Praise! was the main focus of the showing of “Dance His High Praise,” which, in its eighth production, was held Nov. 19 in T.H. Harris Auditorium on the campus of Grambling State University.
An audience of approximately 100-plus was in attendance. The show opened up with Dr. Fredrick L. Pinkney and the Strong Tower Gospel Chorale doing their rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” written by James Weldon Johnson. The show went up and up from there in some of the most exciting and beautiful songs and dances that could be created and expressed through voice and movement.
“This production was started by Dianne Maroney, artistic director of the Orchesis Dance Company at Grambling State University,” said Dr. Melva Williams from Shreveport, a GSU alumna. She graduated in 1999 with her master’s in mass communication and also worked with the World Famed Tiger Marching Band as an announcer.
“Before it was just a spring concert put on every year and she was inspired by college students and the need of spirituality in the community.”
The community was definitely there and in attendance to see one praise-filled show.
The Orchesis had their share of the stage, as well as the Christian Dance Center, GSU’s University Choir, the Louisiana Dance Theatre, the Strong Tower Gospel Chorale and the Twin City Ballet joined in the production.
The viewing was free so money was not needed.
“Just seeing the people take away a sense of upliftment and seeing their spirits change was great enough,” Williams said. “Knowing that the end of the semester is coming for students, it is very important and well needed.
“All of the dance schools included in the show, Dianne taught. She has been in this about 30 years and done most of the choreography.” Maroney-Grigsby also studied under Alvin Ailey and taught in Brazil and Japan.
As the show came to an end thoughts came to mind about will there ever be another show to take place came front and center.
The next show will be in April 30 at the Strand Theater in Shreveport, Louisiana. The sponsor there will be Vinson Williams, who is also a GSU alumnus.
“Vinson also gives out a $2,000 scholarship to a lucky student who would like to come and study dance under Dianne Maroney,” Williams said.
When asked how she wants people to feel when they attend a production such as this one, Dr. Williams said, “Encouraged. That no matter where you are, what you are going through, what life is handing you, no matter what is happening way back home or what your roommate maybe doing — know that God is still in control and that this is the time to grow and make mistakes.
“But come to a show and take two or three hours of your time to let go and let God take control. Let him have his way and praise him!”