Turning Pointe’s ‘The Promise’ Moving Example of Dance Bringing Beauty to a Broken World

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Turning Pointe cutline No. 1 Sarah Morin (in foreground) is among 60 dancers are a recent rehearsal of Turning Pointe’s Christmas favorite, “The Promise.”Unlike many teens whose faces are found buried in their smartphones, dance students Hannah Beath and Sarah Morin willingly dedicate their spare time to mastering the cabriole, pirouette and other dance moves.

They are quick to say their dancing serves a higher purpose, which will be self evident when they are their young colleagues perform a Christmas favorite titled, "The Promise."

Focus is on Who dancing is for

Turning Pointe cutline No. 2 Dancer Hope Heideman displays a ribbon candy tutu, one of 250 handmade costumes for “The Promise.”"We do it for the One Who made us," said Hannah, 15, a sophomore who is home schooled. "It's great to be a part of a dance family that has a single focus. We work together as a team and not just as individuals."

"It's different dancing when it's faith centered," added Sarah, 16, a junior at Black River Public Schools in Holland. "Everything here is very focused on artistic excellence and being good at what we do and Who we're doing it for."

The "here" Sarah refers to is the Turning Pointe School of Dance, a Christian ministry that was founded in 1999 with 23 students in a room at the Vineyard Church in Holland. It was eventually expanded to rented space in the old Lincoln School in 2001.

In 2003, Turning Pointe moved its studio to its current location at 136th Street in Holland which houses three dance studios, a costume studio and its administrative offices. A satellite location in Hudsonville was opened in 2007. Its iCademy Global/Innocademy is based in Zeeland.

Includes dance missionaries

Turning Pointe cutline No. 3 Dancers practice for “The Promise.”In 2013, Turning Pointe launched Soli Deo Gloria Contemporary Ballet (glory to God alone), a professional company that consists of six dance missionaries who share the love of Jesus Christ across the state of Michigan to at-risk youth, prison inmates, churches, the elderly and with the younger dancers in the school.

Wherever its location, Turning Pointe's mission is anchored to the same foundation: To prepare dancers in body and spirit to glorify God through artistic excellence.

Turning Pointe has three divisions: children's, elective and training with different dance styles taught: classical ballet, pointe, men's, contemporary, jazz, tap and Christian hip hop.

'The Promise' on the horizon

The school produces two large-scale, ticketed ballets (10 performances annually) and three year end showcases, including its visually stunning Christmas performance titled, "The Promise" that is performed with live and recorded music. It features around 60 dancers wearing 250 handmade costumes that thread the Christmas story together using Scripture and Christmas music with classical and contemporary ballet.

Turning Pointe cutline No.  4 A 2014 performance."It's such a great mixture, you don't ever get bored," said resident choreographer Tess Sinke. "Grandparents, dads, people of all ages can enjoy it. Scripture is threaded throughout to help narrate the story to show the promise. When you're watching dance, feelings are imparted at a deeper level that brings beauty to a broken world."

Unlike some dance studios where dancers compete for position, Turning Pointe instills a difference set of priorities in its students, said Sinke. Their artistic expression conveys worship.

"In here, we dance to glorify God," said Sinke. "We start our classes with devotions and have creative worship through dance. We see a lot of spiritual growth with the students who are learning to really show Christ in everything that they do."


What: "The Promise"
When: Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.; Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
Cost: $15/students; $19/adults; at the door: $17/students; $21/adults
Call: Hope College ticket office: (616) 395-7890 or hope.edu/tickets.

Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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