For the first time, Unity Dance Troupe is set to perform “FOG,” a dance-infused telling of the biblical story of Job.
“Dreamer” will follow, illustrating the Old Testament story of Joseph.
Alexis Burleson wears many hats for Unity—founder, director, writer, choreographer and dancer—and said dancing is a way to make the audience engage with the oft-told stories.
According to Burleson, both shows are meant to use dance to create tangible images of a loving God, the caring side of God’s heart and how people approach God.
“Our goal is to bring heaven to earth. … We create excellent works of art that reveal the Father’s heart,” Burleson said. “Our role as artists and as ministers of the good news is to create a safe space for people to have an encounter with God and for our audience to leave with continual images in their mind of the goodness of God.”
According to a press release, "FOG" ventures into new creative territory for Unity as it seeks to provide a unique perspective on the story of Job’s life and sufferings through modern dance.
Burleson said “FOG” is mostly seen from the perspective of Job’s three friends, with image projections to further enhance the visual aspect of the show. Each of the three wear blindfolds throughout the performance, representing the different lenses through which Job’s friends see God.
The blindfolds, according to Burleson, are meant to make the audience consider how they see God and what they believe about God.
“My goal for people when they walk away from this show is to relate to the different lenses and see how they’re perceiving God: ‘Do I feel that God will only be pleased with me if I pray every day?’” Burleson said. “I’m just hoping that the audience comes away seeing their own lens and how they are perceiving God, the world and suffering.”
“Dreamer,” returning to Lee for the third time, follows the life of Joseph and his relationship with his brothers, who sell him into slavery. The performance highlights his successes and hardships in Egypt and the eventual forgiveness he extends to his brothers.
Senior special education major and Unity dancer Laura Mantooth said “Dreamer” is about trusting in an unseen God despite the struggles of life.
According to Burleson, the stories of Joseph and Job are evidence that God cares and plans for his people.
“Your story is not over. Your story is never over. Don’t lose heart. Maybe you can’t see through the fog of your life, but just know that your story is not over, and your fog will clear,” Burleson said. “God won’t leave you imprisoned. There’s always a story after what you think is your ending.”
Unity’s goal shines through their performances as they spread ideas and seek to provide tangible representations of God through dance.
The shows—both “FOG” and “Dreamer” back-to-back—are set for Oct. 4 through 7 at 7 p.m. with performances at 3 p.m. on Oct. 6 and 7.
The two-hour production takes place in the Dixon Center with free admission. Donations to the troupe are accepted, and upgraded seating for the show and backstage tours are available at Unity’s website.