Dancers of different faiths make up Praise in Motion

Historically speaking, Western European art sprang from the established church. Drama, music and visual art are easy to see as having roots in religious life. But dance?

Liturgical dance has been gaining momentum in our society, and here in Gwinnett we have the En Pointe School of Dance in Lilburn performing on April 18 and 25 with its nonprofit company Praise in Motion.

"Praise In Motion's mission is to train dancers for the purpose of presenting the Gospel through dance, winning souls for Christ, and restoring the arts in the Church," Kathy Thomas said. "Praise In Motion dancers have a strong foundation in classical ballet and experience in many other styles of dance.

"They are selected through a yearly audition process, which unlike other dance companies, focuses on using a dancers' talents to glorify God rather than for self-glory."

Thomas said there are three levels of dancers: company, apprentice and an invitational group. There are about 30 dancers who make up Praise In Motion. averaging in age from 12 to adult. They are members of many different church denominations and some travel from as far away as Milledgeville and Gainesville. A number

of the dancers are

also teachers.

The April 25 performance in Gwinnett will be held at the Stonemill Church at 2:30 and

7:30 p.m. The church is located at 855 Northbrook Parkway in Suwanee. A week before, on April 18, the performance will be at the Murray Arts Center of Mount Paran Church of God in Kennesaw.

There is no admission for either performance, but donations will be accepted. This year's presentation is called "Rejoice," a new work by Rhonda Oltjenbruns. Also on the program is "More Than A Moment" choreographed by Erin Lee. Both choreographers will be performing themselves as a part of the program.

Praise in Motion is very active in outreach events, performing at least once a month by invitation all over the Atlanta area as well as in other states.

"Some of our performances include The Hunger Walk where we dance outside on the streets of downtown Atlanta in support of the Atlanta Food Bank," Thomas said. "We also perform for the Salvation Army, including their first United States Congress, their Christmas programs and several women's events."

The En Pointe School of Dance is located at 5334 Lawrenceville Highway in Lilburn. For more information, call the studio at 770-381-5787 or visit www.enpointe

schoolofdance.com. Praise In Motion's Web site includes a forum for dancers to interact with each other and can be found at www.praisein


Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts.

E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.