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Everpraise Dance Company presents first performance since beginning of pandemic

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Apr 23, 2021

Members of the Everpraise Dance Company performed “We Believe” on Friday and Saturday evening at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction. Toni Milbourne

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Jefferson County resident Jayme Metzgar started the Everpraise Dance Company in 2016, as part of the Jefferson County Christian Homeschool Co-op.

The company’s annual production planned for last year, “Esther,” was just two months away from production when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit. The show had to be canceled.

“I choreograph my shows to Christian music, and I center them around a theme or story,” Metzgar said. “In a year of so much upheaval and uncertainty, when many of us were not even able to attend church services for months, I have found myself reflecting on the perseverance of the Christian faith. The Christian church has withstood upheaval and persecution for two millennia and I wanted to create a show highlighting and celebrating that.”

Rather than go ahead with last year’s performance this year, Metzgar opted to develop a simpler show. Her efforts produced a show centered on the Nicene Creed, a written statement of Christian faith dating back to the fourth century. Titled “We Believe,” the show features 13 dances, each inspired by a different statement of the ancient creed.

Throughout the show, which was performed on Friday and Saturday nights, Metzgar recited parts of the creed, to coincide with the musical selections and the dance movements.

“The show has a distinct medieval feel to it, and the playlist includes several fresh takes on ancient Christian hymns,” Metzgar said. “It is to praise the Lord through dance. My favorite part of teaching is inspiring and equipping my students to use this art form, and their talents, as a means of worship.”

Preparation for the production took on a different look and feel than productions in the past. While the Christian Homeschool program, based at Covenant Church, did not hold ballet classes this school year, due to the pandemic, Metzgar moved the ballet program to a small homeschool co-op at Fellowship Bible Church in Shenandoah Junction.

“Everything was organized at the last minute, but the majority of my students were able to follow me there,” Metzgar said, mentioning the show will feature 37 dancers, ranging in age from 5 to 18.

According to Metzgar, the show moved many audience members with its dancing and meaningful musical choices.

“With everything that has been going on in the past year, the homeschool co-op and ballet has been such a blessing to a part of,” said Laura Vocature, whose daughter, Harper, danced in the show.

“Harper has loved her weekly classes with Ms. Jayme and the ballet group,” Vocature said. “The recital was beautifully put together and I sat with tears in my eyes watching the dancers perform. Harper is already excited for ballet to start up again next year.”

Proceeds from the show will benefit Romania Reborn, an adoption and orphan care ministry founded by Metzgar.