Sunday, March 1, 2015

Springing Forward into Spring Dance Intensives

It’s March. Can you believe it? In exactly one week, we will all bemoan the fact that we lost an hour of sleep on Saturday night when we weren’t going to get enough to begin with; but then we’ll remember that the next day is March 9 and all will be right with the world.
Okay, maybe that was a tad dramatic; but March 9 will be a great day. Why? Because it begins the first of two weeks of our spring dance intensives.
We are so very excited to meet new friends and hug older ones, to welcome our incredible guest faculty, and, most importantly, to wait expectantly for what God has in store. God created the universe, so He cares about His creation and the art they create. He cares about Ad Deum’s Spring Dance Intensives. And, yes! He cares about you being here.
Both weeks of intensives will take place Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. During the first week, March 9 - 13, we’ll have guest teachers Vincent Hardy (formerly with Complexions Contemporary Ballet) and Caleb Mitchell (formerly with Houston Ballet) along with Ad Deum faculty members Fara Sciulli Bowen and Steve Brule (both formerly with Houston Ballet) and Artistic Director Randall Flinn.
Get your contractions ready for week two, March 16 - 20, with classes taught by guest teachers Steve Rooks (former principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company) and Dani Stinger (currently with Martha Graham Dance Company, formerly with Ad Deum).
The cost for each week is just $175 or $300 for both weeks. You can also choose our $40/day option.
We are located at West University Dance Centre, 4007 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX 77025. Our website provides additional information about hotel recommendations and other details, but please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions at addeumdance@gmail.com.
If you haven’t made plans to be here for one or both of our 2015 Spring Dance Intensives, why not? Maybe this is exactly where you should be…

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine’s Day Special: Relationships, Marriage and Dance (Part 2)


We’ve talked a bit about how the married ladies are making it work in love, life, and dance. What about the single ladies?
On Dancing
Though many bemoan their single relationship status, being single as a dancer definitely has its advantages as well. Senior company member Emily moved to Houston specifically to dance with Ad Deum, and she is one of many company members who has done so.
She said, “I love the freedom I have as a single person to make my own decisions. Dance presents so many opportunities to work with different dance companies or travel the world and being single gives me the freedom to take advantage of each opportunity that comes my way without having the complication of factoring another person into decisions.”
For Shannon, who also moved to Houston to dance with the company, being single gives her a “sense of boldness” to pursue different opportunities like moving cross-country, explaining that “the challenge of coordinating another person’s life and goals could become a deterrent to exploring various opportunities.”
On Time and Busy Schedules
While being single as a dancer may seem easier and more natural -- since most start dancing as young kids who are, well, single -- the balance between the comfort found in being single and the desire to be in a relationship headed toward marriage can be a hard one. How do you find time to pursue a relationship with someone while maintaining a busy schedule? Does that relationship have to signify the beginning of the end of a dance career?
Neither Emily nor Shannon have definitive answers for this challenge. Shannon even admits that her busy schedule can actually become her comfort zone, saying:
“It has been great to watch other dancers prove that it’s actually possible to be married and continue dancing. Personally, however, I have not figured out how to prevent my schedule from getting in the way. Instead, I think I fall back on being busy as an excuse to keep myself off the “playing field” in dating and relationships because I am afraid that it will mess with my carefully laid schedule and my emotions. And my schedule doesn’t allow time for my emotions to go haywire. Haha”
On Contentment
While enjoying the freedom that often comes with dancing as a single person, there are also times when disappointment may try to creep in and spoil that phase of life. Emily has been encouraged by married friends who remind her how special that time of singleness is.
“When you are single, your journey is just with you and the Lord as your first love, but when you are married your relationship with God changes because you are now one with another person,” she stated.
Through this time of being single Emily has learned valuable lessons, saying, “The Lord has taught me how important it is for me to really know my identity in Him before I unite with someone else. When you are secure in who the Lord says you are, you don’t have to rely on someone else to give you worth.”
She added, “The Lord has also taught me so much about love, and through growing in knowledge of His love for me, I am better able to love others.”
Shannon echoed those sentiments as she reflected on lessons God has taught her during this time.
“His timing is perfect,” she acknowledged. “Though I may have my own ideas and proposed timeline, God has definitely shown me that He is teaching me lessons now that are preparing me to become a wife. Lessons like learning my identity in Christ, which is often hard to remember in the dance world… I’ve also learned to be honest before the Lord in both my frustrations and my fears, which has actually led me to become more vulnerable and open in other relationships as well as in my dancing.”
What advice do they have for others learning to be content as a single person?
“Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and take for granted the time you have as a single person, free to fully invest in whatever the Lord has placed on your heart whether it be your friendships, your family or a people group on the other side of the world,” Emily recommended.
Shannon offered advice of which she often reminds herself: “Seek the Lord first. He promises that when we do, He will add “all these things” (Matthew 6:33). To me, that includes relationships and finding a future spouse as well as career, finances, etc. In those times when I am able to keep my focus on the Lord (which is a constant decision), it is then that I feel I am better able to take advantage of the single life the Lord has blessed me with without falling into bitterness or watching life on the sidelines through the eyes of Hallmark Channel heroines.”
Remember our chocolate scenario from “Part 1”? Romantic relationships bring about different phases of life for different people. For some, a relationship that leads to marriage is the beginning of a new phase in which dance is no longer a career goal. For others, it begins the tango of fusing together two lives in which dance is a major part. For still others, relationships play a valuable role, but do not lead to marriage.
One thing is clear: God loves relationships, marriage and dance; and they can, in fact, go well together. Indeed, it seems like when it comes to the three, the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way” is quite applicable. The key is to be careful that it is God’s will for which we are making a way rather than a battle of the wills. Then He takes care of the timing, the contentment, the scheduling, the traveling, the dancing.

Valentine’s Day Special: Relationships, Marriage and Dance (Part 1)


Do dancers get married? That’s a bit like asking do dancers eat chocolate to which the answer is some do and some don’t. Marriage, like dance as a career, is a calling and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we thought we would share the inside scoop on relationship experiences and opinions from a few of Ad Deum’s dancers.
The dancers were asked several questions in regard to relationships, specifically addressing issues unique to dancers. For part one, we take a look at the responses from a couple of the married ladies:

On Dance and Marriage

For many, dance and marriage don’t always seem like lifestyles that mix well. For Joselyn, who was married this past summer and spent the first part of the season dancing with Ad Deum’s second company, God changed her perspective when she met her now-husband, Patrick:

“I used to believe that I could either be a married woman or I could be a dancer. I couldn't see how the two could go together. But now I am obviously a dancer that is a married woman... So that alone to me is proof that God can change your heart and your mind. My husband constantly pushes me to be the best child of God and the best dancer I can be.”

For senior company member, Rebecca, who was married before joining the company, marriage is one of the ways she and her husband are able to serve the Lord together.
“Serving the Lord through dance is exactly what we do every day at Ad Deum, and because [my husband] Bob supports me, we are able to serve the Lord together through dance. Bob knows that my heart’s desire is to serve the Lord, and he knows that I am fulfilled by dancing in a community where we seek to glorify God,” she stated.
For both women, the support of their husbands includes attending shows. You may have met them at the door, handing out programs for past shows!
On the Impact Relationships Have on Dancing
Of course, we have to be professional. The audience shouldn’t know that you just went through a difficult breakup if that is the case, but it cannot be denied that relationships can influence our dancing. Rebecca’s relationship with her husband has increased her “ability to be vulnerable on stage.”
“Once I became more vulnerable in my relationship and realized it wasn’t so scary because I trust and love my husband, that allowed me to open up more in my performing,” she admitted. “If you open up and allow the audience to see more of who you really are, I think it makes for a more meaningful performance.”
On the flip side, God has changed plans for Joselyn and her husband, leading to her decision to take time off from dancing in order to better support her husband as he starts a new company.
“His dream is to be an entrepreneur,” she explained. “So here I am, diving into a business with him. Because that’s what husbands and wives do. They sacrifice for each other. And yeah, that was a hard sacrifice to make. I want nothing more than to dance every day all day long. But I know if I do this now for him that it will eventually be ‘my turn.’ He also wants nothing more than for me to dance. So maybe finding a way to perform that is a bit more ‘part time’ will be our answer. We talk about it a lot. It’s good to not hide frustration and sadness, etc.”
On Time and Busy Schedules
Without a doubt, a dancer’s life is a busy one. At Ad Deum, dancers take classes and rehearse by day and many teach at night. That doesn’t leave much time for other activities or people during the week. Both Joselyn and Rebecca will tell you they have to make the most of the time they do have to spend with their husbands.
As newlyweds, Joselyn and Patrick quickly learned they need to cut the TV off, leaving time to talk, ask questions, and laugh. Weekends are valuable, so Joselyn has sometimes chosen to say no to invitations to substitute teach a dance class that would cut into time reserved to spend with her husband. She is realizing that “taking the time even when you think you have none is not only important but necessary.”
Importantly, it takes understanding on the spouse’s part as well. This is another area where the support of Rebecca’s husband has been so important. The couple both sacrificed time in order to enable Rebecca to join Ad Deum’s month-long tour in Europe this past summer.
Of the experience, she recounted, “At first I didn’t think I would be able to go because I didn’t want to be away from him for so long. Eventually, Bob told me that if he were in my position he would want to go to Europe, so he knew he couldn’t ask me not to go. It was incredibly hard to be away from him for so long, but it was an amazing opportunity to dance and teach in Europe, and it was made easier because I knew I had Bob’s support and understanding.”
What would these married dancers say to dancers, both those single and those in relationships headed toward marriage?
Rebecca advised, “Seek the Lord first in all things. Know that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Live to the fullest where He has you in life right now. Love is a gift from the Lord, and He has His own timing in when He brings that into your life.”
Joselyn also suggested reading the Bible together and premarital counseling, saying “Don’t be afraid to talk about God and Jesus together. Our relationship became so much stronger since we began praying together and talking together about our beliefs and views.” Through the class she and her husband took, they also had the opportunity to discuss questions they might not have considered otherwise.
We hope Joselyn and Rebecca’s honesty as they learn to live the married life has been helpful to you. Now is a great time to take a chocolate break (if you’re a chocolate-eating dancer) before checking out "Part 2" of our Valentine’s Day post. You’ll learn what some of the company’s single members have to say on the issue of dance and relationships.
 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

BREAKING NEWS: Where Are They Now?

Greetings, Ad Deum family!

It’s finally time to announce our big news! Trust us, it gets more exciting as you keep reading, so please do us the honor of reading until the end as we explain our upcoming plans. We think you’ll be just as excited as we are once you learn about our reunion planned for the end of the season. Whoops… let that part slip, but keep reading for all the details!

Where Are They Now?

As you know, Ad Deum Dance Company is celebrating 15 years as a full-time company and we thought this would be a great time to get back in touch with all of our family members. Would you help us as we launch our “Where Are They Now?” campaign?

As part of the campaign, we are gathering information in order to preserve Ad Deum’s rich history for years to come. We ask that you send us an email, letter or video telling us how you are affiliated with the company, during what years you danced with Ad Deum or ADII (if applicable) and as much contact information as you would like to provide (email, phone, address, etc.). Pictures are welcome! We would also love to hear your answers to any or all of the suggested questions below:
  • Where are you now?
  • During your time with Ad Deum, what do you feel were the main influences that helped to shape who you are and what you currently do?
  • What is one thing you would like to say to Ad Deum now?
We plan to compile the information to update our databases and to create and publish an archive of stories, quotes, photos, videos, etc. as we reflect on how God has used Ad Deum and its influence to reach people around the world!
Letters and photos can be sent to:
Ad Deum Dance Company
Attn: Where Are They Now Campaign
P.O Box 271481
Houston, TX 77277
Emails, digital photos and videos can be sent to:
Subject: Where Are They Now?
Many of you have already sent emails and Facebook posts in honor of our 15th anniversary. Thank you! We have enjoyed reading your stories and encouragement. Please don’t feel obligated to re-send information unless you feel led to do so.
15th Anniversary Tribute Performance and Reunion Banquet
In addition to gathering this information, the “Where Are They Now?” campaign will provide us with an excuse to reunite at the end of the season.
Mark your calendars for May 31st – June 5th. During this year’s summer dance intensive, we will have a 15th Anniversary Tribute Performance and Reunion Banquet! The performance will be held on June 4th, while the banquet will take place on June 5th. It will be a sweet weekend of communion and worship as we thank God for His good gifts.
Speaking of the tribute performance, if you are interested in dancing as one of our alumni performers, please let us know!
There will be more details to come; but for now, we can’t wait to hear from you as we look back on 15 plus years of God’s blessings and look forward to what He has in store for the next 15!
Love and blessings,
Your Ad Deum family
P.S. It's never too late to join our dance family! Register to attend one of our Spring or Summer Dance Intensives today at danceaddeum.com.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Art of Making New Year's Resolutions


If you are like us, your list of New Year’s resolutions may look something like the following: go to the gym more often, eat healthier, spend more time doing this, take less time doing that. If you are really detailed, you might have even divided your resolutions into categories – physical, financial, relational, spiritual, etc. While it’s great to set these goals and resolutions, how much room are we leaving for God to have His say in the matter? And are we trusting Him to help us reach our goals?

As we embark on the second half of our journey for the 2014-2015 season here at Ad Deum, we’ve made plans; there are events to look forward to and goals to stretch toward both as individuals and as a community. Welcome guests and new members with open hearts and homes, grow as a unified community, explore new territory as artists and just dance! are a few of the items on our list of resolutions for the New Year.

While those are all well and good, we want to be available to see what other lessons, events and plans interrupted the Lord may have in store for us this year. More than anything, we want to be flexible in yielding to the ways in which He chooses to help us achieve our resolutions.

Maybe the same is with you. Maybe this is the year to resolve to let God write your list of New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s to 2015. May it be filled to overflowing with all that God has in store. Happy New Year from your Ad Deum family!

Will you do us the honor of praying with us for the remainder of this season? We would greatly appreciate the support as we resolve to continue following God’s heart as displayed in the arts. If there is any way we can be praying for you as well, please let us know in the comments below.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Like.....severely.


"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