Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Dancer's Story Part 1 by: Ann Sterling

Hello all! I am writing this post to tell you about my story of how I came to be at Ad Deum and how much of a blessing it has been moving to Houston and being in the Ad Deum community. My name is Ann Sterling Dale, and I am from Statesville, NC, which is beautiful small town that my cousin refers to as “The Promised Land,” and I certainly agree! When I was a junior in college, I went to a student global missions conference called Urbana. I attended the dance seminar that Randall Flinn was leading. He showed some videos of his company performing repertoire, and one of the pieces was “Innocence Not Lost.” This piece, if you have not seen it, is an incredibly powerful piece that depicts the emotions of girls who have been victims of sex-trafficking.  The movement is quite athletic and fast, but there are stories or meanings behind most all of the specifically crafted movement. I was literally blown away after watching only a video of this piece.  I believe live theater and dance are always much more powerful than a video, but this piece was chillingly powerful even on a video. I thought to myself, “I want to be in this company.” I got a flyer for the company, thanked Randall after the session was over, and excitedly told my friends and family about this incredible company.

Then the next spring, I moved to New York City to spend a semester at The Ailey School.  I got involved with a group called Atmosphere led by Cheryl Cutlip, who was a former Radio City Rockette! Little did I realize just what I got myself into..She was actually the director of this worldwide dance organization called Project Dance that she had started years ago. So, I participated in Project Dance in New York City in April, and Randall Flinn was there with his company Ad Deum! I was shocked and excited that I was going to get to see this company perform live, and also audition for them. So, I auditioned for the company, but I realized that I needed to graduate from college first, so I went back to finish my senior year in college. I then graduated from Elon University with a B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography, and I moved immediately to New York City because I wanted to be a professional dancer in a big company like Alvin Ailey or Parsons Dance…yes those were my aspirations.  

While I lived in New York City, Ad Deum came into my mind several times, but then it came time for Project Dance again, and I knew that Ad Deum would be there. The first day of Project Dance weekend, I spoke to one of the senior company members, Lara Lanphier, a beautiful woman of God inside and out.  I immediately loved her and knew that she was a unique person that I felt a specific connection with in my heart. I auditioned for the company and a week later, Randall offered me an apprentice position to the main company, and I was honored and thanked him and then asked him if I could truly take time to pray and seek God’s heart for where he wanted me.

During that weekend at Project dance, I realized that I had not fully surrendered dance to God, and He broke me of that. I started weeping at the Leadership dinner as Randall was praying actually, and I said to God in my heart, “God, if Ad Deum is where you want me to be, then I am ready to go there now.” However, big decisions are very very difficult for me, and especially when they involve huge life transitions. I truly wanted to be where God wanted me to be and had called me to be in the next season of my life, so I continued to pray and talk to people in hopes of finding the answer.  I had no idea the journey that God had planned for me in the next year…I will share the next part in my next post!  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dance Blog: Dlog???

(Lara, AdDeum Company member. Photo credit Lancia Smith)
Ad Deum Dance Company is entering the world of blogging, with hopes of keeping our friends, fans, family, and future friends up-to-date on the happenin's of the company! Thanks for reading. We plan to keep it fun and photographic, so there will be lots of cool stories, pictures, and stuff to sink your teeth into.. or your toes.

The 2012-2013 season is halfway through, and we thought we'd recap for you with several of our favorite moments from Fall 2012. Drumroll please...

We danced for Dance Houston's annual fundraiser at Fifty-Two-Twenty-Six. We swapped off with various other dance artists, including ballerinas, aerialists, and breakers, bringing our own contemporary flavor with Come Home to Me.
(top to bottom: Emily, Stella, and Tiffany)

For a second year running we were invited to Corpus Christi, TX to participate in adjudicating and guesting in CC Concert Ballet's Bailando! festival. We brought both old and new works, and enjoyed networking with dancers from around Texas and (oh, you know) Russia. We really feel we left our mark:... especially on the wall of Chipotle. It's okay... they let us. Through our Russian connection Randall and Principal Dancer Shizu will be going to Belarus to adjudicate an urban dance festival in the Spring
Check out the Shizu original caricature of Randy...!
We had the exciting privilege of being invited to Biel, Switzerland to participate in the rockin' youth music festival called the X Days. The company taught a master workshop all that week and performed for the X Days with rave reviews.
L to R: dancers Melissa, Emily, and Sarah
Later in the season we returned to the CS Lewis Southwest Regional conference for their annual event in Navasota, TX. This is always a favorite event of the year, where theologians, writers, and daydreamers come together to celebrate the richness of faith, imagination, and philosophy. This year did not disappoint as people came to us after with tears in their eyes to tell us how touched they were. One man with a cane told us he was going to leave the conference early, due to pain in his leg from a recent accident. But he felt God tell him to stay for the dance concert, and was amazed to feel the pain lift as he watched, staying for the whole performance
L to R: Sarah and Emily in I Surrender All. CS Lewis Conference
(photo credit Lancia Smith)
The last big event of the year for us (officially) was our own production This Dance Is Not My Own. Randall Flinn (artisitc director), asked the audience to join us in prayer for the families of the Connecticut tradgedy, as we offered a prayer-in-dance. "We dare not horde our gifts and talents to ourselves, but our lives--this dance--is for others... it is not our own."
We restaged some classic work, as well as premeired some brand new material for this evening of intercession and sharing.

Stella performs Mary, in former Graham Company Steve Rooks' restaging of Angels.
(photo credit: Amitava Sarkar)
Dan in the premeir of the circus-style Green Man
(photo credit: Amitava Sarkar)
Lastly, lastly, (for reals this time!) the Company celebrated the fin-de-half-season with a combination cast party/viewing of the Hobbit! Nevermind having 13 Dwarves for supper with no announcement, imagine having your house crashed by 23 dancers...!
Just us and Gandalf...
We'll be posting soon with updates from the company, both from the studio, the street, and with news about upcoming events, so add us to your favorites, 'cuz we're dance blogging now. Would that be called "dlogging?"...