Presenting an exciting original ballet, Expressions of Joy will bring the classic story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for one night only on Saturday, June 14. This timeless allegory weaves the life-changing message of the gospel into a great adventure expressed through the beauty of ballet and accompanied by a musical recording by the Symphony of the Americas from Maestro Brooks.
“This is a great opportunity for outreach through the performing arts and many community partners are helping by coming along side to support the vision,” said Josiane Geyer, creative director at Expressions of Joy. In development for the past nine years, Expressions of Joy’s original choreography has received a stamp of approval from the C.S. Lewis Foundation in California and is fully licensed by the C.S. Lewis Company, Ltd in England.
Redemption through dance
A magical and powerful story of courage, loyalty, and selfless love, it is a ballet for the entire family. “This is a very special ballet and with the success of the book and the movie, we believe it could become a classic comparable to the Nutcracker,” Geyer asserts.
For those unfamiliar with the storyline, it follows the four Pevensie children, who are evacuated to the country during the air raids of WWII and discover a wardrobe that transports them to a magical land called Narnia. In Narnia they meet all kinds of incredible creatures such as a faun named Mr. Tumnus and of course Aslan the Great Lion! He is the true King of Narnia! But Narnia is being ruled by an evil White Witch who vows that the land shall always be winter and never Christmas. The children must grow up quickly as they learn hard lessons about loyalty and sacrifice.
“Our beautiful and gifted students are so excited and working really hard for this special weekend,” said Geyer. She explained that Expressions of Joy uses the Russian Vaganova method of classical ballet training, a very strict but artistic method. “So, we have great confidence that with our training method and passion we will bring high artistic quality to this incredible performance, which will include beginners to pre-professionals, as well as professional dancers and actors,” Geyer said. “The little ones will be animals or butterflies and in the bigger scenes you will see the difference that comes with more experience as the dancers nurture their gifts for God’s glory.”
Meagan Christiansen, 10, who will play the role of Lucy Pevensie, said “Dancing at EOJ is a big part of my life. I love Miss Josie because she’s a very loving teacher! She always tells us when we’re dancing; it’s not only for the audience, but for God first and His glory.”
Bridging secular and sacred
“Our vision is to be the artistic bridge between the secular and the sacred though the arts,” expressed Geyer, who aims to nurture students to their highest artistic potential for worship though new and original Christ-centered performances.
An old Narnian prophecy says that “Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight!” Like Edmund in The Chronicles of Narnia, each of us has been treacherous in our heart to God. The Bible calls this sin — it is the willful disobedience to God’s law. Everyone has sinned and is, therefore, subject to the penalty of that disobedience. Like Edmund, we are all under a death sentence. Someone must pay the price for our sin. The great news is that, like Aslan in the book, Jesus went to the cross to pay the penalty — to die in our place. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13, NLAs) Aslan made the ultimate sacrifice for Edmund, and Jesus died for the sins of every person who has ever lived.
Local dancers who are featured in the performance include Meagan Christiansen as Lucy Pevensie, Lauren Pimenta as Susan Pevensie, Matt Wiles as Peter Pevensie, Josh Verrier as Edmond Pevensie, Enrique Gonzales as Aslan the lion and Jordan Anne Maurodis as the White Witch.
“I’m so excited that we get to lead people to Jesus through the ballet of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!” said Joli Trapani, 10, who will perform in the ballet.
Calling it a “dream come true,” Julie Christiansen, 15, agreed “It’s a wonderful opportunity to further my growth as a dancer and do what I love to do!”
Expressions of Joy is supported by the Broward Art Access program from the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. To purchase tickets for the June 14, 2014 performance, contact The Broward Center AutoNation Box Office at 954-462-0222.
For more articles by Shelly Pond, please visit goodnewsfl.org/author/shelly/