The Word in the Wings

A behind-the-scenes look at how GPA artists are engaging with Scripture, from study to studio to presenting a Spirit-filled message on stage.

When you read “The Word in the Wings,” you’re invited to learn about the deep, biblical roots of our performance and about how GPA artists make connections between the biblical texts we study and the art you’ll see on stage.

 

We hope this opens the door for even deeper dialogue between you and God as the story of Scripture presents itself in new, perhaps unexpected ways through the medium of movement.

Without further ado...

From the study: Purifying peppermint

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Candy canes are flavored with peppermint to evoke the aroma of hyssop, since both herbs are members of the mint family. Hyssop is used throughout the Old Testament for cleansing rituals, so it’s incorporated into the taste and smell of a candy cane to reference Jesus’s priestly task of purifying God’s people. The prophet Malachi also speaks of this purification, but he uses a different metaphor–that of a fire refining gold and silver. Malachi describes purification in the context of a word from Yahweh announcing the arrival of God’s “messenger” who is tasked with transforming the people of Israel and the character of their offerings.

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From the study: God’s rock-candy advent promises

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
According to popular legend, candy canes are made of hard rock candy as a symbol of the surety of God’s promises. In Luke 1:67-79 Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, praises God’s faithfulness and describes the significance of God’s activity in his time in terms of the fulfillment of age-old covenant promises to the people of Israel.

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From the stage: interpreting Label: Beauty through comedy and movement

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Though Label: Beauty is a fun, lighthearted ballet, its message is profoundly theological, and every aspect of its production is steeped in a scriptural imagination. The ballet employs the distinctive capacities of movement and performing arts to generate new expressions of biblical ideas. I invite you, the audience, to notice what theological ideas are evoked and to return to those ideas where they are found in Scripture for further reflection. Before the curtain rises, I’ll offer a few potential starting points.

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From the study: Reading Ruth and participating in God’s redemptive purpose

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
The biblical story of Ruth moves from a foreign land to the land of Israel, from a time of famine to a time of harvest, from the suffering of loss and emptiness to the joy of fullness and life. On the whole, Ruth is a story of provision. The name of God is invoked throughout the story, giving a clearly theological overtone to the narrative’s redemptive arc. Yet human characters take an active role in this redemption; humans and their relationships to one another are the context in which God’s character is revealed in this story (Hawkins & Stahlberg xiv). By using ordinary people as the literary vehicle to reveal God, the book of Ruth suggests that the nature of God’s purpose in the world entails actions that are achievable on an individual level even while these are interwoven with a grander plan that God alone can accomplish.

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From the study: Humanity’s high and humble calling in the image of God

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
As Virginia, Sandra and other characters in Label: Beauty consider what it might mean to find their identity in Christ, they might be asking: What is the identity God offers me when I choose to follow Jesus? Hannah suggested in her interview last week that Gloria’s character views a relationship with God as limiting or distracting from her self-proclaimed purpose. How does God’s purpose for human life compare with the purpose someone might choose for themselves without reference to God’s design?

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From the Study: Finding Identity and Security in the Good Shepherd

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
This fall, Glorify Dance Theatre is preparing to perform Label: Beauty, a ballet about finding identity and security in God. This ballet imagines the stories of two young women, Sandra and Virginia, who are each searching for a sure sense of self but find that emulating an admired fashion star or even being that fashion star are unsound foundations on which to establish who they are and what they are meant to do in the world. A third character, Jean, shows Sandra and Virginia how her self-confidence is built on her faith in God and her relationship with Jesus. As Glorify artists develop these and other characters in Label: Beauty, they are attending to a few key theological questions that motivate the story. Sandra and Virginia wonder what to make of Jean’s faith, asking: How does your relationship with Jesus help you understand who you are and who you are meant to be? How do you know you can trust God to provide for your security?

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Introducing “The Word in the Wings”

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Ballet communicates through the medium of movement. It has distinctive capacities to generate meaning and foster understanding of complex ideas. GPA artists work specifically with ideas that are found in the Bible and have significant implications for how we live our lives.

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