Favorite Food? Chocolate chip cookies because they are delicious!

11. What would you do it you were not a dancer? It's hard to say what I would be doing if I wasn't a dancer because ever since I can remember that is what I wanted to be! But after I am done dancing I would love to do some missions work overseas!

12. What type of music do you listen to? I love all types of music, but I mostly listen to worship music. Jesus Culture, Will Reagan, Jonathan David Helser, Chris Tomlin, Cory Asbury, Tenth Avenue North... and the list goes on and on!

13. Random Fact? I have a black belt in To-Shin-Do.

Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
- Martha Graham.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dancer Profile: Sarah Yarbrough

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. 

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep the Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
                                                                                                                               Joshua 1:6-9

Sarah Yarbrough

Sarah began her dance training in Katy, TX, at Adamson Ballet School. She continued formal training at Houston Ballet Academy and received her BFA in Ballet from Texas Christian University. Sarah has completed her Pilates certification and is teaching Pilates as well as dance in Houston area. This will be fifth season with Ad Deum

Fun Facts: 

1. Where are you from? Houston

2. How many years have you been dancing?  I started dancing way too young…age 2.5

3. Favorite style or styles of dance?
Ballet—it is the foundation of all! And Argentine tango---because of the music and the interesting people I get to know along the way--and maybe someday if I make it to 80 years old I can continue going to tango classes!

4. What made you want to start dancing?
Or why did you start dancing? My best friends were in ballet class and they were older than me…which is why I was in class at such a young age.

5. What dancers or dance companies inspire you?
Batsheva Dance Company, based in Israel. I love the choreography of Ohad Naharin.
Homer Avila, Ballet Nouveau, AXIS Dance Company
6. Favorite work of Ad Deum?
It’s hard to pick. Rwanda Cry---it is a powerful piece that bring awareness to an historical event. As a dancer, there is a story playing in my mind as I dance and I have the unique opportunity to connect with a character and use the choreography to communicate an idea, emotion, thought.

7. Favorite Performance or Outreach of the year with description
MD Anderson. It was a joy and honor to be able to perform there for the staff and patients.

8. Favorite Ad Deum Memory with description
Spending six days in a row with my roommate Tiffany on the New England tour. The journey ended in smiles and lots of laughs and good memories!

9. Favorite Food and why?
Good food. Homemade bread is at the top of the list.

10. What would you do if you were not a dancer?
Photograph for National Geographic and travel the world

11. What type of music do you listen to?
All different kinds…I also love discovering new artists. My taste varies from the classic rock genre, to classical and instrumental, to the Avett Brothers, to world music.

12. Random Interesting Fact about yourself.
I wear contacts. And I don’t like them. But they help me see…so I am grateful. Oh and I have a brother---he’s pretty cool.

“Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost!”–Pina Bausch

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” –Albert Einstein
There is an amazing dance quote by St. Augustine, but it’s too long to post on here.