AYO members prepare for performance

CU's AYO Dance Company shares journey of faith during fall show

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer


Cedarville University’s AYO Dance Company will perform its fall show, “Crusade: A Journey Through Joy and Pain,” at the Cedarville Opera House Nov. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $3 at the door, or at a table in the Stevens Student Center Nov. 13-17 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

The subject was chosen after previous audiences suggested integrating a theme into AYO’s shows. “Crusade” tells the story of living with both trials and blessings and the peace that can come from God in both.

“The showcase has a war and peace theme to it,” said Kaitlyn Ring, a junior business management major from Woodland, Maine, who has danced with AYO for two years. “The dances I'm in are about internal and spiritual struggles, whether that's self-image, fighting the lies of the devil or remembering to keep breathing. They have really resonated with me as battles I've been fighting.”

“Many people face wars in many different ways, but through God's strength we can find peace and rest in him,” said Serafina Strangis, AYO’s vice president, a sophomore Christian education major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kaela Indyk, junior psychology major from Flemington, New Jersey, and president of AYO Dance Company, sees AYO dancing as a form of worship.

“We have fun while doing what we love, but ultimately serving our creator,” she said. “Dance expresses all emotions. There are moments of joy, as dance is purely fun, but it can also reveal pain, whether that be through facial expressions, movements, song or emotion. Dance is able to encompass all emotions in any style, which is truly beautiful to see.”

Kelsey DePree, a senior multi-age vocal music education major from Midland, Michigan, has been with AYO her entire time at Cedarville.

“During the crusades, people fought for what they believed was right,” said DePree. “As a dancer, it is sometimes hard to explain the connection between dance and worship. Nonetheless, dancing is one of the primary ways I worship God, without whom I have no reason to dance. Crusade for me is fighting to show that dance, no matter the style, not only points us back to God, through the variety and creativity, but also honors and glorifies him.”

“The theme ‘Crusade’ holds a lot of meaning to me,” said Samie Scanlan, an early childhood education sophomore from San Diego, California, who has been involved in AYO for almost two years. “My favorite way we address conflict is that we will close out the show with the gospel. That is so important to me to remember that the only true way that we overcome these conflicts in life is through the power of Jesus Christ. The fact that I get to combine dance with sharing this hope is absolutely incredible.”

The show will feature 80 dancers in a variety of styles of dance including jazz, hip-hop, tap and contemporary. Fifteen different choreographers took part in the show.

“I hope that audience members are able to walk away from the show with a sense of joy knowing that God is a God of peace,” said Indyk. “That idea is evident throughout many of our dances. I hope that audience members can see what God has done in the lives of our dancers and what he can do in their lives as well. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but without a doubt you'll enjoy the show!”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.