The Word in the Wings
Season preview: Glorify Dance Theatre 2022-23
By: KAYA PRASAD
Glorify Dance Theatre’s 2022-23 season begins in September! Continue reading for a preview of the coming season’s productions and how each one engages with Scripture and with theological questions and themes.
Dance & Dialogue
This interactive series provides three opportunities to watch dance and engage with artists in conversation about the composition and meaning of some of GPA’s contemporary and classical works. Each Dance & Dialogue event this season will focus on a particular question about how the art of movement communicates theological meaning.
October 22, 2022: How does dance tell stories?
February 18, 2023: How does dance convey emotion?
April 22, 2022: How does dance help humans relate to God?
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)
Pull up close, kids, because this one is just for you! The parable of the lost sheep illustrates how God protects and provides for us when we’re vulnerable or when we wander astray. This interactive performance will give our youngest audience members a chance to explore using movement to express their own feelings about being sought and found by Jesus.
12 What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)
Pull out your spy glasses as Agents Sonya and Aletheia are given the mission of smuggling a Bible to Izabelle, a girl living in a country where Bibles are prohibited. As they face challenging opposition, will they succeed in their assignment, or will they get caught?
In the twenty-first century, there are missionaries who go to great lengths to bring Scripture to believers whose access to God’s word is restricted by political and linguistic barriers. As we work on this production, we’ll also consider why Bible access is worth the labor and the risk–and in a more secure context, why Christians shouldn’t take Bible access for granted.
Psalm 119 is an extensive acrostic poem in which the psalmist meditates on the value of God’s word. It’s a prayer of commitment as well as a self-reminder to keep God’s instruction close to mind so God can help us discern in all kinds of situations, whether we’re faced with human adversaries or dealing with emotions of longing.
We’ll also look at a few key moments in the history of Israel when God’s people establish or renew their covenant with Yahweh and the role that Scripture plays in solidifying that relationship. Finally, we’ll see how Jesus engages with Scripture and how Scripture is useful in the Christian life.
16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the person of God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. (1 Timothy 3:16-17)
A Candy Cane Christmas (Preview)
In this heartwarming Christmas tale, a humble candy cane merchant shows a haughty princess what it means to receive the best Christmas gift of all. A candy cane provides concrete imagery to express the significance of Christ’s coming. The gift of Immanuel (“God with us”) represents God fulfilling promises, Christ’s mission to refine and purify creation, and the nearness of God through Jesus’s human birth and life.
54 He has come to the aid of his child Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Luke 1:54-55)
This abstract ballet dives into the concrete concept of chesed, a Hebrew word translated variously throughout the Bible as “loving-kindness,” “loyal love,” or “mercy.”
Amy Peterson writes in her (2020) book, Where Goodness Still Grows: Reclaiming Virtue in an Age of Hypocrisy, “God’s kindness meant precisely that God became my kin–Jesus, my brother.” Kindness, or chesed, as God shows us is much more than a fluffy compliment; it’s the deep commitment that comes with recognizing and choosing to act on relatedness to another.
In the spring, we’ll engage with several psalms to learn more about the specific ways God demonstrates chesed with us–ways we can learn to show kindness when we recognize the image of God in other people. Here is a taste of Scripture along this theme:
23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
26 O give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:23-26)
Genesis 11:1-8 narrates the division of humanity into distinct language communities.
5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them…” (Genesis 11:5-6)
The story is enigmatic in its premise and its outcome. It raises questions that we’ll consider through choreography and movement: How are we limited when we lean on false security instead of pursuing God’s call? How does Christ reconcile the confusion of “Babble” into unity in diversity?
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Throughout the fall and spring, The Word in the Wings will explore these stories, Scriptures, and themes more deeply through reflections on God’s word and conversations with company artists. I hope you’ll keep reading to engage with the theological roots of our productions this season, and I hope you’ll join us for a show to experience the ideas through the art of dance!
Scripture quotations in this post are from the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition.
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