Our Story

The Story of how Glorify Performing Arts Began


Glorify Performing Arts was founded in 2018, and Glorify Dance Theatre had their first season in 2019. The story of how we began, however, starts back with a little girl with blonde curly hair, and a love of performing arts.

little melody
Melody Mendoza grew up loving the arts and stories. 

Her dad would call her Curly Top because of how much she watched Shirley Temple movies and went around singing and pretending to tap dance. She started taking ballet with Edmond Novak and his wife Irina Kovalska and in those ballet classes, they always emphasized the importance of performing. As she grew older, she began voice lessons and drama classes and started to take dance a little more seriously. Ultimately, a Broadway career as a choreographer was what she decided she wanted to pursue.

Edmond Novak

In high school, Melody gathered a group of her friends to create theatre shows. They toured to several nursing/retirement homes in the area and through those small performances, Melody experienced the spark of creating a production to bring joy to an audience.

After graduating from Delaware County Community College in 2010 with an AA in Communication Arts and then Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2012 with a BA in Dance, she planned to audition for a few continuing education programs in NYC. Those auditions marked on her calendar for February, 2013. 

Backtracking to the spring of 2012, she had returned home from college and was taking part in the Good Samaritan Dance Academy’s spring concert where she connected with Donna FitzPatrick. Donna had been wanting to create a ballet out of Max Lucado’s story for children, The Way Home: A Princess Story, and asked Melody if they could work together on the project.  Melody said yes!

Once all the logistics of the show were together and auditions were held, rehearsals began in January 2013 and that spark of creating was flying high in Melody’s heart. Two weeks in, Melody injured her ankle, ending up on crutches, unable to walk. The auditions she planned to do in NYC came and went, and she was still in a boot. Her doctor said: “you will permanently damage your ankle if you start dancing on it now.”

Feeling like God had messed up all her life plans, on Easter of 2013, Melody stayed home from church. There was nothing about God that she wanted to celebrate that year. In the midst of venting to the Lord, Melody experienced a flood of ideas pour into her mind. Knowing these ideas were definitely NOT coming from her own brain, she grabbed her laptop and started typing:

 

“A Christian performing arts center dedicated to presenting high quality productions that will glorify Christ.  The center will also offer instructional classes designed to foster the gifts God has given students.

 

Ideal building will house approximately four large dance studios, seven music studios (some would be for private lessons, some rehearsal studios), an art studio, a scenic shop, a small voice/music theater, and a larger professional theater with lots of technologic [sic] capabilities (not ginormous, but fairly large).”

4 pages later, she sat there, thinking, “What just happened? I’m trying to become a Broadway choreographer. Besides, I’m not famous and I have never taken a business class. Who is going to want to get involved in this? ”

 

She spoke with a few friends who thought the idea sounded great, and then she spoke with a CPA who suggested she talk with a lawyer and the lawyer said to come back when she had a solid business plan in place.

 

Between 2013 and 2017, Melody struggled with the feeling that she wasn’t the right person to start a company like this. In her mind, people want to join and support companies that contain famous founders/choreographers, and she didn’t qualify in that category. But during this time, the Lord continually reminded her that He is the one who builds the house, and she just needed to be faithful to follow His direction. Her sister, Angela Commiskey, excited about the possibilities for how GPA could impact their community, decided to pursue her MPA in Nonprofit Administration. Meanwhile, Melody spent time praying and researching and writing, and finally, with LOTS of help from Angela Commiskey and Michael McGowan, the business plan was ready to submit to the lawyer by November of 2017.

Expecting it to take up to a year for the nonprofit status to go through, on 4th January of 2018, Melody moved up to NYC for 6 months. 

While she had aged out of the official programs for continuing her dance training, she devised her own schedule filled with attending dance classes and dance history lectures and dance/theatre performances and spending hours in the Performing Arts Library doing research. 

 

However, the nonprofit status didn’t take a year, and after being in NYC for only 2 weeks, she got a call from the lawyers office saying that Glorify Performing Arts had officially been granted 501(c)(3) status.

 

“I’m currently at Whole Foods on the Upper East Side in Manhattan waiting to pick up the kid I’m nannying from his swim lesson, so can I come in to sign the papers in 2 weeks when I’m in the area for the weekend?” She asked. That worked on their end, so by the end of January 2018, everything was in place for launching GPA.

Following a school year calendar, the 2018-2019 season wasn’t a shot out of the gate, but rather it began slowly, with 2 dancers, and then a few guest artists; doing one church performance, making some videos, then holding a vision gala. 

The first official season for Glorify Dance Theatre began in the fall of 2019 with 4 Company Artists and 2 Apprentices and we premiered our ballet Alive In Us. Audience members were moved by the performance and were very engaged in the artist talkback.

While GPA still has a long way to go to encompass the full vision the Lord gave to Melody, He has been faithful in every step. Dancers have joined who lived 5 blocks away, drove an hour and 20 minutes one way to get to rehearsal, or moved from Virginia and Indiana to be part of the company. Randahl Williams, a friend who did performances at nursing homes with Melody in high school dove in from the first gala to be our Stage Manager, and can still be found backstage at our events.


Want to see where we’re at now? 
Browse our website or send us an email or give us a call! We’d love to share what God is doing at Glorify Performing Arts with you! We believe He can do great things in the West Chester area and surrounding communities to draw hearts to Him and we are excited to be part of people experiencing the power of Jesus.
GPA's First Gala, 2019

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© Glorify Performing Arts is a registered 501(c)(3).
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