Friday, February 24, 2017

A Time To Dance

Among all of the favorite ballet studios of mine, that I have had the privilege of teaching at while on tour all around the country with Ballet Magnificat, such as Leap of Faith (OH), Christ In The Arts (TX) , Texas Youth Ballet Conservatory, as well as Mercy Steps School of Dance and North Florida Ballet Theater which I have only just recently discovered this past month in Florida; I have been meaning for quite some time, to introduce to you guys THIS OTHER fantastic, newly discovered studio that I got to teach at back in October. 

The fantastic studio I'm referring to is called A Time To Dance. This studio located in Montrose, CO provides a fun, friendly, welcoming environment that fosters learning and growth for all students enrolled in the recreational dance classes there. I had such a blast teaching at A Time To Dance. I noticed the sweet environment right off the bat, and discovered all the students to be so enthusiastic, and quite a delight to work with and teach! I also had the wonderful pleasure of getting to know Miss Catherine a little, the founder and director of A Time To Dance. And she even agreed to let me interview her about her life, her studio, and her thoughts on hosting a Ballet Magnificat dance workshop. Check it out below! 


Lillian: Tell me about yourself?

Catherine: My dance background began when I was 16 months old, when I was placed in my first dance class. My grandmother, Margie Myrick, was my dance teacher and owner and originator of Myrick School of Dance in Roanoke Rapids, NC. I loved dancing and danced all through my grade school years.  During that time I attended many dance conventions, dance competitions, and I assisted with dance at Myrick School of Dance. I continued my dance education at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where I majored in Theater and minored in Dance. After graduation, I returned to Myrick School of Dance and taught with my grandmother and my aunt, Jeane Myrick Newsome. My husband, children and I moved away from NC in Spring of 1998, to Meridian, Id.  I was blessed to be given a job as a dance teacher at Backstage Dance, where I taught classes in two different cities. In 2000, we moved to Montrose, CO. Again I was blessed with a dance teaching job. The studio I was working at had several events that led me to believing I was no longer needed there.  I was going to just babysit a friend’s child and be a mom, for a change. 

Lillian: How did you come to be the owner of 'A Time To Dance' in Montrose, CO?

Catherine: The opportunity presented itself for me to open the studio in 2003. As I had mentioned, I felt like the studio, where I was employed no longer needed me and I was going to do other things. Well, God had other plans for me. I was babysitting a friend’s child when I was led to pull into a parking lot and look at a possible studio space.  I had not been in the market to open a studio, but felt compelled to look at this. Through the windows, I could see so much potential, when in reality, it was a mess. I got extremely excited! It looked like it could be similar to the studio I grew up in, with some work… Let me step back a bit...When I married my husband, I told him I could live anywhere, as long as I could try to start a studio and if it could break even, I could continue. My husband, Tim, and I got with the landlord and looked at the location. The owner said he could have it cleaned and ready for business in 4 months. My husband could see in my eyes, I didn’t want to wait that long. My husband, my family, friends, and I worked for 2 weeks straight, to get the studio ready for registration. I prayed that if this was meant to be that God would allow it. Tim asked me how many students I thought I needed to make it break even? I said 40. I prayed that God would give me those 40 students. After my final day of walk-in registration, Tim asked how many students I had registered? 41! And the rest is history… God continues to bless me with the opportunity to teach my passion to others. I chose to name it A Time To Dance, from Ecclesiastes 3:4. 

Lillian: Wow, God is SO FAITHFUL! How long has your studio been in business?

Catherine: The studio has been in business going on 13 years, since 2003.

Lillian: What are some of your favorite things about directing and owning your business and what are some of the challenges?

Catherine: I love owning my own studio because I love to bring the joy of dance to anyone who wants to dance. Even those who claim to have “2 left feet”. If they want to dance, I welcome them! I find it challenging to have to deal with the financial aspect of running a studio. I am not a numbers person and would prefer not to deal with it, if that were an option.

Lillian: What can parents and their children as students expect to get out of taking dance classes at 'A Time To Dance'?

Catherine: 'Dance For The Fun Of It' is our motto. We know that many dancers in our area have other activities that they participate in. We hope that they find dance fun and fulfilling. A student here can be a recreational dancer or one who really wants to be pushed in class. They will be taught at a steady pace and will receive individual instruction as needed. We teach technique and press harder with those more serious dancers, but understand that not everyone wants to be a prima ballerina. Students can expect to be able to feel at home at A Time To Dance. Our goal is to have every student love being at the studio and enjoying dance! We are a family friendly studio, monitoring our music and dance moves to make sure that nothing is offensive or inappropriate. We are also very proud to say we have such sweet, friendly dancers that are always ready to welcome a new face. 

Lillian: What kind of dance classes does your studio provide? 

Catherine: Our studio teaches dancers as young as 2 up through adults. Most of our students are 4-18, though we do have adult students. We have many varieties of dance styles. Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop Style (leaving out the inappropriate moves that can often be associated with Hip Hop) Tap, Clogging, Acrobatics and Musical Theater.

Lillian: What performance opportunities are offered to your students?

Catherine: A Time To Dance has a year-end recital, in May. It is a two-day performance opportunity. We also have a Winter Showcase, in January, which is an evening event. Dancers also are offered the opportunity to perform at any events the studio is invited to. Dancers have performed at Assisted Living facilities, youth events and schools in the area, as well as local festivals. We do have a small group of competitive dancers who compete several times a year, usually in Denver or Colorado Springs. 

Lillian: Being that you sponsored our Christian ballet company, Ballet Magnificat, are you a believer yourself? If so, how does your faith influence the way you run your business?

Catherine: My faith influences my choices in dress code, music, dance moves and costume styles, causing censoring of all aspects.

Lillian: Do you consider your studio as being a Christian based studio?

Catherine: We do not promote A Time To Dance as a Christian Dance Studio, however when students and parents are around for any length of time, they do get the sense that we are.

Lillian: What do you desire for students enrolled at your studio to learn or take away?

Catherine: I would like students, enrolled at A Time To Dance, to take away from their experience, a love of dance, a good knowledge of dance, that they are in a safe place where you can make mistakes and not be judged, and that we care.

Lillian: How did you first hear about Ballet Magnificat?

Catherine: I have seen Ballet Magnificat performances at our local venue and was introduced to the idea of having the workshops at A Time To Dance by Abbey Burkholder, a student at A Time To Dance, who was blessed to be accepted for the summer intensive, and attend at Ballet Magnificat.

Lillian: How was your experience hosting a Ballet Magnificat mini-workshop at your studio?

Catherine: The Ballet Magnificat workshops were a wonderful way of giving our dancers a chance to experience a higher level of dance education and to give them inspiration to work hard in their dance. For some, it was a realization that there are Christian dance companies out there, where they can further their dance education and excel, in a safe, Christian, environment. The Ballet Magnificat company members were wonderful with my students. They were kind and compassionate when making corrections. They were professional and fun. We loved having them at the studio and hope to have them back in the future. 

Ballet Magnificat Alpha Member, Sarah Hill teaching ballet class
at A Time To Dance, Montrose CO


Special Thanks To Miss Catherine Frates for taking the time to answer all my questions!
Thanks for Reading!
Leave a comment to let me know you did! And if you are a teacher or student,
Why don't you tell us a little bit about your dance studio!? 

Visit>>> HERE to read about my trip with Ballet Magnificat Alpha to Colorado and more!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An Identity Lost Then Found


“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”

~ Luke 8:39

Presenting with excitement, I introduce to you Testimony Tuesdays!!! A testimony by definition is: a formal written or spoken statement, a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience. The Bible commands us in numerous places to bring praise, glory, and honor to our God by proclaiming, declaring, and telling about His marvelous works to others. That is the purpose and heart behind this installment for my Tuesday posts. Each Tuesday (more or less), a testimony will be shared here involving the recounting of salvation, redemption, overcoming, and/or healing just to name a few; A story that brings glory to our God and in which we might be encouraged, spurred on, and challenged with at the same time.The stories that will be shared will either be of my own personal experiences, excerpts from books, testimonies I find via youtube or other media sources, as well as YOURS! I would love to know and give you the opportunity to share here with us a testimony of your own, of whatever fashion that involves the Lord doing a transforming work in your life. Just email me your testimony and I will see what I can do about posting it on a future Tuesday! You may choose to have your name be known or anonymous. I look forward to hearing from you!


Recently I have discovered this ministry called Anchored North. They are the ones responsible for creating the video shared below. The people of Anchored North have a genuine love for Jesus and making him known and they have chosen the world wide web as their mission field. They publish videos of people sharing conversion testimonies and they desire that these videos are used as tools for evangelism and sharing the gospel. You can find all their videos at their website along with other helpful resources. You can also check them out on Youtube HERE where you can find a great video of them sharing in their own words, an explanation of what they are all about! 

Please watch the amazing testimony below of a life changed by Jesus; an identity lost then found. Most people at some point go through a period of struggling to find their identity. Not excluding myself, I have previously shared my struggle with identity HERE. But today I want to share with you the story of Becket. I think you will be encouraged. Enjoy!

*Becket spent over 25 years pursuing the desires we all desperately want as human beings: relationships, love, intimacy, support, and affirmation. Undeniably, these desires had a unique grip on his heart that was incomparable to any other desire. They carried with them emotions that vastly impacted his will, intentions, and actions and became a unique part of his identity.The problem with this is that he was not created to have an identity rooted in sexual orientation or human relationships. No one is. We were created to have an identity rooted in God. If that's off, all of our desires are off and we find ourselves chasing things that we were never supposed to pursue. Homosexual relationships are one of those things. It stands contrary to God's moral will for mankind. But we don't have to stand as enemies of God. Through Jesus Christ, there is hope for new life. There is hope for salvation. 
 Regardless of what you have done in your life, redemption is provided to you through Jesus Christ. Just like Becket, even if you have found your identity in worthless things, God died for you. He can make you a new creation and save you from a terrible fate if you call out to Him. If you are broken over your sin, call out to God in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ that He will redeem you. For more information about receiving Christ's redemption in your life, visit

Thanks for stopping by!
Can you relate? How does Becket's testimony speaks to you?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love, and Hearts, and Candy, Oh My!

What did you do in celebration of Valentines Day?

I had some free time again this year to make each of my fellow company members a homemade Valentines Day card! I know Valentines Day is a frivolous holiday enduring solely by its commercialism, but there is something in me that just loves it, and making these cards for my friends has become a bit of a tradition. Last year's cards can be viewed here.

 I am really proud of the outcome of my valentines cards this year, and my friends enjoyed them too! Below are some snapshots of what each one looked like. I wonder if anyone can guess which ones I gave to who!? ^_^

~ Happy Valentines  Day! ~

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Friday, February 10, 2017

20 Truths to Remember For Audition Season

Hello my fellow ballerinas, audition season is upon us, and that is precisely the topic of discussion for today! Audition season is an exciting one. It can be an adventurous time for young dancers. Over the course of the next couple of months, many dancers will be traveling all around the country visiting various cities or even to other countries, to audition for ballet companies; perhaps dream ballet companies! Or maybe, many of you are just auditioning for summer programs this year?! If you are anything like I was, you might even have set up for yourself a whole audition tour, auditioning to SEVERAL places, determined to land a spot somewhere, ANYWHERE professional! There are so many options to choose from out there in the dance world these days, secular or Christian! I assure you, If you are a hard worker and want to dance, and don't care where, then there is a spot waiting out there for you somewhere, granting that it's God's will for you! Discovering just exactly where your niche will be in the dance world is part of the excitement!  

The opportunity to travel and explore what the dance world has to offer can be very exciting, but I do also know that the auditioning process isn't always ALL fun or easy. I know from experience that it can be uncomfortable; a time of uncertainty and painful self-examination. Auditions can be stressful as one strives to prove oneself; dancing around in the midst of strangers, giving your all in the areas of technique and artistry, all while trying not to cave in under the pressure of comparison and competition. AND THEN, when the actual auditioning is all said and done, THEN begins 'the waiting period' which for some dancers is the most difficult part of all! Things can seem to come to a stand still, your future hanging in the balance as you wait to hear back from artistic directors, checking your mail every day in hopes of receiving a letter of acceptance. Every dancer goes through this. 

It's character building at it's finest.

Hang in there, keep the hope, and persevere! Results will find you in God's good timing! Though I regret not one audition experience I underwent from my past, whether good or bad, I'm glad those auditioning days are behind me! Below are a few of my favorite scripture verses; Ones that helped me survive audition season. Check them out!


  • Hebrews 6:19  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

  • Philippians 4:16 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

  • Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

  • Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

  • James 1:3-4 the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

  • Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.


  • Psalm 31:24 Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

  • Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

  • 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

  • Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  • Jeremiah 17:7-8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

  • Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

  • Matthew 6:25-34 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


  • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

  • Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

  • Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:9 no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind has conceived what things God has prepared for those who love him

  • Psalm 84:10 "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."

  • Lamentations 3:24"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!".

 I hope you've found encouragement from the deep truths contained in these verses, and perhaps there are one or two of them that you can hold onto to get you through your audition season, or ANY SEASON for that matter! God Bless!

Do you have any questions about auditioning you'd like to ask me?
What are your favorite dance companies?
What other topic are you interested in reading about? 
Thanks for stopping by!
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hand Lettering and Illustration Challenge

I am excited to share with you my 30-day hand lettering and illustration challenge for this month! I know we are already a week into the month of February and that I am sharing this with you a little late as tour life has been keeping me rather busy, but it is not too late to jump in and join me in the fun and in the challenge of committing to sketch or hand letter something at least once every day. Your creations don't all have to be elaborate masterpieces if you don't want, but just enough to get the creative juices flowing. This is an attempt to maintain and further cultivate creativity on a daily basis. Each month on my blog I will feature new daily creative prompts to give us a little inspiration for us to accomplish. I would love it for you to share in the comments below your experiences with this challenge and any thoughts. Also, hashtag/link your creations on Instagram or Facebook to #oqpied or @oqpiedoptimist and I will periodically share mine on my Instagram if you would like to follow my creative journey! So join me, and Happy Creating!


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Monday, February 6, 2017

Sunshine in My Pocket and Jesus in My Heart

We have been on the tour in Florida for almost a week now and though not very long, I am looking forward to returning back to Jackson MS for some good R&R. This past week has been packed with performances and especially workshops. Today on this drive day heading home, is one of the first times I find myself with some free time, so I thought I'd use it to write a blog entry and fill you all in on this past week's happenings!

Ballet Magnificat Alpha's first destination was Cape Coral, Florida. We arrived there Wednesday. When we arrived the first thought that went through my mind was "Where is the coral!?" Our sponsor informed me that most of the coral that Cape Coral is named after is found in the ground. ^_^ Even though there was no visible coral, I thought it was a beautiful place! When we got off the bus, we were greeted by the warm shining sun and the friendly smiling faces of the people from Maranatha School of Dance & the Arts. I ended up having the wonderful opportunity of staying with the owners of Maranatha Dance, Amy and Andrew, who were also our sponsors for this location. They were absolutely the sweetest!  I SO enjoyed getting to know them and hearing about their heart for their school. During our time in Cape Coral, we held a dance workshop at Maranatha Dance. I taught a conditioning class and also participated in a Question and Answer session with the students. The students were fantastic. The workshop went very well.

Ballet Magnificat workshop ballet class at the Maranatha School of Dance and the Arts

Conditioning Class

 dancers working on their stretching

us with the sweet students

Striking a pose!

On Thursday we had a performance not far from Cape Coral in the Fort Myers area at the Village Church located at the Shell Point Island Retirement Community. Let just talk about this retirement community for a moment. It has its OWN island! It has its OWN dolphins and manatees! It is beautiful! It was AMAZING! I can only pray that God will give my parents the opportunity to retire at some place as nice as this! Yup.

Our time on the island was so fun and performing for the elderly at the Village Church was so special.

Shell Point Island Retirement Community; The flat hexagon shaped building is the church where we performed at
 image source

Pictured here is our own Josh Wise. He danced the role of Pharaoh; The first time in history it has been danced by someone other than the legendary John Vandervelde. What an honor! Josh did a great job, and standing next to him is a local volunteer, Josh's first 'Pharoah's son/dead boy actor'  ^_^

A few of us with our sponsor's adorable children after our performance!

On Friday, Mercy Steps School of Dance and the North Florida Ballet Theater worked together to bring us in for a performance at The Springs Church in Jacksonville. All these people were so hospitable and nice! We had so much help from them with unloading our trailer. I barely lifted a finger, and they were so eager to assist us with anything we needed! It was a huge blessing! The Mercy Steps School of Dance had a group of their dancers perform a piece before us to open the night, and it was jaw-droppingly-amazing! I was thoroughly impressed with their physicality and artistry! Christian dance enthusiasts need to check these people out!

The show went well! God was exalted high that night through Mercy Steps as well as through our presentation of The Arrival and Deliver Us. The weekend to follow we kept very busy! We held several different dance workshops around Jacksonville at three specific locations: Mercy Steps School of Dance, North Florida Ballet Theater, and Village Dance Center. And in all of our free time we enjoyed fellowshipping with these Jesus-loving, like-minded people! Teaching beginner ballet is my specialty which I did a fair amount of, but I also got to lead a creative worship class too, which is always fun! Hopefully, the students in my creative worship class left loving Jesus more than they did coming in!

My group of ballet beginners at North Florida Ballet Theater

Meeting new people on tour... the BEST PART of tour!

The Alpha Company visiting with Hannah, former Trainee with Ballet Magnificat and current teacher
at Village Dance Center

Reunited with some good friends in Jacksonville, on Super Bowl Sunday!

Last photos snapped; saying goodbye to our friends at NFBT and Mercy Steps before our departure.

Being silly!

We had a FANTASTIC time on this Florida tour! Great relationships were made horizontally, and hopefully relationships deepened vertically. We are headed to Knoxville, TN this coming weekend for a performance of The Arrival and Deliver Us on Saturday! Click Here for Tickets! And if you did not get a chance to catch us in Cape Coral or Jacksonville, we will be returning to Florida at the end of the month, performing in Lakeland on the 24th; tickets HERE!

Thanks for all your prayers and support!
&  for reading my blog!
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Until next time, Peace and Blessings in Christ Jesus!

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