Meet the Army On Its Toes Dancers
|KATHRYN HIGGINS –
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. Kathryn is the founder of the Army On Its Toes Dance Company and works full time for The Salvation Army in NY as the Dance Ministries Specialist.
Debora Baptista is from Barcelona, Spain. She started dancing as a child at her corps, during her high school years she trained in flamenco and ballet at ‘L’atelier’ Dance Academy and hip hop at ‘Soul’ Academy. Debora met the Greater New York Youth Band when they travelled to Barcelona 2008. She performed flamenco at a joined event where she was invited to come to New York City and dance. Shortly after, she moved to Manhattan, participating in the GNY Dance team for 5 years. Debora loves creating scenography and has a passion for painting and decorating. She is currently studying Theatre at Hunter College, minoring in dance. Debora is also the Youth Leader at the Bronx Tremont Corps where she oversees the arts and music programs for children and teenagers. Because of the great opportunity the Salvation Army gave her when they invited her to come to New York, Debora wants to serve with the arts ministry in any way she can, utilizing the creativity God gave us to evangelize.
The 5th of six siblings, Samuel was born in Madrid while his parents were in the school for Officership. His family moved to the United States to serve at the Bronx Tremont Corps in 2016. Samuel was curious about dance since the age of 12; always watching his sisters perform in church. Little by little they began to teach him until he decided to join and a dance academy to focus on latin dance. For two years he participated with the Greater New York Dance Team, exploring new styles of dance like ballet, hip-hop and modern. Through dance he is able to connect with God.
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 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.” This is Luie’s second season with Company.
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 is currently studying Elementary Education. She loves to share her passion for Christ with people who also share a passion for the arts. This is her third season dancing with Company.
|LISANNY DE LA ROSA
Born in the Dominican Republic, Lisanny began her training in the performing arts at a young age while living in Suffern, NY. Over the years, she studied ballet, jazz and contemporary dance and developed a love for art ministry as a unique way of communicating God’s word. In 2015 and 2016, she served as group leader in Empire DYMA Dance and was a member of Empire Divisional Brass, Chorus, Timbrels and Dance. Lisanny currently participates in the Lawrence Corp Dance Program as choreographer, dancer and instructor.
Born and raised in New York, Danielle became passionate about dance while living at the College for Officers Training in Suffern, New York at age 16. Dance became the avenue through which she discovered God’s love, as well as the way she learned to worship and connect with Him. Through seeing her dance teachers worship in dance Danielle found a way that she could express herself to God without words and was immediately attached. She continued to study jazz dance in college, and is currently part of the work-study program at Broadway Dance Center where she studies ballet, and street jazz. After having danced with the Greater New York Divisional Dance Team, this is Danielle’s second season with Company, and is looking forward to ministering together with this amazing team.
Chaya was introduced to dance at the age of seven when she joined her corps dance group. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to dance whether that be at her corps on Sunday mornings, ballet workshops, or at TAM Conservatory. When Chaya joined the Greater New York Divisional Dance Team in 2014, she fell in love with dance and how it became a new form of worship for her. Currently, Chaya teaches dance at her corps after school program and loves sharing her passion for dance with elementary aged children. Chaya is very excited for her first full season with Army On It’s Toes Dance Company and can’t wait to see what God will do through this amazing group.
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 has now been a part of the Team for three years and had the opportunity to perform in London, England; California; and all over the Eastern Territory. 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 as she participates in her second season with Company.
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 and is now in her third season dancing with Company. 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 studied 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 excited to be a part of the Army On Its Toes Dance Company for her third season and to share the love of Jesus through dance.
Olivia is employed as the Divisional Creative Arts Director for NJ. She studied Performing Arts Administration at Hunter. 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 Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods. Olivia is also very involved in the arts within the Salvation Army. She has been a member of CAST for three years, has attended TAM conservatory, and was a member of the GNY divisional dance team. She is extremely thankful to be a part of this amazing ministry for a third season.
Marissa Riley’s first dance recital was at seven years old. Her favorite number was a Michael Jackson medley complete with afro wig and white glove. By contrast, her first sacred dance solo was to a contemporary arrangement of “I’m In His Hands” which she choreographed herself. At ten years old that solo allowed her to win first place in the Empire State Divisional Star Search competition. Over the years Marissa has been very involved in Salvation Army arts, including the Pendel dance troupe, CAST, and Territorial Arts Ministry Conservatory. Marissa considers the training and leadership of women like Stephany Suarez Darling, Erin Burgmayer Morgan, Evangeline Miller, and Kathryn Higgins to be among the most formational experiences of her life. Marissa’s formal training has primarily been at Carlisle Dance in PA where she is now employed as Office and Store Assistant Manager and substitute instructor. Marissa soldiers at The Salvation Army in Carlisle, PA. She is a member of Pendel Brass and Singers, and among the newest members of Army on its Toes. Without question, Marissa’s experiences in music and worship arts have been the primary source of spiritual growth in her life.