Haitian dance troupe to perform at Ahwatukee church benefit concert - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Arts & Life

Haitian dance troupe to perform at Ahwatukee church benefit concert

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Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:29 pm, Thu Jun 2, 2011.

Mountain View Lutheran Church is gearing up for a concert to benefit St. Joseph's Home for Boys in Haiti and the Resurrection Dance Theater on April 1.

The Resurrection Dance Theater began in 1985, when Michael Geilenfeld started the St. Joseph's Home for Boys with five youngsters off the streets of Port Au Prince and $1,000.

In hopes of creating a cohesive environment, in addition to giving the boys shelter, Geilenfeld had the boys act out plays and dance together, allowing them to express their feelings and tell their stories through dance. Thus began the Resurrection Dance Theater within the home's walls.

Before the earthquake hit Port Au Prince last year and destroyed the home, it had grown to house 20 boys and included guest lodging, a chapel and an art center.

"Haiti has been hit so hard," said Jennifer Sheldon, music director at Mountain View Lutheran Church.

"They are so beautiful and their faces are so strong, you can't help being touched," Sheldon said of the dance theater.

The concert will be at the church, where ticket proceeds will benefit the music department and where freewill offerings can be collected during the performance.

Those offerings will go toward St. Joseph's effort in rebuilding the destroyed home for boys.

Mike Downey, who is coordinating the church's concert series, said the concert is exciting because it's a little different.

"It's easier to understand their situation when you actually meet the people who live there," Downey said of the dance theater.

Mountain View Lutheran Church is well known for its outreach and missions on campus.

Sheldon, who has been the music director for nearly five years, said they have the same feeling of outreach musically, and the kids she knows are excited by the kind of outreach they can participate in.

The church's last concert of the series featured the African Children's Choir, and was a big success all around.

"It took your breath away, even for them to be able to perform it was so moving," Sheldon said, "I am thinking this (year) will be the same type of experience, if you come, you'll just have to smile."

Downey added that they've had positive response to the concert series.

"(It) generates a lot of anticipation of what the next talent is we'll bring in," he added. "It's a window to their culture."

Tickets for the Resurrection Dance Theater concert are $5 per person or $15 for a family of three or more.

Mountain View Lutheran Church is at 11002 S. 48th St. in Ahwatukee Foothills.

For more information about the concert, call (480) 893-2579. For more information about the St. Joseph's Home for Boys and the Resurrection Dance Theater, visit www.heartswithhaiti.org.

• Diana Martinez is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.

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