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 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 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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Dance Intensive: RECAP

Ad Deum Dance Company's Summer Dance Intensive

Dancers from all over the world came together for six days to train under amazing teachers such as Bill Wade-Inlet Dance Company, Steve Rooks- Former Principal dancer of Martha Graham Dance Company, Durell Comedy- The Limon Dance Company, Vincent Hardy- Complexions, Stephen Wynne- Belhaven University & Talk Dance, Caleb Mitchell- Houston Ballet & Belhaven University, Laura Morton- Belhaven, Fara Sciulli Bowen- Houston Ballet & Point Park University, and the Ad Deum Dance Company. Just to name a few. 

The dancers had an intense schedule of classes everyday trying to fit all of these amazing teachers into their schedules: Ballet and Modern classes daily with two electives ranging from Hip Hop to nontraditional partnering to pointe and variations. What makes this intensive different from other dance intensives is that the dancers attend chapel every morning and attend faith in the arts talks with the faculty members. The focus was to move beyond the dancers technique to becoming a true worshiper in dance.

Here is what a few of our SDI students had to say about there experience this summer:

"It's so good to be back on that dance grind. I may retract that statement tomorrow morning when I can't move my body. But today was glorious. So glad we have a God who delights in the creative spirit and puts his very glory in our physical being to experience and share. It's crazy and so wonderful. I am so refreshed"  - Whitney Hancock SDI Student

"The more I think about it, the more I fall in love with God. He is so great and Dance Ad Deum has helped me to really understand that. I am so grateful to have attended such an amazing summer intensive where I learned to give everything I have to him. He truly is the King of Kings, the one who shakes his mane and roars his sovereign roar. Thank you so much for everything Ad Deum! I will never ever forget the experience and I am in awe of everyone's faith and heart. I was so touched and inspired by all of the staff."
- Nicole Chin SDI Student

"Can't believe it's over. Not enough words can describe how much the week meant to me and changed me. So blessed I was surrounded by such amazing people and teachers throughout the whole week"
- Jenny Keim SDI Student

"The Faculty Concert at the Dance Ad Deum Summer Intensive this evening was simply astounding! I felt like I was witnessing history in the making. Choreographers included, Randall Flinn, Steve Rooks, Bill Wade and Inlet Dance Theatre, Durell Comedy, and Vincent Hardy. If you know any teen and twenty-something dancers who love Jesus, please tell them that the Ad Deum Summer Dance Intensive is the place to be!"
- Michelle Presley SDI Parent & Former Ad Deum Dancer

The theme of the week was Sovereign God: "Until we know without a shadow of a doubt God is good we cannot proclaim that he is Sovereign. Sometimes He comes as the Lion of Judah and sometimes He comes as the Lamb of God. It is all a part of the same. He is the Lion and the Lamb. He is loving and wrath." 
- Randall Flinn

*All photos in this post are credited to Matthew Palfenier. Thank you Matthew for sharing your gifts with us.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The End is the Beginning

Ad Deum Dance Company, whose moving mission is wash over the soul of humanity with the vessel of dance, presents The End Is The Beginning,
So why create a show title with a metaphorical word play? This presentation comes at the right season; spring, a time for new life and new beginnings, a time to flourish, even a time to dance. Ad Deum will also celebrate their closing performance for their company season.
“We know our lives and our work are not coming to an end, never to rise and produce again”, says Artistic Director; Randall Flinn. “We are just coming to the finish line of this season’s work and experiences, and though they have been great with outstanding performances and touring both nationally and internationally, we know transition is on the way and there will be other distances to run.”
The art of dance, like life, is in constant transition. The performances focuses on the hopeful reality that there truly is no end, there is only perpetual transition. The end of one stage of life is new beginning and also the time of preparation for what is to come. The mission of this performance is to help people connect with that truth and receive it as a great encouragement and affirmation, helping them to discover the new dance which is right around the bend.
The audience will discover this red thread sewn into the fabric of each illustrious work presented. There are eight dance works being presents by a dynamic array of choreographers including Steve Rooks, former principal dancer of Martha Graham, Durell Comedy of the Jose Limon Dance Company, Ryan Corriston of Doug Varrone and Dancers, Cheryl Cutip, Radio City Rockette veteran, and works by director Randall Flinn.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dancer Profile: Lara Lanphier

Lara Lanphier

"Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength"

Lara, from Southern California, received her BFA from University of California, Irvine. She joined the local Hartfel Ballet, and later invested her passion for dance as a teacher and minister, especially working with special needs children. This is Lara's fourth Season with the company.

Fun Facts:
1. What is your nickname? 
Lorenzo was my nickname my first year here at Ad Deum while we were learning Beast. It comes back now and again.

2. Where are you from? Irvine, California

3. How many years have you been dancing? Over 20 years! I started dancing when I was 3.

4. Favorite style or styles of dance? Hmm. I used to prefer ballet since it was what I trained in the most. Now I enjoy the creative liberties in modern dance. Swing dancing is a side favorite. 

5.  What made you want to start dancing? I started dancing because it's what every little girl does! I kept it up because I loved it. Dance became a creative outlet for me as well as an escape from the outside world. Dance wasn't like any sport my dad stuck me in, I loved the discipline, the challenge, the beauty, the expression, and the limitless possibilities that dance offered.

6. What dancers or dance companies inspire you? Sooo many, it is too hard to say.

7. Favorite work of Ad Deum? Innocence Not Lost, the piercing truth. Amazing Grace, it is such beauty and grace.

8.  Favorite Performance or Outreach? Memorial Herman Children's Hospital, was one of my favorite places to visit this year. Within minutes downcast faces lit up with excitement as AD II danced. We loved being with able to dance with children IV poles and all!!! One volunteer told me in astonishment that she was filled with joy. (she hadn't experienced such emotion watching dance before.)

9.  Favorite Ad Deum Memory? Aside from many amazing God Moments: prayer backstage, healing in our community, daily testimonies of God answering prayer, ministering in Switzerland... One of my favorite memories is seeing Randy dance, I will never forget when he performed a solo at the CS Lewis conference in 2009. Wow. We all cried. My director has been given an incredible gift. 

10. Favorite Food? Anything with avocados!

11. What would you do if you were not a dancer? I would be a child life specialist or music therapist part time. I'd volunteer everywhere- holding babies in the hospital, visiting sick people to pray for them, working in shelters, taking wheelchairs to poverty stricken countries through Joni and Friends. I'd play a few instruments and travel with a team as a minster of the gospel through creative arts. I'd learn how to sew. I'd learn how to sail. I'd learn Hebrew. I'd probably spend a lot more time in the kitchen and teach others how to make fun healthy meals. I've always wanted to do a triathlon. I'd visit every national park in the US. I'd spend a lot more time in depth study of the Word. I'd be an astronaut too!

12. What type of music do you listen to? Worship- United Pursuit is my favorite right now.

 13. Random Interesting Fact? I'm a proud Aunt!!!

"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth."
-- William W. Purkey

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ad Deum Spring Intensive 2013

Ad Deum Spring Intensive 2013 (By Stella Almblade)

Note: There are no pictures for this blog because we want our readers who have attended the intensive to submit pictures to the blog. Submit pictures by emailing them to: and a small paragraph about your experience. You may see your picture and story on our blog!

How would I describe it in one word? A GIFT.
Ok, that's two, I know, but it was a GIFT. The preparation was long-coming and prayer-filled, to finally see the week come, it was a gift on all sides!

So what IS the Spring Intensive anyway, you might ask...
In a nutshell, it is an intense week of experiencing the Ad Deum Community. We had over 60 people come to the studio each day for 5 days straight! There were three divisions of dancers: the high-intermediate/advanced, the low intermediate/beginner, and the youth intensive ages 12-15. It was a blast! So many people, so many!

All the participants wake up bright and early on their Spring Break to arrive at the studio by 8:30am for live worship and devotionals. These times are precious, they unite the participants and the Ad Deum companies in heart, spirit, mission, and vision of what God is doing in each of our lives, in the lives of all His People, and in the lives of those He has called to be artists. The theme this year was the God of Angel Armies. Each morning, in addition to the message, we broke down the stanzas of the Chris Tomlin song called "Whom Shall I Fear".  There are so many versus in scripture that give foundation and support to the lines of the song:
It is truth that God goes before us. (Joshua 24:18)
It is truth that He stands behind us (Isaiah 52:12)
It is truth that God is the God of Angel Armies (Psalm 84:1)
It is truth that He is always by our side, He will never leave us nor forsake us (Duet 31:6)
It is truth that He reigns forever (Psalm 146:10)
It is truth that He calls us friends (John 15:15)

These are just some of the truths that we learned this week.

Imagine taking a challenging ballet class, modern class, or doing something challenging at work or in school, yet knowing that God is by your side! There is so much freedom to come from understanding that the God of Angel Armies is by your side! The peace it brought us dancers this week is beyond words. I only hope and pray that we all take what we've learned in our hearts into every single day of our future!

After the morning time at 9:30am there was a ballet technique class with Ad Deum Dancers, or Fara Sciulli-Bowen. Fara was a blessing all week, with her incredible classes, super-helpful cues, amazing technique hints, and DELIGHTFUL personality. She is a JOY in every class she teaches!. (Thank you Fara for an amazing week!!!)

Immediately after ballet was an 11:00am modern class with Ad Deum dancers or Durell Comedy. Durell taught Limon technique (He is currently dancing with the Limon Dance Company). Durell challenged all of us in our release into gravity, our coordination, our sense of balance, and our concepts of movement in general! It was a completely new way to move for some and a fun challenging experience for everyone!
(Thank you for Durell for all your GREAT classes!!!)

After a brief 30 minute lunch break, from 1:00-2:00pm there were elective classes offered such as hip hop, breaking, jazz, contemporary. And from 2:15-3:15 there were Ad Deum repertoire classes. Daniel Cossette taught the incredibly inspiring and fluid solo called Corpus Instrumental every day that week. I wish you could just listen to this song. Simply listening to it will calm your spirit and mind! Sarah Brotherton and Joanna Tan taught a soothing, mediatively gorgeous group piece called Sanctus B. Again, if only you could hear these songs... wow. When you hear them, you can only imagine what dancing movement which is just as beautiful as the symphony would be like... simply a peaceful blessing and a taste of heaven.

In the end, what's my reaction to the Spring Intensive? WOWZAH!!!


Personally, my favorite parts of the week all have to do with getting to know people!

I loved giving rides to the participants from the hotel to the dance studios in the morning, hearing their stories, and just chatting. I loved teaching the Beg/Low Int Modern and Jazz classes, they were an incredible group of people, incredible talent, full of willingness to learn, and beautiful hearts! I loved learning in class and in rehearsal from Durell Comedy, what an honor and a blessing to learn from him! I loved lunchtime conversations with participants! And I was blessed by all of the Ad Deum dancers, knowing that everyone was working their hardest to make sure everything was running smoothly! My heart and mind were at peace the whole week. I thank the Lord for the unity within Ad Deum, it is only by His grace and strength we were able to accomplish-slash-survive this week. I rest in knowing that He was glorified through our worship, dancing, preparation, hard work, and even in through our laughter! I look forward to hearing testimonies in the future of the things God did during this time! May God bless everyone who participated in this event, and may He be glorified! Amen!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Dancer Profile: Stella Almblade

Stella Almblade

Stella has a B.F.A. in Dance, University of Arizona. Stella has performed with companies both nationally and overseas, including 9 months in Spain where she also taught English, as well as dancing with Arrows International in Costa Rica and China. Now back in the States, she is excited to continue as a company member with Ad Deum.

Fun Facts:
1.) Nick name: 
Stellabellachellawella (haha, that's what my daddy calls me)

2.) Where are you from?
Scottsdale, AZ

3.) How old were you when you started dancing?
I started dancing when I was 11

4.) Favorite style or styles of dance?
All Styles, but I've always said that if I could be a professional dancer a professional swing dancer would be soooo much fun! The music is just always so upbeat and happy all the time! You can't dance swing and be sad!

5.) What made you want to start dancing?
Well, I don't remember this, but as my mom tells the story, since I was such a tomboy and had all guy friends I loved sports growing up! But my asthma was really bad and one time in particular I was hospitalized for a long time. When I returned from the hospital I could barely do anything let alone play sports and keep up with the boys who were 2 years older than me. My mom says I was depressed. She heard that ballet was "anaerobic" (meaning I might be able to handle it even with my severe asthma) and so she let me try a ballet class! I guess I loved it, and I just kept taking dance classes from then on!

6.) What dancers or dance companies inspire you?
My dear friends Stephanie Brooks and Erin Lovrien. THE most talented dancers and humble people I know. No joke. They are both using their gifts for the Lord! And of course, ALVIN AILEY! I still remember seeing them perform Revelations, all of a sudden I was on my feet giving them a standing ovation! I don't even remember how I got on my feet, it just happened! I can't remember another time I was so moved by watching dance. (Except the daily occurrence at Ad Deum!)

7.)What Scriptures are inspiring your life right now?
John 15 (Yes, the whole thing!)

8.) Favorite work of Ad Deum?
Sorry, I have to give three: APOLOGY! I've simply never seen ANYTHING like it in my entire life! MISSION: it's literally heaven on earth. I can't wait till the day when we all see each other in heaven before the Lord, because I honestly believe we will be doing those same dance moves with the angels before His Throne! It's Incredible! But I have to say, how much my life has changed as I have had the honor of getting to learn and perform Amazing Grace. It's been two years and God is STILL teaching me things through this piece!

9.) Favorite Performance or Outreach of the year?

WOW. I have no idea. It's a cross between getting to show amazing grace in front of Matthew Rushing and just watching Ad Deum II perform at Creative Dreams. Witnessing them inaction was a blessing to me!

10.) Favorite Ad Deum Memory?

Too many funny ones to write in one spot, too many international travels to mention, too many daily miracles and healings. I cannot pick just one. I will also NEVER take for granted the fact that we will just stop class or rehearsal and pray for someone like it's normal!!! Those times have changed my daily reality! But I think the one that tops it all for me is hearing that a young man that was planning to take his own life, but when he watched a piece that Ad Deum performed, decided there's something worth living for... my heart drops in awe of how God can use art. I have no words!

11.) Favorite Food?
Brownies. and YES, it's a FOOD! haha. Why? Really? Does anyone even wonder? haha, I think it's pretty well understood! haha

12.) What would you do if you were not a dancer?

WHAT WOULDN'T I DO??????? Hmmm, let's see, I would live on a remote beach in Panama doing sea turtle research, I'd work on a big game reserve and national park in Africa and do side work taking animal photographs for National Geographic, I'd probably move to Perth, Australia for a time just to experience another culture.

13.) What type of music do you listen to?
EVERYTHING but music with provocative/inappropriate lyrics. So yes, I listen to even weird things like rap, screamo, metal, ska, ethnic, instrumental, etc! I like it all!

14.) Random Interesting Fact about yourself?
I was named after my grandmother Stella Almblade (So there are literally only 2 Stella Almblades in the entire world! Seriously! Google it! And my Grandmother is 97!!!! and eats a piece of chocolate cake every day!... Lord, may my days be so many and so blessed!)

"Dancers are the athlete of God"- Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Project Dance Houston!!! (by Daniel Cossette)

Project Dance is one of my favorite events in the Ad Deum calendar year. We are blessed to regularly participate in at least two: New York City, and of course Houston. Sometimes we trickle around to Atlanta, Phoenix, and London too. But Houston is home, and so we end up producing most of the event. It's such a blessing!
Dani--Don't Let the Sun Go Down
This year the blessing of the Lord was so obvious! You know, when you have a 7 hour dance festival, there's a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong: weather, schedule, technical stuff, props, flooring, music failure, people (being late), people (breaking body parts)... I'm one of the stage managers for the Houston event (with Tiffany Schrepferman) and we stare all of these variables in the face as we bravely plot our event, and develope the 7-hour show order. We, therefore, plan to leave 5-10 minutes of buffer time every hour in the highly likely event of... trouble. This year the show was stacked full to the brim--rather to our dismay--but there was nothing to do. We had so much stuff to get in, and there wasn't time for "buffer time."
Andreas, breakdancing
But we went ahead anyway, and let me tell you want God did: The Lord shone down on every aspect.

The weather: was perfect. cloudy, pleasant.
The technical stuff: Perfect.
The flooring: no problem--it was down in time, and bubble free!
Music failure: zero.
People (being late): no one!
People (breaking body parts): nobody!
The schedule: miracle of miracles! We started on time, we ran on time, and ... we got AHEAD of schedule!
When was the last time you were at a dance festival or convention when things ran ahead of schedule?

And props: only one funny here, and it ended up making it even more fun! Ad Deum's physical theatre work called Green Man, has physio balls, and foam noodles. It was so windy, that the balls and noodles kept blowing away. Tiffany and a couple others had to hide behind the stage to keep the balls from blowing off the back into the fountain pond behind us!!! Whenever the dancers released a ball, they had no idea where it was going, and everyone was just laughing the whole way through the wild and crazy piece!
Tiffany, handing off a runaway ball
But better than all that, God's presence came and rested over Discovery Green where we danced. We felt so much freedom and joy. Thousands of people were in the park because of kids events, and conferences that were happening simultaneously.

One homeless man stopped and sat down and watched for hours. Several people from Project Dance offered him food, and money if he needed it. But he waved them off gently, eyes glued to the stage, saying, "This is all I need!"

Green Man
Tiffany and I wanted to honor the Lord first and obvious, so we put sister company Arrows International, both first and last to open and close the show. They did a powerful, beautiful, worship dance called Sekinah Glory, choreographed by their leaders Jeff and Natalie Lewis. God's presence came down on the green. Everybody got up off the lawn, out of their chairs, and were jumping up and down worshipping God. When it was done, one lady, who was walking through the green just to get some food from the carnival vendors, joined in the dancing! Afterwards she handed her plate to a friend and said, "I don't even need that food anymore!"

Ginger and Jocelyn, Pray You Through
Througout the day, the children in the park kepts coming to watch, and many came up on the side of the stage where there was a tiny platform. They began to dance too. But not only dancing randomnly. They began to mimic the dancers. Child after child would come up, and watch the show, emulating the kicks, turns, falls, and the power of the dancers! It was beautiful to see their child-like joy and freedom. There was no segregation. They danced from every nationality and religion, and their parents came with them, and were smiling and enjoying the show. The park became a house of prayer for all nations that day!
Stella, dancing in the Sun. (Look close: see the little child in the purple, dancing off the far side of the stage...?)

One little girl named Alex stole our hearts. She comes to Houston regularly for medical treatment for a neuromuscular disorder called Rettsyndrone. But the brightness in her eyes and smile watching the dance filled our hearts with joy!
Abby and Lara with little Alex

For me, it was the favor of the Lord. His blessing made everything run so smooth. And I left so energized and filled. It was beautiful. God is so good. And it was amazing to watch him bless the city of Houston so richly.

Come join us next March...!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dancer Profile: Daniel Cossette

Daniel Cossette
"To delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalms 37:4

Daniel, a Marceau-style mime from Mimeistry International, toured with Mimeistry 2000-2002. He founded Ambassador Arts, Manchester, CT, where he premiered the shows Say it Loud! and Christmivest. Daniel has performed with Project Dance, Welten Wechsel, and Dance Houston. Currently he teaches for the Houston Ballet Outreach Program and the Alley Theatre, and is in his 4th year with Ad Deum.

Fun Facts:
1.) Nick Name: My brother calls me Maestro, and my sister calls me Adelweiss

2.) Where are you from? Tolland, CT

3.)How Many years have you been dancing? 4 years, I started when I was 27.

4.) Favorite style or styles of dance? Modern dance, because it is so versatile and physical and emotive. And hip hop is fun to watch.

5.) What made you want to start dancing? I saw  Ad Deum Dance Company perform in New York City, and I thought they were incredible. I took a class from their director and thought, "I have never moved like this in my life!" it was really inspiring.

6.) What dancers or dance companies inspire you? I really like Cedar Lake (but partly because I think their stuff is a lot like ours) as well as Alvin Ailey. Who doesn't love Alvin Ailey with those incredible, strong lines!

7.) Favorite work of Ad Deum and Why? I love Unconfined, because it is so intense and powerful. I feel like it was a gift to be able to have such a prominent solo. I also love the animalistic antics of Wondrous Beast. But the spiritual depth of Hymns is also so powerful. It is hard to choose only one.

8.) Favorite Performance or Outreach of the year? I have two: The first is always Project Dance. There is nothing like meeting up with our extended dancer friends and family around the world and tearing it up on stages outdoors (one of my favorite settings anyway). I got started performing outdoors for missions trips with my church, and it is still the best. 

Also, I love the CS Lewis Conference we do, where we are always so welcomed. The people there are so sweet and receptive, I feel like they give me as much as I give them, and it sets you free to dance as a performer and minister.

9.) Favorite Ad Deum Memory? It's impossible to pick on memory and call it the ultimate favorite, but one I remember was great when we were on tour in Corpus Christi in the van together, and Stella says: "Have you heard the Lara rap?!? You gotta hear it!!!" So someone started beat-boxing (because we're contemporary dancers and we're good at that) and Lara totally started  to freestyle a rap all the way. We laughed pretty much all the way back to Houston: She is that good! Watch out for ballerinas man... they got skillz!

10.) Favorite Food? I love Tacos and pizza. I'm sorry, I just do. They are so good. Tacos with avocado, and 4 cheese pizza. There's no better way.

11.) What would you do if you were not a dancer? I love lots of things. I'm a mine to my core and I will always be that with or without dance. I am also an actor, animator, writer, gamer, etc... I'll do almost anything creative.

12.) What type of music do you listen to? Rock, worship, and worship rock.

13.) Random Interesting Fact about yourself? I'm getting married this June!

"Dancers are God's Athletes"- Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dancer Profile: Shizu Yasuda

Shizu Yasuda
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21

Shizu, originally from Japan, joined Ad Deum Dance Company in 2004, and is the Rehearsal Director for the company. She has performed throughout the USA and internationally with the company. She also has served as a modern dance instructor in the Houston area and as a demonstrator in the modern dance classes at Houston Ballet Academy Summer Intensive. Currently, she is the official modern dance choreographer of Dance of Asian America.

Interview Fun:1.) Nick Name: Sushi
2.) Where are you from? Kochi, Japan
3.) How old were you when you started dancing? Ten years old
4.) What is your favorite style or styles of dancing?Modern or Contemporary. Dancing bare feet. What an economical style of Dance!
5.) What made you want to start dancing?There was a Japanese comic book (Manga) about Ballet, which was very popular among young girls.
6.) What dance companies inspire you?Dominic Walsh Dance Company, Revolve Dance Company, Momix, Hubbard Street Dance Company, and Cedar Lake Dance Company
7.) Favorite work of Ad Deum and why?"Ava Maria," "Apology," and "Be Still My Soul" They are the most beautiful choreography I have ever danced. I can not understand how Randy could create such beautiful works.
8.) Favorite Performance or Outreach of the year?Performing at MDAnderson
9.) Favorite Ad Deum Memory?The "Malaysia Tour": My Parents came to see my performance. My dad had been against my dancing career and has only seen my dancing once in his life. It was so precious to me that he came to see my dancing. 
"Dancing for Hope" (Japan earth quake charity concert). I experienced the Holy Spirit working behind this concert and experienced many miracles and synchronicity (It was insane!). And Ad Deum performed with Houston Ballet Company!

10.)Favorite Food? Sahimi (Raw fish), RAW FISH! Simply is the best!!!!
11.) What would you do if you were not a dancer? Manga cartoon creator and Illustrator.
12.) What type of Music do you listen to? Any kind: Japanese pop, Classic, new age...etc.
13.) Random Fact About yourself? I can speak Japanese so Fluently

Favorite Dance Quote: "Stage is the sacred place" - Unknown