“Colorado Springs North Stake Dance Festival,” New Era, Aug. 2011, 37
One of my favorite stories is when Nephi is asked to build a ship so his family can cross the sea. Although Nephi had complete faith, his brothers had a hard time believing this was possible; however, when it was finished, he and his family received the blessings of living in the promised land. I thought of this story when more than 350 youth in the Colorado Springs North Stake were asked to participate in a dance festival last May.
There were weekly rehearsals split into three age groups, each performing a different set of dances. “The most difficult thing for me to learn was the Tininkling [a traditional dance from the Philippines] because of the poles,” says Brendyn Baker, a 13-year-old deacon in the Palmer Divide Ward. Emery Reid, a Beehive, adds, “The hardest thing about the dance festival was getting down the beat and memorizing the steps.”
We persevered and kept practicing and preparing. “When it was frustrating, the thought of how it would be when it was all done kept me going,” says Samantha Hacker, a Beehive in the Briargate Ward. Others had to sacrifice time and school functions to attend weekly practices. Corinne Bullock of the Gleneagle Ward was working a lot, “so sometimes I had to come straight from work,” she says. David Skalla, a teacher in the Palmer Divide Ward, had to skip a swim meet for the long dress rehearsal.
Nearly 4,000 people attended the three performances given at a local high school on two evenings in May. When the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed, excitement began to build as we realized the fulfillment of the blessing of unity that our stake president promised when we began preparing for the festival.
Just as Nephi and his family received blessings after the ship was constructed, we feel the blessings received from being in the dance festival. Austin Bradley, a teacher in the Monument Ward, speaks for many. He says, “I made a lot of friendships at the dance festival, and it’s a lot easier to be at stake dances now because I know a lot of people.”