By Jill Whitley | firstname.lastname@example.org
The dancers of Ballet Magnificat regularly spin and leap across the greatest stages in the world.
The Mississippi-based professional Christian ballet company has toured Europe, Asia, and South America. In the coming months, they will share their talent and testimony with audiences in Africa and Israel.
But on Friday, December 6th, Ballet Magnificat will take the stage at the Wadsworth Auditorium to perform Light Has Come: The Angels’ Story, one of the company’s many original productions.
The show is a fundraiser for Coweta Pregnancy Services, a non-profit, faith-based resource center for women or couples facing an unexpected pregnancy. They offer free, confidential pregnancy testing and limited ultrasounds to rule out ectopic or non-viable pregnancies.
They also offer material support through an “Earn While you Learn” series of prenatal and parenting classes: Parents who attend the classes consistently are awarded essential baby items like cribs or car seats.
Center Director Cindy Coggin-Hughes says Coweta Pregnancy Services is dependent on volunteers, personal donations, the generosity of local churches, and fundraising events like the upcoming ballet to keep its ministry running. Fortunately, the company is more than happy to help:
“We’ve danced in London and Paris, but we love coming to small towns. We all have the same dreams and the same love for our families, for humanity. We go anywhere we’re invited. We hope to bless the audience members, hopefully for eternity” said Jiri Voborsky, the company’s Creative Director and Choreographer.
“Benefitting the pregnancy center and the work they do is an amazing bonus on top of that. It’s a win-win situation.”
Viborski, who has been with Ballet Magnificat since 1993, says that Light Has Come is his favorite creation to date: “It tells the story of Jesus from the angels’ perspective. We see the birth of Christ, his life, his death, then the resurrection, and suddenly, he’s back.”
Voborski claims that the Ballet Magnificat’s faith-based mission isn’t the only thing that makes them unique– unlike most companies, they travel without a crew. “Each dancer also plays another valuable role in the production,” he explains. “Some sew costumes, others paint sets. We set up before the performance and take things down when we’re done.”
He admits the process is hard on their bodies, but the dancers consider it an honor. “Everyone uses their unique talents to make the show what it is, just like we use our bodies to spread the gospel. All the pain and the sweat is worth it.”
Another difference between Ballet Magnificat’s productions and more traditional ballets, Viborski emphasizes, is their universal appeal. “Nothing is abstract or hard to understand,” Viborski says. “It’s just as much for men as well as for women and kids– you don’t need a background in dance to understand it.”
Viborski especially encourages women to bring their husbands. “So many times men feel like they have nothing to gain from going to the ballet. In this situation, the show is for everyone,” he says. “There will be no guys in tights. I promise.”
To purchase ballet tickets or inquire about donation or volunteer opportunities, please visit Coweta Pregnancy Services’ website at www.coweta-ps.org.