New Harmony: Learning to dance like King David

Published: Thursday, July 4 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

As for me, when I hear the word “dance,” the old Bible thumper in me sees two images.

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Not every little girl dreams of becoming a ballerina, of course. But our granddaughter, Brezlyn, isn’t one of those.

She loves to dance, loves the stage and loves being part of Brigham City’s Classical Youth Ballet.

She’s 4.

As for me, when I hear the word “dance,” the old Bible thumper in me sees two images.

One is dancing King David. The Good Book says when David brought up the ark, he “danced before the Lord with all his might.”

The other image is of Salome dancing the seductive, sultry dance that would cost John the Baptist his life.

There is not only opposition in all things, but sometimes there’s opposition within a single thing. And dancing — like music, film, literature and many other arts — has a dark side and a light side. It can be used to lift the human spirit, or used to undermine it.

I mentioned all this to Michelle Jackman, Brezlyn’s dance instructor.

It is something she herself has thought about long and often.

“When it comes to ballet,” she says, “I try to keep a level of purity. My whole goal is to instill a love for dance and storytelling.”

Jackman’s studio has a dress code. Hair that is garishly dyed isn’t permitted. Piercings can't be flaunted. Nothing racy gets past the front door.

“There’s a wholesomeness missing in so much modern dance,” she explains. “And I’m extremely concerned about these young people.”

Born in Tulsa, Okla., Jackman danced in the "Nutcracker" when she was 8. Over the years she has gravitated toward ballet because she loves classical music and she slowly grew disheartened by the direction other forms of dance were taking.

She works hard at it. And, I have to say, watching little Brezlyn behaving like a member of the Bolshoi — in full ballet get-up — was a joy.

Just as every child’s prayers and paintings are treasures, every child’s dancing is more precious to a parent and grandparent than a professional version of "Swan Lake."

The grand production that Brez was a part of filled the stage with more than 160 tiny dancers. Brezlyn was a “Majestic Kitty,” not to be confused with the “Ruby Pandas,” “Little Ponies” and “Glowing Fireflies” — as this near-sighted grandpa tended to do.

In short, it was the social event of the season.

And little Brezlyn danced with all her might.

Even nimble old King David would have been proud.

Email: jerjohn@desnews.com

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