'Dance for Christ' is now in its 10th year
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on March 27, 2011 1:50 AM
Dominique Eason, portraying Jesus Christ, shields Tara Warren from Regan Jackson, center rear, portraying Satan, along with the many temptations in her life in a scene from 2010's "Dance for Christ" performance in the Paramount Theatre.
In an old-time western town, the sheriff deputizes a posse to go with him to capture Satan. They round him up and a duel ensues between the sheriff and Satan. But instead of shooting him with a gun, the sheriff shoots Satan with a Bible. That's the sheriff's weapon of choice -- the word of God.
This is just one of the many numbers that will be featured during this year's "Dance for Christ" production to be performed April 1-3 and April 8-10 at the Paramount Theatre.
"Dance for Christ" is celebrating its 10th season, also the 10th year that its founder and director Patricia Warren has been in remission with cancer.
The production originally began in 2001 as Mrs. Warren battled breast cancer.
"It was a long, hard battle," she said, "but it opened my eyes. I always had a calling to do something for God. During that battle I prayed about it a lot and the dance ministry kept popping up."
But Mrs. Warren was afraid to try something new.
Eventually she realized that all she had to do was be the vessel and God would work through her.
"I surrendered everything to God," Mrs. Warren said. "I thing he healed me spiritually, then physically. That's where 'Dance for Christ' was born. I want to tell the world about God and what better way than through the gift he gave me, the gift of dance?"
And that dance includes "Satan Bite the Dust." The dancers all don cowboy hats and blue jeans. They're deputies who help the sheriff go after Satan because they are tired of the devil in their church and in their families and they're tired of all his lies.
"It's such a sweet, cute little entertaining piece that has a great message for kids," Mrs. Warren said.
The number is from the very first performance of "Dance for Christ" and one that hasn't been done since.
A new piece this year will be "Guilty," a song originally one by the Christian group KJ52. It's about a man on trial for the murder of Christ. He pleads guilty and tells the judge why.
"It's amazing." Mrs. Warren said. "This is the piece that Peterson Thelisma from 'America's Got Talent' and 'America's Best Dance Crew' helped us choreograph, and he's also performing in it."
Thelisma did a dance workshop in Goldsboro last year and decided he wanted to be a part of this year's "Dance for Christ."
"He told me that he's danced with a lot of famous people, in the movies and all over for everybody, but he's never danced for God," Mrs. Warren said. "That was such a testimony for the students in this production."
Thelisma will also be featured in "Who's In the House" with break dancers.
Another new piece, "He Is," is contemporary ballet number that tells through song who Christ is in every book of the Bible. It states that in Genesis, he's the breath of life. In Exodus, he's the Passover. It goes all the way through Revelations, and features 50 dancers.
Mrs. Warren has seen "Dance for Christ" making a difference in people's lives.
"We've had people tell us they brought people to this production who they never get to go to church and who didn't even want to know about Christ," she said.
"When they saw this ministry in the Paramount Theatre in Goldsboro, N.C., it changed their heart and they accepted Christ. Because they saw something different. They saw love, not judgment, not condemnation.
"It's a message of love. Even parents reprimand their children, but it's out of love because they want them to be safe and protected and have a good life. That's why God reprimands us, out of love."
And she's seen it change the lives of cast members, too.
"One student in the cast, who had graduated from college and was marrying a pastor, told me when we first started doing 'Dance for Christ,' she'd go to rehearsals, leave and go to a local club and get drunk. She said she everyone she was only in it for the show, she didn't need God.
"She said it was through 'Dance for Christ' that she realized how wrong she was and how she needed God. Now she was marrying a pastor and was going into missionary work."
Mrs. Warren calls "Dance for Christ" a ministry, not a performance. "It's no different than going to church," she said. "It's a different method for the same truth. I think in this day and era we live in, this is very instrumental in reaching people."