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...

How dance does theology: externalizing impulse to tell a different story

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Doris Humphrey states that dance often strips down narrative to a small and particular subject matter (39), making room for abstract expression of affect and idea (57). The primary purpose of dancing is not always to narrate events chronologically. Instead, dance latches onto and exaggerates impulse, the idea that motivates a movement, rather than relating the events that precede and follow. Even so, dance does tell a story. But rather than relate ordered events or replicate literal actions, dance externalizes the development of emotions, relationships and abstract ideas that we often process internally and express through dialogue and relatively reserved social actions.

Read More »

From the studio: Melody Stanert on producing Walk This Road

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad

At Easter 2021, Glorify Dance Theatre performed Walk This Road, a contemporary ballet exploring the disciples’ emotional journey through Holy Week with Jesus. Artistic Director Melody Stanert has been working tirelessly to bring this show back to the stage for Easter 2022, so I asked her to talk with me about why this ballet is so compelling and meaningful for the church during this season. Listen in on our conversation–and consider helping us bring this show to life again!

Read More »

How dance does theology: in every present time

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Like other performance media like theater and music, a work of dance must be experienced over time–not all at once like a painting, and not line by line like a poem, but as a continuous development from one movement through a transition into the next. Since the instrument of dance is the human body, which exists continuously throughout the time of the performance, dance requires intentional expression of the intermediate development between main ideas.

Read More »

How dance does theology: bound by ground and breath

The Word in the Wings
By Kaya Prasad
Theologian Ellen Davis and her collaborators at Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet suggest that “dance and the art of living as creatures of God…belong together, for dance is quintessentially creaturely stance, gesture, movement. This is the art form that most emphatically marks humans as earth creatures, our bodies grounded by its gravitational pull, playing within and pushing at its limits” (unpublished manuscript). The nature-bound forces of gravity as well as breath govern the interaction between the elements of body and time in choreography. The relationship between environment as expressed in the shaping of rhythm and phrasing makes palpable in performance our place as members of an interdependent, created system.

Read More »

How dance does theology: transforming familiar forms

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Celeste Miller, from whom I studied choreography at Grinnell College, defines dance as “movement, aware of itself, practiced with intent.” Doris Humphrey, choreographer and dance educator, agrees that movement in dance is supported by purpose (110). Whether the idea is emotional, narrative, geometrical or kinetic, there is some cause motivating the execution of any given movement, and the details of the execution vary based on the particular nature of that cause (Humphrey, 113). Because dance movements express particular motivations, clear communication in dance depends on specificity of movement. The motivation of dance movement thus drives it away from moderate or generic expression.

Read More »

How dance does theology: an introduction

The Word in the Wings
By: Kaya Prasad
Glorify Performing Arts exists to create productions that help artists and audiences grow in relationship with God. Just how does dance accomplish this? Through the month of January 2022, The Word in the Wings will feature articles exploring some distinctive ways in which dance expresses meaning and generates theological understanding. This introductory article describes the function of art in Christian practice more generally to provide a framework for the rest of the series.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

Sign up for our mailing list

Receive updates about Glorify Performing Arts, including upcoming events and ways to get involved.

© Glorify Performing Arts is a registered 501(c)(3).
Glorify Performing Arts, Inc. © Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.

css.php