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South Carolina Christian Dance Theater gives back to the community with Irmo show

Instead of competing to put themselves in the spotlight, local dance students dedicated their performances to illuminating the lives of others.

Irmo, SC (Ireland Kost) - One Life, an original production by South Carolina Christian Dance Theater (SCCDT), tells the story of Saint Nicolas. The final, sold-out performance was Saturday, December 1st, at Center for the Arts at Irmo High School. The show was created after the director of the studio read a book by Eric and Lana Elder, St. Nicholas, The Believer.

Author Eric Elder wrote the book with his wife, who was battling cancer. She passed before the book was released. “She really inspired this story,” stated Eric Elder. He adored her, saying that though she may have just been one person to the world, she was his world. Eric was thrilled when the studio approached him about turning their book into a production,“whirling and twirling in 3D and living color.” “This story tonight is about the power of one life,” said Cynthia Dewar, artistic director and founder of SCCDT.

Act One opens on young Nicolas (played by John Zander) and his loving father and mother (Erin Tucker and Haley Kubilus). The parents teach Nicholas the power of giving, even when it costs them their own lives. With the impact of their legacy, Nicolas (played by Owen Ragland) grows into adulthood and leaves for the Holy Land where he remembers the first Christmas. Starting with the Nativity, the entire gospel story was presented through the art of dance by members of Dance Radiance, the studio’s performing company. In a beautiful casting decision, Gabriel and Mary were danced by the same performers who danced earlier as Nicholas’ parents (Tucker and Kubilus).

Act Two follows Nicolas back to his homeland where he encounters a suffering widow (Grace Neff) and her three daughters (Anna Klausli, Allison Thumpston, and Aubrey Addy). The loving family is drowning in debt and in danger of prison in a day where debtor’s prison was still common. In a secret gesture of goodwill, Nicolas gathers coins from his inheritance, tossing them into the family’s house as a gift. When they awake, they’re overjoyed!

Local students of all ages participated, dancing in roles such as hip-hopping sailors, tip-toeing mice, glittering coins, sparkling flowers, and more. Company member Kubilus gave a moving performance as Mary, with excellent muscular control, graceful strength, and impressive flexibility. Zander too was given a golden opportunity to dance a lead role, a chance few his age get. He handled himself with cool confidence, enhancing his role with facial expressions that furthered the plot. Portraying young Nicolas with a professional, yet childlike disposition, he reminded the audience of what it looks like to suffer with grace.

During the final dance number, a love offering was taken to raise funds for Acts Metro and Christian Life Food Pantry. Acts Metro is a ministry dedicated to giving to families in Lexington / Richland School District 5, and Life Food Pantry, a ministry that provides meals for those who need them and otherwise might not eat. “Worship with us and give,” challenged Dewar as the money was collected. 100% of the love-offering went to the two organizations. Sheer joy radiated from both sides of the curtains. “People want shows like this,” Elder stated. “Do you agree?” In answer to the question, the audience cheered!

The entire cast did a magnificent job in this production; however, their talents would have been squandered if they hadn’t joined with others to form a team with the staff and crew behind the scenes that also made this production possible. Everyone who worked with the lighting, props, costumes, and more were as key to the success of the production as the artists. Look for more great performances from the Christ centered company for many years to come

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