Company Debut Performance
The Army On Its Toes Dance Company took part in the Swanson’s retirement service at Hershey Lodge on Sunday June 12th, 2016. Their debut performance featured six dancers hailing from all over the USA East: Sarah George, Olivia Renkel, Natalia Cruz, Emily Pastin, Luie Colon and Evelyn Stickland.
The dancers were the first item on the program with a contemporary piece depicting the lives of retiring Commissioners Barry C. and E. Sue Swanson. Sarah Groves’ Strangely Ready (selected by Commissioner Sue) played as Luie Colon and Olivia Renkel portrayed the couple falling in love. The Spirit of the Lord, represented by four chorus dancers in floral dresses, guided the pair together and gave them a single calling; to serve others.
“My goal was to create a piece that not only depicted the lives of the Swansons, but also spoke a universal message.” Kathryn Higgins, choreographer.
To highlight this message, the dancers carried old suitcases that contained street signs within. As the piece progressed, the signs were revealed and stuck to a sign-post up stage left. They read: Love, Calling, Hardship, Faith, Fulfillment, and Rest. The suitcases were an integral part of the choreography, being manipulated as set pieces and props throughout.
As the dance progressed, the Swansons were guided through a fulfilling life of service. They travelled the world and grew as a family. The piece came to a climax when Mrs. Commissioner fell ill and was figuratively and literally carried by the Spirit. In a moment of upward reaching and a physical stepping up in faith, she was brought back to health, and returned to her calling with vigor. Finally, they are lead to a time of rest, and together they sit center stage as the lights dim.
Company was commissioned later that evening when Abigail Pastin, Evangeline Miller and choreographer Kathryn Higgins joined the rest of the dancers on stage as they were officially ‘sent out’. The sign post stood up stage left for the rest of the program as a silent reminder of the faithfulness of God when we follow His calling.
Interested in being a member of the Army On Its Toes Dance Company? Click here for more information about submissions due August 13th, 2016.