Dancers to Perform at Mass

This Thursday the Liturgical Dance Ensemble will join in the Mercyhurst celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit at 11:10 a.m. at the Christ the King Chapel.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit, the first major Mass of the year, rings in the spiritual beginning of the academic year. As is the annual tradition, the dancers will join with the Mercyhurst choir as part of the celebration.

The Liturgical Dance Ensemble is a Recognized Student Club/Organization within the Dance Department at Mercyhurst. This student directed ensemble works to provide leadership, service and performance opportunities to enhance the enrichment of spiritual life on campus and in the community.

Led this year by senior and student director Christine Wilbur and faculty adviser C. Noelle Partusch, the Liturgical Dance Ensemble is beginning its year of service and spiritual outreach with this campus mass.

Throughout the year, members of the Liturgical Dance Ensemble perform at several different Mercyhurst masses and community religious services, at holiday presentations at retirement homes, and perform other campus and community outreach.

Moreover, the Ensemble has attended Project Dance, a spiritual gathering of dance groups from around the world, for the past several years in such locations as New York City and Atlanta. This coming October, members of the Ensemble will travel to Sydney, Australia for the Project Dance event.

Senior Lindsey Smith, who acts as Vice President for the Ensemble, choreographed the dance that will be presented at the Mass.

Smith’s lyrical and sinuous movements match well with the smooth and uplifting sounds of the musical selection, “If Ye Love Me, Keep My Commandments,” that will be sung by the choir.

Smith said of liturgical dance, “As I have discovered the interconnectedness of dance and religion, I realize the magnitude of its importance—not only for the Christian tradition, but for many traditions; not only for our culture, but for many cultures.

“Dance is a universal language that brings people together to share in life’s sorrows and in life’s joys. When used in a liturgical setting, it can be one of the most powerful ways to express worship,” she said.

Wilbur said of the upcoming mass performance, “I think that the Mass of the Holy Spirit is a great way for the Church to start the year off in a spiritual way. Using dance with the choir accentuates the love for God, and that use of dance shows how there are different ways to express one’s faith.”

“Mass of the Holy Spirit is a time to focus and dedicate the school year to God. What better way to do that than for dancers, singers, and musicians to give back their talent to God?” said Smith.