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Ballet Magnificat! Comes to Two Harbors

Before the curtain ever rises on the stage, countless unseen people have been hard at work bringing a production to life. For Ballet Magnificat!’s September 11th performance of Deliver Us!, the behind-the-scenes work began in July with an idea.

Ballet Magnificat! is America’s premier Christian ballet company, based out of Jack-son, Mississippi, with a touring company that performs across the United States and inter-nationally. In July 2023, Hanna from Silver Bay traveled to Jackson to participate in Ballet Magnificat!’s Summer Dance Intensive. Hanna is passionate about ballet, and was excited about the opportunity to participate in a Summer Dance Intensive that offers growth in both her dance and personal life.

While at the intensive, Hanna had the privilege of viewing Deliver Us!, and an idea began to form – could she invite the company to per-form in northern Minnesota? She clicked “inquire” on their webpage, thinking that some-day Ballet Magnificat! Might call about doing a performance in her area. The call came – the company had a one day opening in the region. They asked if Hanna could fill this opening, and the date of September 11th was set. Ballet Magnificat! would come to Two Harbors.

But setting a date was only the beginning of the work. Hanna had to find a venue, and the Two Harbors High School auditorium was available that day. She worked to procure funding, keeping the planning moving forward while hoping for sponsorship. She got advice from those more experienced while balancing her own personal dreams.

Step by step the pieces fell into place. Be-cause Ballet Magnificat! tours nationally and internationally, they have the process of what it takes to host them down to a science: venue needs, housing needs, volunteer needs, and food needs. Though it seems overwhelming in scope, breaking down each piece into a simplified step makes the process attainable.

Thanks to a generous grant by Lovin’ Lake County, the opportunity to attend the ballet was made affordable. Funds were also donated by Harbor Insurance, Mary Kay, Palisade Baptist Church, and private individuals. These funds and the ticket sales helped offset the cost of renting the auditorium and personnel at the THHS.

The company arrived Sunday night, and hit the ground running Monday morning. A team of volunteers helped to unload two trailers of equipment, props, and costumes. The stage was set up, and Ballet Magnificat! began to go over what they needed for that evening’s performance. As the time neared for the performance, volunteers came to set up snacks for the company, ticket sales, and a photo op booth.

At 6 p.m. the doors opened, and attendees entered the Two Harbors High School auditorium, either finding a seat or visiting the merchandise table. At 6:30, the performance began.

Deliver Us! opened with a lyrical ballet portion showcasing the company’s grace and artistry. After a 15-minute intermission, the program continued, this time with an interweaving of two Biblical stories and figures: Moses and Jesus. The ballet is set to the music of Dream-works’ The Prince of Egypt. The score uses leitmotifs to tell the story and add depth to the music. The choreography for Deliver Us! was written by Jiri Sebastian Voborsky.

Voborsky was born and raised behind the “Iron Curtain” in Communist Czechoslovakia. Due to his life under a totalitarian regime, he knows the feeling of oppression and the sound of the cry for deliverance, much like the Israelites under Pharaoh. As a professional dancer, Voborsky was able to immigrate to America in 1993, the same year that Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The storytelling artistry of the ballet was especially noticeable in a scene in which Moses is given his Egyptian inheritance by his adoptive father, Pharaoh. Pharaoh hands Moses a rod symbolizing Moses’ new position as future ruler of Egypt. Later in the ballet, this scene is almost repeated, but in a different context. This time, Moses has fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian guard in defense of a slave, and has come to live in Midian. There, Jethro, priest of Midian, welcomes Moses into his family and gifts Moses with a rod, symbolizing Moses’ new position as shepherd. The juxtaposition of these two scenes showcases the two sides of Moses’ life through the two different rods given to him.

A local boy, Zayden, was given the opportunity to portray Pharaoh’s son in two scenes. He said of the experience, “It was a lot of fun! Everyone was really nice. I was surprised how fast everyone moves backstage.”

Deliver Us! was given a standing ovation, and the company members greeted audience members afterwards, a special opportunity for some aspiring dancers in the audience to meet a professional dancer.

Schneider, said of the performance, “I loved when just the guy and the girl danced together and he lifted her all over the stage. That’s my favorite. I’m gonna dance like that when I get older.”

Another audience member, Sophia K., said, “I was astonished by the talent and grace of the dancers. I’m incredibly grateful to have experienced such an inspiring performance.”

Thank you to the community for coming together to make a memorable evening. Many starry-eyed young dancers are hoping to one day grace the stage.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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