Bahai News - Baha'i dance troupe Dawning of a New Light performs in Decatur
Baha'i dance troupe Dawning of a New Light performs in
By VALERIE WELLS
H&R Staff Writer
DECATUR, Ill. (August 3) -- A young girl struggles
against four black-robed figures with covered faces.
She tries to break through them, reaching for her
parents. The figures block her way. In turns, they pull
her into a grotesque parody of a waltz. They knock her to
But at last she finds the strength to push them away,
one by one.
The figures represent the lure of drugs and alcohol in
a dance by Dawning of a New Light, a group of 12 Baha'i
youth from several states who performed at the Decatur
Public Library on Wednesday. The performance was
sponsored by the Baha'i Community of Decatur.
The young people, ranging in age from 15 to 20, all
took part in Baha'i dance workshops which meet all over
the country and usually only perform locally. But Anna Jo
"A.J." Jenkinscq, 15, said the participants in
the Louisville, Ky. workshop, where she's from, wanted to
go on the road.
"We sent out an e-mail and said anyone who can do
it and is willing to give up two months of their summer
is more than welcome," she said.
The group began rehearsing June 10 and hit the road
June 17. They've done 57 performances in nine states.
It's exhausting, admitted Kelsey Searlescq, 17, of
Palmer, Alaska, but well worth it.
"We want to do it for Baha'u'llah and to teach
our religion, and to let people know these social issues
can be solved if people just open up their eyes,"
said Kelsey. "It's a great bunch of people and it's
so much fun to be out here."
Kelsey and A.J. created one of the dances,
"Suicide," which portrays the difficult
relationships a young man has with his too-busy parents,
his girlfriend and friends. He finally takes his own
life, and only then do his friends and family realize the
signs were there all along.
After that dance, Kelso urged the many young people
present to pay attention when their friends mention
"Tell somebody," she said urgently.
"Whether or not you think it's a joke."
All the group's performance pieces deal with social
issues, among them domestic violence, racism and equality
of the sexes.
The teens travel with three chaperones and usually
stay at the homes of local Baha'is, said Pej Clarkcq of
"We're going to see if we can find them some
floor space for tonight," she said. "Then
tomorrow, they're off to Springfield to do a performance
About 50 people attended, many of them children and
"I thought it was something different. I liked it
a lot," said 15-year-old Stacia Dandridgecq of
Decatur, who attended with her church youth group, Youth
With A Positive Direction of Main Street Church of the
Valerie Wells can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone at (217) 421-7982
©Copyright 2000, Herald & Review
Page last updated/revised 092300
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page