Sunday, August 28, 2016

Share Dance, Share Jesus

“Have talent, will travel.” It seems like the biblical version of the saying would go like this: “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29)” That verse came alive this summer as we traveled to Switzerland and Bulgaria and simply did what we are skilled to do. We are trained dancers. For most of us, it is a skill we have been practicing and honing for most of our lives, certainly most of our recent lives. Using those skills in which we’ve been training, all we had to do was choose to go and dance; the Lord took care of the rest. In Switzerland, we taught a summer dance and mime intensive similar to the one we hold here in Houston every summer. This was the fourth year in a row we were able to staff the intensive organized by the amazing team at YWAM Wiler [Special thanks to Sara, Rebecca, and Sue - We love you guys!]. With around 25 participants, we enjoyed eight days of dance classes, performances, worship, and life-giving devotionals.

On the last morning of the Switzerland intensive, just before the student showcase
Every year, it is a blessing to see new faces and to recognize familiar ones (especially, Ad Deum alum, Daniel Cosette and his wife!) as we stumble from the hard-to-miss red YWAM van into our new home for the week, faces overcome with a look that can only be described as jet lag. It is hard to say how the Lord manages to bring us together as family; build such strong relationships; challenge, grow and move in individuals’ hearts and minds in just those few days, but He does. And we are so thankful for the opportunity to use dance as a vehicle to travel and share Who we love while we share what we love to do. While Switzerland was new to some of our team, for others of us we had an idea of what to expect during the week (especially Randall who used to call Switzerland home!). Heading to Bulgaria, however, we were all in the same boat: What are we going to do? All we knew was that we were part of a team of artists helping to teach a creative arts camp run by dear friends of Randall’s. By the end of the camp, they were dear friends of all of ours and we were glad we trusted the Lord to go, even without all of the details. For the first time ever, Sofia Life Camp was held in Sofia, Bulgaria. Once again, we simply came as “the dancers”; and we relished in the privilege of connecting with the beautiful people in Bulgaria, working alongside the ridiculously talented arts staff and watching the Holy Spirit move like only He can. We had deep conversations, prayed with the staff and some of the campers, and watched the atmosphere of a prison change from chains and bondage to freedom in Christ. We were inspired by the warmth and love shown to us and were able to encourage our brothers and sisters living in Bulgaria and all over Europe as we did life together throughout the week. Dance was the vehicle; God took the skills He gave us; and the outcome was inexplicable.

We gotta have a camp photo! Photo credit: Eli Deli
Needless to say, we are so excited about what the Lord allowed us to be a part of this summer during our time in both Switzerland and Bulgaria. In the midst of lots of teaching and performing, we were still able to tour more of beautiful Switzerland's mountains in Gstaad and learn some traditional Bulgarian dances that kept us on our toes, quite literally. We can’t wait to go back and to have some of our new friends visit us in Houston as our new season begins TOMORROW!!!

Beautiful Switzerland... Need we say more?

The arts, dance in particular, is a universal language that crosses cultures, nations, tongues and backgrounds. It brings people together who might not otherwise have a reason to associate. It is a bond that is powerful and strong. As dancers, we have a platform that provided us entry into unique places to which we might not otherwise be invited or even think to go. That was so evident to us. As we went in faith, we were able to simply share dance and share Jesus. The truth is, we’re all given a platform. What is yours? We encourage you to share it; and share Jesus. Fun fact: We were asked to teach hip-hop in both Switzerland and Bulgaria. When asked who teaches hip-hop, none of us would volunteer. In Bulgaria especially, we were scheduled to teach hip-hop for for hours each day….! Let’s just say we got to see a whole different side of Randall Flinn, and we have video evidence of the result. ;)

**Thanks for keeping up with our travels, performances and happenings. And thank you for your patience as we figure out a more consistent schedule for blogging! Be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lessons from Season 16: I Look Up

As Ad Deum’s 16th season swiftly comes to a close, here are a few lessons company members have learned during the season. Think of it as a page from their personal journals. It is our hope and prayer that the lessons they’ve learned will encourage, affirm, challenge, and inspire you as you continue to walk and grow in your own journey. This entry is from Shannon in her second season with the company.



This season, I’ve been asking the Lord to teach me how to prepare for performances. Because let’s face it: according to my title, I am a professional dancer, which means I have arrived and I am far too old or advanced or both to be so stinking nervous before every show. Right?? My answer came during Ad Deum’s Spring Dance Intensive this past March.

Spring intensive has always been a special time for me. It was my first introduction to the company when God provided the opportunity for me to audition two years ago; it was also a great time of growth and breakthrough last season as an apprentice. This year was no different. That one week was a life-changing experience, and not just as a dancer.

Long, on-going journey short, we were rehearsing the piece “With Incense, We Rise,” choreographed by Vincent Hardy. During rehearsal time, Vincent gave us time and space to marinate in God’s presence and to just listen. Little did I know this time would be so important, not only to that rehearsal (and our in-studio performance later that evening), but also to dance and my life in general.

If you are like me, worship is usually a time spent with eyes closed. During this rehearsal time, however, I felt the Lord clearly leading me to keep my eyes open. Lying with my back on the floor, I found myself looking up. Through those precious moments, God spoke to my heart that looking to Him is the best, most important action I can take to prepare for a show. If I feel anxious, I should look up. If I’m worried about that one step that I always seem to mess up, I should look up. If I’m nervous about the stamina required for the show, I should look up. If I feel intimidated and lacking, I should look up. If I’m excited with energy pumping and adrenaline rushing, I should look up. In all things, I should look up.

Please don’t get me wrong. God teaching me how to prepare for a show is far less about a formula and the literal action of looking heavenward and far more about my heart posture. Because ultimately, at the heart of my nervousness is often a lack of trust in God and His willingness or ability to deliver on His promise to carry me through what He has called me to do.

Since beginning to learn this lesson, it’s not that I don’t get nervous anymore. Instead, it’s that I better know how to handle those nerves. I can take the pressure off of myself from demanding a safely perfect performance and focus on honest communication of the piece’s message.

When I look up, I am reminded to leave everything in God’s hands. When I look up, I am strengthened in the freedom of the knowledge that I am not good enough, but the God I serve is able and He is faithful. When I look up, I am calmed as I remember that I can trust God. When I look up, my surroundings fade; I can give all my concerns to the Lord in exchange for a clear focus on the message of the piece I’m getting ready to perform, and I can trust God to take care of the rest.

I’m not saying I go around dancing with my eyes to the sky when my focus is choreographed to be elsewhere. Rather, as a result of reminding myself that God is the only one who can make the performance a success, I am able to be present and engaged while dancing. I know that God is the only one who can make the performance have any significant impact (John 15:5); and because I am convinced that He has called me to that time and place, He will. Admittedly, it may look a bit different than my definition of a successful show, but it will be marked by the life-changing impact that only God can bring, not my perfect timing, expert spacing, or pointed feet.

As I began applying this lesson to preparing for performances, I soon found that it can also be applied to life in general. And it really should be! God knew that while He was answering my desire to learn how to prepare to perform (which is a journey on which I am still walking with Him), He was also teaching me how to approach life, both when things get tough and when life is bliss. I look up when I feel overwhelmed with my schedule. I look up when I’m concerned about finances and summer jobs. I look up when I wrestle with life’s various emotions, injuries, unexpected events. I look to the Rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61).


I don’t have to have all the right answers. I don’t even have to know all the right questions. All I have to do is look up: Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10) and, praise God, I am not.

- Shannon

Monday, April 25, 2016

Acts of Redemption: Spring Concert Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2016


 

Ad Deum Dance Company
in
Acts of Redemption:
An Uncommon Liturgy Through Dance


Coming to Midtown Arts & Theatre Center Houston, May 21 @8pm and May 22@ 2pm. In celebration of their 16th season of international performances and outreach, Ad Deum Dance Company presents Acts of Redemption – An Uncommon Liturgy Through Dance.

Artistic Director, Randall Flinn states, “The work and the offerings of true and compassionate artists are indeed sacramental. The signature of their artistry opens a portal to the sacred where grace is encounter that washes over the soul. It is with this belief and pursuit that we embark on this mission and present this liturgy of hope.”

Acts of Redemption serves as a contemporary and quite uncommon mix of professional dance fashioned with spiritual reverence and devotional presentation. More than mere performance, An Uncommon Liturgy is an intimate encounter with the virtues of faith transported through the fragrance of artistry. Here you will find a refuge from the storm and drink of a peace that surpasses understanding. For Ad Deum, the stage is transformed to holy place and a table of nourishing dance is served so that all might feast upon its beauty.

For more information contact: 713 626-5050;  Addeumdance@gmail.com
Tickets: $20 general admission (They will be available for purchase soon at www.matchouston.org!)


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Yes, What You Do Matters



God is on the move. We saw it in New York. We saw it in Corpus Christi. We see it in rehearsals and in our own lives. God is in the business of drawing people to himself through dance, and we are so humbled and excited to be a part of His plan. 


Dani in Steve Rook's "Bitter Earth"
So far, it's been a busy season for us here at Ad Deum and our schedule is filling up quickly. We spent the past two weekends on the road for The Dance Gallery Festival in NYC and Bailando Dance Festival in Corpus Christi. 


If only we had time to get together with all of you and sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of pumpkin bread to share stories of how the Holy Spirit moved during those festivals and even as we prepared for them. We'll suffice to say that we clearly felt the presence of the Lord when we danced and, based on what we heard from others watching performances or dancing with us in master classes, the Holy Spirit's presence was evident to them also, even if they didn't recognize that "something" as Him. It was truly an honor to know that God had moved in a way that only He can and that He chose to use us to do it! After all, that is exactly why we do what we do: to glorify our Abba Father and point others to Him in His redeeming love and overwhelming grace. 


While in New York, we were blessed by a gathering of Christian dancers on Sunday afternoon. Not only did these dancers pray boldly on our behalf in the middle of the city in an area known as Hell's Kitchen, but they are also unapologetic in their faith, honoring the Lord in their prominent positions in which He has placed them in well-known companies throughout the city. We were blown away by the work God is doing there. He has not given up on New York City and He has clearly not given up on using the arts to reach the people He loves so much. 


Hard at work in rehearsal for
"Sacrifice"
As we continue to prepare for a busy month of performing, we work with a renewed awareness that what we do matters because God is in it. We may not always see the big picture; every plié may not seem like it has a lasting effect on eternity; every bleeding toe may not feel directly connected to showing the love of God; and every forsaken load of laundry after a busy weekend may not boast of the hope we have in Christ; but it all matters. Oh, friend, it does matter. 

You see, God is on the move and He's using all those who are willing. You may wonder if it really makes a difference to get up and drag your sore muscles into the studio every day, and you may wonder how anyone will learn more about Christ through your faithful training in and dedication to your craft. However, God knows how all the hard work and sacrifices are working together as He draws all people unto himself


These past couple of weekends, we have been greatly encouraged by the opportunity to see how God is moving in the arts world, the dance world in particular. If there's one thing we would want to share with you during an afternoon tea it is to be encouraged. Be "steadfast" and "immovable". Continue to do whatever it is God is calling you to do in whatever place He is calling you to do it. You may not see it right now, but God knows all the details; He knows just how many people, dancers, are going through the same daily grind as you are; and He knows the great impact we all make when we unite for the same purpose: to honor and glorify Him.

As we all continue to take class, rehearse, perform, and love what we do, we hope to see you soon to share stories and encourage one another with a reminder that what we do every day really does matter for eternity.

Tech rehearsal for "Bitter Earth"
Our pre-show game faces
A little post show fun at Dairy Queen!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ad Deum Goes to Switzerland

It was just a week ago that we boarded the plane, waving our goodbyes to the beautiful country of Switzerland and the wonderful people we had met there. Though we were still groggy from our 4:30 am wake up call, all seven of us were very conscious of the fact that we were leaving Switzerland changed from when we had first come. God used this trip to encourage us, inspire us, challenge us, refresh us, and remind us what an awesome God we serve.
Our group -- Randy, Lysion, Emily, Whitney, Leah, Victoria and Shannon -- had the opportunity to travel to Switzerland, serving as staff for the 2015 Switzerland Summer Dance and Mime Intensive. We spent the week teaching classes, fellowshipping with the participants, and watching God work in our lives and the lives of those who attended. It was a truly blessed time and a great way to kick off the summer while preparing us for our next adventures.
Just arrived and reunited with Sara,
who spent the second half of Ad Deum's season with us in Houston!
Guätä Morgä -- “Good morning”
Each morning brought a round of moans and groans and the popular question, “How do you feel?”. We were all, us teachers included, taking care to roll out and stretch our aching muscles. However, mornings weren’t only filled with the sounds of nursing sore bodies. They were also filled with eager greetings for the new day and the intensive participants’ clear hunger to learn -- to learn more about God, to learn more about dance and to learn more about how well God and dance go together.
After Randy’s challenging devotions each morning, we all made our way through the streets of Biel, Switzerland to start the day. From the first class on Saturday to the last class the following Friday, we at Ad Deum were inspired by the talents and work ethics of our students.
This year’s intensive held three levels of dancers plus the mime track, and the growth from the first day to the last day was incredible to witness. Talk about your “proud mama” moment. We were all inspired by how well the participants’ soaked up the wealth of information they learned in ballet, modern, hip hop, jazz, floor work, conditioning and other classes throughout the intensive.
Dankeschön -- “Thank you”
While we were teaching dance throughout the week, we were also able to add to our Swiss German vocabulary, which was fairly limited for most of us. It’s too bad we don’t have recordings of those lessons.
But that’s not all we learned from our students. They encouraged and inspired us throughout the week, teaching us how to communicate through the language barrier and reminding us what it looks like to get back to our roots and simply worship the Lord through dance. The talent show on Thursday night was a testament to how the Lord uses willing people, whether they have years of dance experience or just a few days. We at Ad Deum would like to sincerely thank those who participated for inspiring us and reminding us why it is that we dance just before our performance on Friday night.
Tschüss -- “Goodbye”
All in all, the 2015 Summer Dance and Mime Intensive was a week of dancing, sweating, worshipping, laughing and enjoying life together. It was an invaluable experience. And though it seemed we were saying goodbye all too soon, we were already making plans to come again and see one another again in the near future.
When God sent the seven of us to Switzerland, only He knew what was in store for us and for all those involved in the intensive. Before the participants performed the dances they had learned throughout the week on Saturday afternoon in a closing Show and Tell, we learned some of what the Lord had done throughout the week in their lives. One girl even came to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Though there were a few obstacles that threatened to thwart this trip, the experience was truly a blessing every step of the way. Hearing those stories made the week more than worth it. Needless to say, we are all excited to go again.


Our view from the YWAM Wiler base
where we stayed
Walking through the city of Biel to dance class

Our final pow wow, discussing our experiences throughout the week


Warming up for Show and Tell
 

Sightseeing during our last full day in Switzerland

Monday, May 18, 2015

What to Expect from Ad Deum’s Summer Dance Intensive

It is hard to believe today is May 18. We’ve had the dates for our spring concert, Mourning Has Broken, circled on our calendars for months; so the fact that May 15 and 16 have come and gone and Summer Dance Intensive 2015 is just two weeks away is hard to believe.
God truly blessed our performances this past weekend, and it was an honor to share the stage with Logan Kruger and Durell Comedy of The José Limón Dance Company. We are also incredibly grateful for everyone of you who attended!
As we now shift our attentions to preparing for the summer dance intensive, we thought we would share some thoughts with you from past participants. If you have already decided to come, get excited! We can’t wait for you to get here! If you’re still on the fence and weighing your options, these testimonials may help in the decision-making process:
“I look forward to the summer intensive every year because each year the Lord shows up in a big way that I never expected. The Houston Summer Dance Intensive 2013 was especially pivotal for me when I really understood my true identity in Christ that lead me to experiencing freedom and confidence that I had never experienced before. It was truly a life changing week for me!”
Emily R.
Palm Beach Atlantic University Summer Intensive 2011, 2012
Houston 2012, 2013, 2014
"As a citizen of Zion, it is our responsibility to uphold the greatest standard of excellence in every area of our life... including dance and creativity. I was both encouraged and challenged to pursue excellence and gained such a peace in my heart to continue dancing in Grace and purity, no matter the stage or audience! So thankful to find my home away from home in this way with Ad Deum at the summer program!"
Tabatha H.
2014
“Summer intensive is literally my favorite part of Ad Deum!”
Lezlie C.
2010-2015
“My first year at Ad Deum's Summer Intensive I did not know what to expect or what to prepare for. I knew there would be dance classes, but that's about it. What I found when I got there were dance classes taught by master teachers, dancers who hungered for something more than good dance training, a beautiful morning worship time with the other dance participants, and a place that felt safe to be who you are. My perspective of faith and the arts was forever changed for the better! If you are considering attending Ad Deum's summer intensive, by all means do not let anything stop you! “
Sarah Y.
2009-2015 (seven years, whoa!)
“The Ad Deum summer intensive is a unique and anointed time for the Lord to affirm his calling to artists as servants of God. It is a wonderful time of reflection, revelation, and refueling as you dance unto him with passion and abandon. I was so ministered to by the teaching, the worship, and the dance!”
Tehillah H.
2014
"At my first Ad Deum Summer Intensive, on the last morning after worship, I went down to the altar and truly surrendered my life and my dancing to the Lord. I wept at the feet of Jesus. He had begun to change my heart from a Martha to a Mary heart, and I realized how worthy He was of all of my worship, all of my heart, all of my life. It is His."
Ann Sterling D.
2013, 2014
“Ad Deum's Summer Dance Intensive is where I first felt affirmed in my passion for Jesus and dance as a life calling and pursuit. Dance Artists are a vital part of the body of Christ, and that week of July 2014 is when I first truly felt that value in the kingdom of God.”
Camille C.
2014
"My first summer intensive with Ad Deum marked the beginning of a beautiful journey in discovering my identity as a believer artist. My eyes were opened to a whole new worldview in which dancing with artistic excellence is a powerful instrument for engaging in warfare on behalf of the kingdom of God and for serving others. The seeds that were planted in my life during this time by the tremendous faculty and beautiful community of believers have continued to blossom to this day. I dare say that the Lord used Ad Deum to change my life."
Bethany R.
2012, 2013, 2014
For more information on Ad Deum’s 2015 Summer Dance Intensive, check out our website or contact us at addeumdance@gmail.com.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Catching Up and Moving Forward

Well, hello there! Don’t know about you, but it’s been so busy around here that it’s been hard to find time to write. It feels similar to catching up with an old friend, except so much has happened you don’t know where to begin. Perhaps, we’ll start by a quick recap of Ad Deum’s adventures since Spring Intensive(s) and then give you the down low on what’s coming up next:
Catching Up: March - May
  • Both weeks of Spring Dance Intensives (along with Project Dance Houston sandwiched in between) went really well! We love having guests and were so blessed by how the Lord showed up during this special time.
  • Right after Spring Intensives, we jumped into a week of 80’s-inspired jazz and tap master classes taught by Kenny Jezek. Mr. Jezek is a triple threat and then some with an extensive performance background including CATS and television series Fame and Days of Our Lives. We are so grateful for the wealth of knowledge he graciously shared.
  • Easter Sunday found groups of us scattered throughout the Houston area as we performed in various church services. What better way to celebrate Resurrection Sunday than to dance before our Risen Savior?
  • Next, we were able to sit back and enjoy watching Ad Deum 2 perform in their spring concert. If you missed it, stay tuned for news of more performances next season because they were amazing!
  • Following AD2’s concert, it was our turn to take the stage as we enjoyed an annual tradition of performing with area dance schools and companies in East Meets West at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre.
Ad Deum at Miller Outdoor Theatre.jpg

Ad Deum performs at Miller Outdoor Theatre

  • Last week, we took to the skies and headed on tour to Kansas. It was a special time as we were able to join with Störling Dance Theater for a weekend of collaborative performances. We felt so loved by the warm welcome from the folks at Störling and The Culture House and hope to work with them again soon!
Moving Forward:
We weren’t kidding about being busy! Now, we set our sights on our spring concert, a first-time collaboration with dancers of The José Limón Dance Company. This week features a workshop of master classes taught by our favorite Limón teachers, Logan Kruger and Durell Comedy, and ends with a bang as we together present a premiere performance, Mourning Has Broken.
If you are in or near the Houston area, you’ll definitely want to make it out to one of the two performances. Check out the details below, and we’ll see you there!
Mourning Has Broken
When: May 15 - 16; 8:00pm
Where: The Barn
             2201 Preston St.
             Houston, TX
Tickets: $20; available online or cash/check at the door