Hayiya Dance Theatre’s ‘Stained Glass’ performance explores the beauty within

lshirley@macon.comMarch 14, 2014 

Hayiya Dance Theatre will perform “Stained Glass” Sunday at the Grand Opera House.

DARRELL MOYE — Special to The Telegraph

Dance, song and spoken word take center stage as Hayiya Dance Theatre presents its third annual “Stained Glass” concert Sunday at the Grand Opera House.

The show “is an integrated collaborative arts concert based on ‘God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse’ by James Weldon Johnson,” according to a news release.

Hayiya founder Pilar Wilder said she grew up in a black church in the 1980s and ‘90s hearing Johnson’s poems during Black History Month, and she wanted to make them come alive.

“It took 12 years to make it happen. I wanted to do this for a long time before I tried it,” she said, adding that Christopher Graddick and R. Cornelius Spencer are serving as music directors for the show.

While a majority of the dancers are students at Hayiya Dance Theatre, the performance also features guest artists, poets, preachers and teachers, Wilder said.

“We have some friends from the community who liked the show and wanted to be a part of it,” Wilder said of the dancers. “And the choir is open to any and all. You don’t have to have the best voice, but after Christopher works with them for a few weeks, they sound like they have been together for years. Cornelius is bringing musicians from all over the city. They are all a mix of amateur and professional; it really is a community event.”

Graddick also helped Wilder bring the show to life by suggesting a few names she could use, including “Stained Glass.”

“It’s based on churches’ tradition of telling stories from the Bible through visual arts in stained glass. And we are all ‘stained’ glass in that as human beings, we are a reflection of God, though not flawless like him. All people have the potential to be beautiful, and when you have that beauty within, it shines out,” Wilder said.

Proceeds will benefit the Hayiya Dance Theatre Inc. Scholarship Fund, helping to pay for dance classes for students whose families could not otherwise afford them, and the Hayiya Dance Theatre Senior Scholarship Fund, which provides a scholarship to some of Hayiya’s high school seniors as they move on to college.

“We had about 500 people come last year, and it’s generating more buzz, with people asking about the show. The community has embraced ‘Stained Glass,’ and I want to really pack the house this year,” Wilder said.

“Stained Glass”

When: 7 p.m. March 16

Where: Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.

Cost: $15

Information: www.thegrandmacon.com, 478-254-5497

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