"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, 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.
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"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