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Mercyhurst Liturgical Dancers to perform in England

Monday, February 6, 2017

Members of the Liturgical Dance Ensemble at Mercyhurst University are headed to Norwich, England, just outside of London, to perform during spring break March 4-11.  

The journey, under the auspices of the Sacred Dance Guild, will showcase the Mercyhurst dancers in an hour-long concert at West Acre Theatre on March 7, and also during a worship service at St. James the Great Church in Castle Acre and a community workshop on sacred dance.

The dancers include seniors Ellen Duddy, Alexis Nale and Sarah Ruesch, junior Rebecca Voulgarakis, sophomores Grace Petron and Carrie VanOsten, and freshmen Caitlin Cummings, Kristen Faraclas, Anna Foley, Hannah Gibson, Carli Petrus, Stacie Preuhs and Jenna Swartz.

They will be accompanied by C. Noelle Partusch, associate professor of dance at Mercyhurst and co-vice president of the Sacred Dance Guild. Also traveling and dancing is the dance department’s administrative assistant, alumna Danielle Kaiser.

They are taking eight pieces of choreography, six of which are the work of Partusch. Students Sarah Ruesch and Lacey Gigliotti also choreographed works for the performance.

“This opportunity has been several years in the making and I am so excited to join my colleagues in the Sacred Dance Guild to finally make it a reality,” said Partusch. “Traveling abroad with 14 dancers and producing an entire concert of liturgical dance is something I've only dreamed of. The dancers I am working with are beautiful inside and out and I'm honored to have them present my work and represent our university.”

After their performance commitments, the dancers will spend three days in London, exploring museums, historical sites and the Royal Opera House, home of The Royal Ballet.

To help offset some of the expenses, the dancers have launched a crowdfunding campaign. To lend your support, please visit their GoFundMe site.

The liturgical dancers’ focus is to provide performance opportunities to enrich the spiritual life on campus and in the community. The ensemble has performed at church services, retirement centers, and for other community groups.