Founded in the spring of 2016, the Army On Its Toes Dance Company is a new ministry of The Salvation Army. Under the leadership of Kathryn Higgins (Dance Ministries Specialist) and supported by Carol Jaudes (Territorial Creative Arts Director), Company is an extension of the TAM Bureau. This group of dancers have been selected from all over the Eastern Territory; from upstate New York to Puerto Rico.
The mission of the Army On Its Toes Dance Company is to create quality works, spreading The Word and inspiring action through the power of dance.
Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Dance is the fastest growing arts program/ expression of worship in the USA East. With a total attendance of 5675 in 2010 and growing to 21129 in 2014, dance has more than tripled in attendance throughout The Salvation Army the last four years! Dance is engaging the next generation in an unprecedented way, and Company seeks to engage this demographic and inspire excellence.
There is a misconception in The Army that dance is something for children and teens only, and that you ‘grow out of it’. The reality is, dance is effective for all ages, and there is a vast population within The Salvation Army who are searching for this type of creative outlet but have no place to go. Company extends an opportunity to working young adults who want to pursue dance performance while continuing with their studies or career.
Dance is an incredibly effective tool for spreading the Word. It is eye-catching; something people will stop and watch. Preaching The Message through dance transcends language and culture, and speaks to all ages.
There is a major lack of quality dance out in the Christian community. Most of what is available for Army programming is beginner-level. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an effective ‘Christian Dance’ on youtube! There is a lack, a desire and we strive to fill that need. We enthusiastically jump in and ride the wave of interest dance has in our SA community, as well as in popular culture.
Events to date:
Fuego at Split Rock Resort – Jovanie Smith’s Fuego
The Company: BIOS
KATHRYN HIGGINS – Company Director
From Toronto, Ontario, Kathryn is a seasoned performer in the music theatre and television industry with appearances in The Charlottetown Festival as Diana in Anne of Green Gables, Disney’s Camp Rock and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Boys In The Photograph (Royal Alex. Theatre). Some of Kathryn’s most recent choreography includes: Moses (O2 Stadium) and Theatre315’s production of The Unusual Tale of Mary and Joseph’s Baby (off-off-Broadway). She is an aerialist, and member of the TAM Team; a performance-based drama troupe specializing in Playback Theatre.
Summar Bussey is a member of the SWONEKY Division at the Lexington Corps. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but has lived in Suffern, New York for most of her life. Summar is currently studying Elementary Education at Asbury University as a freshman and is a current member of the Asbury University Tumbling Team (a gymnastic missions team). Participating in corps dance since a young age, dance has always played a role in her life. She participated in the GNY Divisional Dance team from 2012-2016, and has enjoyed teaching dance at The Spring Valley Corps. Dance is Summar’s favorite way to worship; she loves how a dancer can tell a story simply through movement. Believing that dance is so much more than being technically perfect, Summer seeks to find the words behind the movement, and use those words to weave the message of Gods greatness.
Born in Philadelphia PA, Luie has been calling The Salvation Army his church since he was a child. His love for the arts grew when at the age of 16, he began to take dance classes through Pioneer Corps. Luie has participated in CAST (a touring performing arts team) twice; each time traveling internationally to perform. The first tour in 2003 included several stops in Italy, and then in 2015 he ventured to the UK to perform in the London O2 Stadium. Luie is an alumni of TAM Conservatory, having studied dance there a total of 9 years! Luie currently works as the Corps Assistant at the Flemington Corps in New Jersey. On dance, Luie remarks, “We put our hearts into it and when that happens, the Holy Spirit takes over and its not our dance, it’s God’s dance.”
Natalia was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico where she’s been dancing since the age of eleven. She has participated in various productions in the island and continues to study ballet, jazz, modern/contemporary and hip-hop. In 2014 Natalia joined the Salvation Army at the San Juan Central Temple and from there on dedicated her dancing to God. She currently teaches dance at her corps for the children who participate in the after school ministry. She leads the PRVI divisional dance team alongside with her sister. Natalia loves to share her passion for Christ with people who also share a passion for the arts.
Sarah is currently a senior at Asbury University, studying Elementary Education and Spanish, expecting to graduate May 2017. She started ballet, tap, and jazz classes at Christine Proia’s Dance Academy at the age of 3 and continued there for 8 years. Sarah rekindled her love for dancing at the age of 16. She has always loved being part of the arts, with small roles in plays and musicals throughout middle school, high school, and even college. She has been a member of CAST for the past 4 summers (2013-2016) where she has taken on the role of dance captain for multiple years. She was a featured dancer in the Salvation Army Musical, STONED, performed with the USA East Creative Arts Team at the 2015 Boundless Congress, and was a dance facilitator at the 2016 TAM Conservatory. She is grateful for God’s gift of dance in her life, (even if it took her 5 years to find it) and aspires to use that gift to further His kingdom.
Bethany’s love for the arts started when she first saw the Creative Arts Service Team perform in 2007, claiming that one day she would be a part of the team. She is now going into her third year as part of the Team and had the opportunity to perform in Moses in the O2 Arena in London, England. She has been a student at TAM Conservatory for 5 years where she has been cultivating God’s gift of dance in her life. Bethany leads the dance and drama groups at Asbury University’s Salvation Army Student Fellowship. Her dance ability has helped her to choreograph and star as Babette in Asbury University’s production of Beauty and the Beast. Bethany is grateful for all the places dance has brought her and she looks forward to continuing to use God’s gifts in her life to further His Kingdom.
Evangeline’s love for God and the arts led her to join the first year of CAST back in 2002. It was during this time that she learned how the arts could be used to teach the Gospel in new and exciting ways. Evangeline has experience dancing, cheerleading, and gymnastics. She has always enjoyed performing, especially, in musicals and choreodramas. Evangeline has worked for the Empire State Division as the Creative Arts Director since 2006. The Salvation Army has given her the opportunity to travel the country and the world and she is grateful to be called share Christ’s love through the arts.
Abigail has been dancing since the age of three and has taken lessons in modern, contemporary, ballet, jazz and tap. She is currently minoring in dance at Eastern University and is hoping to become a dance therapist in the future. She has taught dance at her divisional camp starting at age fourteen as well as her corps and has continued to have the opportunity to teach and perform at many corps and Kroc centers in the territory. Abigail was also a member of her divisional dance group and had the opportunity to lead the group for a short period. Abigail is ready and excited to be a part of the Army On Its Toes Dance Company and to share the love of Jesus through dance.
Emily is currently a student at Eastern University, where she double majors in dance and business management. Emily began dancing at the age of 4 and has studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and contemporary. She has also been heavily involved in the arts within the Salvation Army from a very young age. Since 2010, Emily has taught dance at her corps and has also taught dance during the summers at her divisional camp. From 2013 to 2015, Emily participated in the Pendel Divisional Dance Group as a dancer and choreographer. In 2015, Emily was a member of the CAST team, and performed in London with the USA East Creative Arts Team at The Salvation Army’s 2015 International Congress, Boundless. Emily is thankful for the opportunities and family God has given her through the arts in the Salvation Army and she is excited to see what the Lord has in store for her as she grows as an artist and believer.
Olivia is currently a senior at Hunter College majoring in Performing Arts Administration. She has always had a strong passion for the arts. At the age of five she tapped danced her way through her very first dance recital and was in her first musical when she was eight. Ever since then she has been performing and using her gifts to glorify God. Some of her favorite roles include Sally Brown in Snoopy and The Bakers Wife in Into The Woods. Olivia is also very involved in the arts within the Salvation Army. She has been a member of the Creative Arts Service Team for three years, has attended TAM conservatory, and is a member of the GNY divisional dance team. She is extremely thankful to be a part of this amazing ministry.
Evelyn is a soldier from the Old Orchard Beach Citadel Corps in the Northern New England Division. She started her training in ballet and modern dance in high school and since then has been an active participant and leader in her corps and division in timbrels, dance, choreodrama, Jesus Theater and other various music and arts groups. She co-founded and directed the Gordon College Dance Ministry for four years as a student leader, and later worked in the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division as the Divisional Dance Instructor. She has performed and taught classes throughout the Eastern Territory with the Creative Arts Service Team as well as other territorial events and trainings. Evelyn has recently started working as the Divisional Creative Arts Director for the New Jersey Division, where she is excited to continue using the performing arts to build community, strengthen spiritual development, and enrich the communal worship experience.