Guest blogger: Lauren Stonestreet

I am so honored to be working with choreographer (and friend!) Lauren Stonestreet who has been pouring into this concert and into the dancers who are preparing for this Night of Hope and Reconciliation. It is a dream come true for me to have dance for several of the pieces I’ve written being featured at this concert. What Lauren and the dancers have brought to these songs has had me in tears more than once! Lauren is also debuting one of her own songs at this concert, also with dance. I am privileged to be witnessing the ‘yes’ to all the Lord is calling forth from this extremely talented sister in Christ!

- Julie

Lauren Stonestreet and violinist rehearsing
Lauren and violinist, Jon Bannan, rehearsing on stage for the first time.

When I first began collaborating with Julie, we met on a rainy day in the fall last year at Shenandoah Joes. With a hot cup of joe in our hands, we talked about our dreams, our hearts for the community and for the arts. Through this collaboration, I have been given the platform to say “yes” to the desires of my heart as a dancer and choreographer, to work with amazing musicians and create space for the discussion of hope and reconciliation.

I watched as God brought specific dancers into my life, one by one, as I began to offer modern dance classes this past fall at The Farm House. Each dancer with their own incredible background as a mover — either growing up in studios, or getting into dance later in life — we all met in the same place to learn together, and to celebrate as we saw each one grow leaps and bounds (literally) in their artistic expression and heart as dancers. I am so honored to be a part of this process.

We have witnessed some of the most beautiful happenings in the creative process for this event. Through true vulnerability and generosity in the giving of themselves to the work, and in each individual improv, we have seen something truly beautiful emerge. It is from this place that I truly believe the best work is formed and created. We have each “hovered over the deep” (Genesis 1) and allowed the Lord to “hover over the deep” in our lives, and in our hearts, to speak his light and life, and to pull out the exact choreography and movement he would have for this time. It takes a lot of humility to lay ones self down and surrender continually in the creative process. To serve one another, and to give and to receive. These are only a few things we have learned together over the past year and specifically in the past few months creating these pieces of choreography.

I am excited to share with you the gift I have been able to witness in the studio every week with each of these dancers — the generosity, the vulnerability, the humbleness, the giving and the receiving — so that you, too, may experience change, healing, and transformation in your own lives as we share what God has given to us.

This is only the beginning.

Lauren Stonestreet
Lauren Stonestreet

The Farm House dancers
Farm House Dancers (l-r): Lauren, Becca, Linnea and Sarah

Becca preparing in rehearsal
Becca preparing for a run-through in rehearsal

Linnea taking notes in-between improvs
Dancer, Linnea White, taking notes on choreography in-between improvs

Linnea and Becca improv
Dancers, Linnea and Becca, in an improv moment

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