A Modern Dance event

I guess I've made a record today. Today marks three weeks that I've not blogged. I've become ambivalent about blogging these days. I wonder if it's becoming more of a distraction than a help. Well, my immediate thought is to remind myself that it's simply a tool. It's just a tool. And like all tools, it's there to help. Technology is my friend so long as I'm not a slave.

Anyhoo, here's info I've sent out to our community about a modern dance event we're hosting this weekend. I am a sucker for dance and for dancers, so I can't complain. I'm looking forward to the weekend very much.

I sent this note out this evening:

A few thoughts here before we head into the weekend.

First, as I was rehearsing in my mind why we do these silly things--well, because think about it for a moment. 88% of us feel really, really silly dancing in public places, or at least in daylight, and even with friends. 97% of us aren't that thrilled with the bodies we've been given. We want a rebate. That leaves maybe 3% of us that would dance anywhere on this planet with or without permission, with or without an audience and at the risk of strange looks or immediate imprisonment.

Under the cover of darkness or when no one's watching or in our dreamscapes or in our imagined futures in a heavenly, gauzy realm where we'll all effortlessly glide like Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, ok, fine. But not in stark daylight when people are actually watching me move my muscly, bony, fleshy, awkward body. So why perpetuate the pain with an event that will actually accentuate our painful yearning to dance, that little yearning, as real as real can be, buried deep inside our hearts that we long forgot after exiting childhood?

Well, here are a handful of reasons.

1. Culture renewal. Hope's current mission is to seek the renewal of our culture, by God's grace. Well I figure we can't renew it if we're not in it, or among it, or loving the actual people who comprise our culture. Going to the show--or even bringing a non-believer friend along--can put us in a position of encouraging those among us, like Ceci Proeger and Annette Christopher and Shari Brown, who belong to the dance community in Austin. We also position ourselves to offer a cool drink to those who are thirsty for the Life that is truly life. So if you're not doing anything Saturday night, considering coming down and hanging out.

2. Speaking of Annette . . . she'll be presenting a piece she's choreographed for two of her former students. If you've attended any of the previous arts festivals and seen her work, you know what to expect: beauty that will make you go loco with wonder. Her work is stunning. Her students aren't believers, but they really love our community and this could become another point of significant contact.

3. The space doesn't look like a church. Local Color Gallery is actually Austin City Church, a recent Lutheran church plant that looks more like a minimalist Luther Vandross than a starchy Martin Luther (though to be fair, Dr. Martin was far more colorful than his descendants). My point being, you can invite your non-believer friends who are especially allergic to churchy spaces and they should be ok.

4. Hospitality. With the people that we will meet and the dancers we're bringing down, this is an excellent opportunity to offer the kind of hospitality that Hope Chapel earnestly desires to give.

Ok, I'll stop there. Four is a perfectly pleasant number. At the very least these thoughts can prompt us to pray for all the persons who will be serving and attending the different events. I covet your prayers and I guess that's the one thing we're permitted to covet.

DIRECTIONS TO: Austin City Church at 1700 S. Lamar. It's at the end of a strip mall on the west side of Lamar about a mile south of Barton Springs.

TIME OF THE EVENT: 8 PM. Doors open at 7:30.

SAMPLES OF THEIR WORK: video clips can be seen here.

The rest of the information down below remains the same. Susan and Gabriel are kindred spirits to us at Hope Chapel. Their work is beautiful, their attitude is humble, and their skill is excellent. It'll be a great privilege to have them with us and I'm praying that the blessing will be mutual.

Hope to see some of y'all out there.



1) A Modern Dance Workshop

When: Saturday, August 26th, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
What: a workshop for people interested in learning ways to incorporate modern dance into personal prayer and into the corporate life of the church. It’ll be participatory so bring comfortable clothes. No limitations, no reservations needed.
Who: SevenDance Company, based in Philadelphia (see below for more info)
Where: Hope Chapel, 6701 Arroyo Seco, Austin, TX 78757

2) A Modern Dance Show

“Painting, Patterns, Motion Pictures”

Through live performances and film, dancers Gabriel and Susan Bienczycki interweave technology and the primal vocabulary of movement to tell stories of human longing: our need for fun and for escape, the lures of violence and of tenderness.

- The film “Unbound” plays with movement in a world where there is no up or down.
- The films “Journey” and “Conversation” explore our yearning for connection, both joyful and dangerous.
- The dances “Still,” “Warm Blood,” and “Getting Out,” are powerful and intimate interpretations of soul and silence and the fascination that drives us to suffer love.

Who: SevenDance Company
When: Saturday, August 26 at 8 pm. Doors open at 7:30 pm.
Where: Local Color Gallery, 1700 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX.
Tickets: $8 general admission, $5 for seniors, children (under 12), and starving artists. Purchase at door.
Information: call David Taylor (512-377-3900).

3) A Modern Dance Sermon

Well, no, not exactly. But the sermon that morning will explore the nature of dance from a biblical, theological and devotional perspective. We’ll consider ways in which dance expresses the very being of God and images for us the movement of the soul. We’ll see how dance can enhance personal worship and help the community explore both joy and sorrow. Everything from Justin Martyr (A.D. 150) to Dante (A.D. 1265-1321) to Jewish Hip-Hoppers will make its way into a morning service that will include both preaching and congregational participation.

When: Sunday, August 27th, 8:45 am and 11 am.
Where: Hope Chapel

SevenDance Company’s mission is to push the boundaries of codified dance and to work with the community to educate a broad audience for dance through performance, film, and technology.

Gabriel Bienczycki is a graduate of National Ballet School in Bytom, Poland. Gabriel has danced as a soloist and choreographed for companies in North America and Europe, such as LaLaLa Human Steps, Ballet Nuremberg, Palindrome Intermedia Performance Group and At Marah Dance Theatre, before forming SevenDance Co. with his wife, Susan. He has taught at University of the Arts, Texas Tech University, Rowan University, and Belhaven College as well as numerous other schools.

Susan Bienczycka graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Dance from Belhaven College, after which she danced with At Marah Dance Theatre in Philadelphia, and worked as a freelance dancer in Germany before returning to the United States and founding SevenDance Co. with her husband, Gabriel. She has also choreographed for Eva Koch + Company and The Outlet, taught at Texas Tech University and Belhaven College as well as in Germany and Philadelphia.


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