Last weekend Zoe’s Feet Dance Ministry hosted its annual dance show, Confessions. This year’s show, entitled “Just Be” after Psalm 46:10, included 20 pieces from a wide variety of genres ranging from theatre dance to modern to hip-hop.
According to junior Kayla Solstad, show coordinator for Confessions, the goal of “Just Be” was to give both the dancers and the audience a time and place to step away from the rush of daily routine to be still in God’s presence. A member of Zoe’s Feet since her freshman year, Solstad said, “It can be so easy to go through our daily lives … without pausing to realize what God has in store for us in the present.” For Solstad, dance is a natural movement that allows her to “express what words cannot express.”
Confessions is the most highly anticipated Zoe’s Feet performance of the year, bringing together dancers of all backgrounds to worship through dance. This year’s performance featured a particularly wide variety of dance styles. Each of the dances had a “Just Be” word associated with it, such as “redeemed” or “joyful,” and sought to stimulate meditation on these particular aspects of the human experience. The songs for each piece were chosen by the choreographers in hopes of drawing the audience to reflect upon the battle between the motions of daily life and the art of being still and attuned to the moment.
Confessions is unique because it offers anyone on campus the opportunity to choreograph or perform a dance. The dance groups this year displayed a wide range of past dance experience, and many Zoe’s Feet alumni returned to participate.
Sophomore Rachel Johnson said, “Some of us have come from backgrounds in which dance has involved pressure and critique. This is such a welcoming place to experience it in a new way!” Johnson danced for 11 years prior to coming to Wheaton, and this year marked her second year dancing for Confessions.
Freshman Tramaine Kaleebu is not a member of Zoe’s Feet, but she was actively involved in this year’s production as both a dancer and choreographer. “In high school, step was my thing; it is what people knew me for,” she said. “It is the thing that comes most naturally to me after breathing.”
“You aren’t supposed to be thinking. We dance for one audience and that’s God,” Kaleebu said.
Kaleebu was challenged with the task of choreographing a dance as a freshman. The title “Just Be” was particularly significant to her because of the historical implications of step dancing and the diversity of her dance group itself. She said there is clearly a racial line when it comes to step dancing. “The roots of step dance are in the most painful parts of American history, but it’s a beautiful thing. We work as a unit and work together. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. That’s why I really liked the name ‘Just Be One,’” Kaleebu said.
“Just Be” featured nearly 100 dancers and covered many different styles of dance to accomplish the task of including the audience in meditation and spiritual stillness. The significance of the diversity in this performance comes at a time of great tensions between acknowledging and embracing diversity on campus. Solstad said that the dancers were eager to embrace the task of relating to each individual audience member and “allow them (the audience) to step in …tand journey with the dancers.”