Kathy Thibodeaux created a stir in the dance world at the 1982 International Ballet Competition when she insisted on dancing to a worship song: "We Shall Behold Him." It was her final performance at the competition. Her directors did not want her to offend judges—some of them from communist countries—with the song's religious lyrics.
But the music and the silver medal Thibodeaux won at that competition have become part of her testimony of worship in dance.
OPPOSITES THAT ATTRACT
Thibodeaux followed the Lord in 1979 after meeting her future husband, Keith, a Christian rocker with the band David and the Giants who starred as a child as Little Ricky on television's I Love Lucy. She became a Christian at age 25, and her growing faith changed her perception of dance: it was no longer a way to promote herself but a gift to be used for God's glory.
Four years later, Thibodeaux left Ballet Mississippi. As a principal dancer, she was just coming into her physical peak—and she left to start a Christian ballet company: Ballet Magnificat!, its name taken from Mary's song in Luke 1:46ff.
Christian and ballet are rarely found in the same sentence. But Thibodeaux and a small group of dancers fused those concepts on stage. Dancers in her former company told her it would never work. "You'll never get dancers," they said.
Some church leaders didn't understand, either. She would have to quit ballet, she was told: Christians don't dance. "Dance and faith don't go together." But audiences saw strength and grace, leaping and spinning before the Lord.
Now, says Thibodeaux, a formerly wary church population is slowly becoming more interested in dance. More and more dance ministries are starting throughout the country. "Dance is from ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more