Liturgical dancers perform for Christmas

To honor the spirit of Christmas, this season the Liturgical Dance Ensemble will be performing for both Mercyhurst and for retired citizens of the Erie community.

On Sunday, Dec. 12, the Ensemble will dance as part of the Mercyhurst Christmas Mass. They will appear alongside the Carpe Diem Chorale, which will be singing a combination of “What Child is This?” and “Child of the Poor.” This is an annual tradition that many look forward to.

“In general, I find liturgical dance in any Mass helps the congregation worship the Lord in a different way. It also adds uniqueness to a service,” said Liturgical Dance Ensemble President Christine Wilbur, a senior.

While the mechanics of the preparation and presentation of the dancing is much as it would be for any performance, liturgical dance is often different in its effects on both dancers and viewers.

“It’s more of a spiritual experience, not a performance,” said senior Claire Dorothy Hinde, who is choreographing for the Mass. “The Christmas Mass incorporates many of the college’s musicians and dancers, and it’s usually a pretty crowded Mass, which brings the Mercyhurst community all together nicely before break.”

In addition to the Christmas Mass, the Liturgical Dance Ensemble will also be performing at the Forest View Retirement Home in Erie on Monday.

Pieces to be shared at this benefit performance are set to a variety of holiday tunes. Choreographers for the show include sophomore Anastasia Welsh and seniors Heather Gorres, Sarah Mastrocola and Lindsey Smith.

“Personally, I like to see the residents’ reactions to the dancers and the dances being performed for them. I love seeing their eyes light up and the excitement that comes from them when they watch the Ensemble perform,” said Wilbur.

Much of the work that the Liturgical Dance Ensemble does is service related, and Wilbur explained that the performance for the Forest View residents is also viewed in that light.

“I definitely think it benefits the residents, particularly during the holidays, to have something different to look forward to and to have different people to talk to,” said Wilbur.

“Everyone needs a little excitement in their lives, and I am really glad that the ensemble is able to touch at least one person with holiday cheer.”