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!  


  1. Ann Sterling. Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to hearing part two. Interesting how your life was intertwined with Randy and Ad Deum. God sure seems to have a plan. Kerry Runyeon

  2. Hi Ann!!! Thank you for your beautiful story!!! It was so incredibly well-needed! I also have huge aspirations of auditioning for Ad Deum. In fact, I feel like I've had so much confirmations of at least using dance for the Lord, and among any company, I choose Ad Deum as first choice of companies to be part of for basically all of the reasons you mentioned. However, I seem to keep pulling muscles, and I'm just still praying if it is truly where God wants me to be. But just like you said, I need to surrender that. Prayers are always appreciated and I will be in prayer for you as you continue your amazing journey. I would love for you to tell me more about what God showed you, your heart towards it all, etc. God Bless you, sister!!!:-D ~Meghan