School has solid arts program, says principal
Students of Covenant Christian School in Smithville were able to witness a performance by a ballet company with a vision to glorify God through dance this past spring.
Principal Sid Bakker says when he heard about the ballet troupe’s touring theme, The Lord’s Prayer, he was immediately interested as the prayer has been a focus for the school this year.
Soli Deo Gloria Ballet, a troupe based in Stevensville, presented at the school in late May.
To prepare the students, Bakker asked a Grade 8 student who has studied dance to visit each classroom and explain the disciplines of ballet, the type of shoes worn and so forth.
“In hindsight I think this was a key strategy because it helped students appreciate the skill and discipline the dancers have mastered,” says Bakker.
Covenant Christian School provides a broad base of exposure to the arts. It offers a band program for students in the upper grades, a strong art curriculum for all grades, and it participates in an annual fine arts festival. Recently the school’s enrichment teacher completed a very successful drama unit as well, says Bakker.
“If our school is a representative example of how the arts are nurtured in Christian schools, then I’d say students are encouraged to explore all areas of God’s creation and develop their talents in this realm as they are in all others,” he adds.
Soli Deo Gloria Ballet has completed its third touring season since its inception as a company in 2008.
Co-director Rachel Starr Thomson says performing in schools is still new for the group and a challenge in some ways.
“We realize that many of (the students), especially the boys, come in skeptical about ballet to begin with, so we really want to share our excitement for this amazing art form with them,” says Thomson, noting the response at Covenant was very positive.
The ballet troupe’s philosophy on ballet from a Christian perspective is that as a creative act dance is a powerful way for people to reflect on God in his role as creator.
”Creativity is a major part of how we glorify and serve God,” says Thomson.
She also points out that ballet, as the most highly stylized form of dance in the world, requires “incredible dedication and discipline” and so has “a lot to teach us all about putting our whole hearts into our (efforts) and doing all things as unto the Lord.”