For Nancy Durall, dance has a mission beyond entertainment and showcasing an artform. It is a way to share her faith and, at this time of year, the beauty of Christmas.
Her 21-year-old group, Kentucky Repertory Dance Theatre, provides an opportunity for Christian ballet lovers to experience dance and to minister through the performance of their art, she says.
On Saturday, Kentucky Rep will perform Gloria, a Christmas ballet based on the music of Christian artist Michael W. Smith.
Although the group was founded in 1990, Durall — who with her husband, Rod, leads the company — didn't join the troupe until 1992.
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Durall calls her work "dance for a purpose."
Kentucky Rep's mission is threefold, she says. First, there is ministry to the dancers themselves. The company ranges from students as young as 3 years old to experienced adults. Durall's eyes mist over when she talks about watching the previous evening's rehearsal. "We are really touching these children's lives with dance," she said.
Second, there is the ministry to the audience. "I always tell the dancers, we are not just showing off," Durall says. "We are sharing the beauty of the season."
But their ministry also extends beyond the concert hall. The company has made a tradition of using the proceeds from their performances to help local charities. Ticket sales for Gloria will benefit Step by Step of Lexington, an organization that assists young single mothers and their children.