AFAA Students Excel in Elite Dance Program

AFAA Students Excel in Elite Dance Program

“Oh magnify the Lord with me…”

Ballet Magnificat! is the world’s leading professional Christian ballet company. Every year they hold a Summer Dance Intensive in Jackson, Mississippi where students come to train. The summer dance intensive helps to prepare dancers to be able to take dance with them into the real world, no matter their future career, and use it to spread the message of the gospel. There are rigorous dance techniques that students must have mastered in order to be accepted into the program, and only around 25 students are accepted each year per level (levels 4-10, then a pre-professional level). Not only were two of our rising seniors–Sarah Lunceford and Joy Tripp–accepted into this program, but they placed very well: Joy even advanced from Level 8 into Level 9 mid-Summer, which is a high honor! We are so very proud of them, and we asked them to share about how they were blessed by this experience.

“This summer I was blessed to attend Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensive with Sarah Lunceford.  Prior to this experience I have had the opportunity to train in dance at two Christian fine arts studios. I am blessed to be continuing my dance training at Alamance Fine Arts Academy, founded in 2017 after Arts Alive closed. I have been dancing for the past ten years and I will be starting my eleventh year at Alamance Fine Arts Academy. Both Christ-centered fine arts studios have been a solid foundation for my ballet technique. Not only have they trained me in my ballet technique, but they have trained me in several other dance styles. This was helpful for me while at Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensive when we had contemporary classes.

Joy during Ballet Magnificat! rehearsal 

The most frequently asked question I receive about the summer dance intensive is, “What did you learn while you were there?” I was blessed to be able to learn so many different things during the whole month that I was there. I have always considered myself as a shorter dancer and thought that I would never look long and graceful like taller dancers. I grew in my confidence level as I learned how to present myself bigger in my dancing. Not only did I learn and grow in my ballet technique, but I also grew daily in my walk with the Lord. To me, the summer dance intensive was even more spiritually intense than the dancing instruction. The Lord revealed to me that I had been hiding something in my past that I was ashamed of telling. The Lord gave me pure freedom from my shame and He showed me His abundant forgiveness towards me.”

– Joy Tripp

“This summer I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensive with Joy Tripp, one of my fellow students. It has been a dream of mine for years, and I had even planned to go for the past two years but was never able to due to injuries.

I have danced for nine years and will soon begin my tenth year at Alamance Fine Arts Academy. Before Alamance Fine Arts Academy was founded in 2017 I had the privilege of dancing at Arts Alive for eight years. Throughout the years I have been blessed by wonderful teachers who have truly care about me, and I have been able to develop many incredible friendships with my fellow students. Those two things truly have blessed me as the constant encouragement I receive from others has helped me to be more confident in who I am in Christ and in what I can do to bring Him glory.  

Sarah during a Ballet Magnificat! performance 

Alamance Fine Arts Academy, and Arts Alive before, have been the main locations for all of my dance training. It has helped me immensely not only to have a solid foundation in ballet technique, but also to gain an extensive amount of training in several other dance styles. This was very helpful for me during my time at the Summer Dance Intensive, especially when we had contemporary classes, or were required to learn more contemporary style variations. Alamance Fine Arts Academy was also incredibly gracious to allow myself and Joy to spend extra time rehearsing this summer at the studio in preparation for summer dance intensive.

I was blessed to learn so many different things while away this summer. My confidence grew immensely in my dancing as I learned to express myself throughout the time I was away. While I saw myself improve technically in my dancing the more important improvements came as I was able to grow daily in my walk with the Lord. Throughout the four weeks there were times when I would become very discouraged and I had to learn to continually turn to God for peace, endurance, and satisfaction. He taught me to look directly to Him for help and guidance, not to seek satisfaction from the world or other people, but rather to trust the Lord and be satisfied in Him and in who He has created me to be. I also daily had to remember that God is in control and has the overall plan for my life figured out; it is my responsibility to live every day bringing glory and honor to Him.”

-Sarah Lunceford  

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