Letter to the editor: Abigail Dew

If you want to learn what it means to walk (and dance) with humble confidence, take a walk with Abigail Dew.

(Recently) at Oral Roberts University, Abby performed a contemporary dance piece to Kari Job’s Blood of Jesus. It was her first.

Let me clarify. This was not the first time Abby has performed for an audience of hundreds. Nor was it the first time Abby has performed for the weekly ORU crowd.

This was the first time Abby stepped out onto the stage and danced in sheer faith.

No one watching her would guess it, but a large segment of Abby’s performance was the improvisation of the moment.

When she stepped out on the stage in front of the greater part of ORU’s 3,000-plus student body, no one but Abby and her sister, ORU singer/songwriter Rachael Dew, knew that this was the first time she ever danced without a finalized choreography.

Abby stood there, vulnerable and unmoving, and received “the blood of Jesus” as it cascaded through her fingers, down her face. In that moment, Abby’s spirit was dancing more than her graceful body ever could.

Artists call it “improv” and, as any choreographer will tell you, it can be frightening. For Abby, this dance was unlike any other.

A talented young girl with the drive for perfection propelling her into elite dance competitions at an early age, Abby is a skilled and experienced choreographer. Trained with the New Zealand Junior school of dance as a young teen, Abby has since led groups of college dancers at ORU’s Hello Dolly musical in 2013, going on to dance Fantine’s I Dreamed a Dream from the musical Les Miserables only last year. What is perhaps more inspiring is the fact that she is set to help lead an ORU missions team to Europe in the coming summer.

Anyone who has watched Abby dance might say that she could only be spontaneous because she was prepared – years of training went into those minutes on stage, after all.

But this dance was a breakthrough.

A day before the performance, Abby was asked to cut out an entire minute of stage time. For a dancer-choreographer, a last-minute change like this can be a nightmare. But for Abby, it was an opportunity to trust God more.

In her blood-red dress, Abby experienced a breakthrough of humble confidence. She stepped out and did something she had never done before, something her entire natural training told her not to do: She took a step, then a stretch, then an advanced fouetté of worshipful trust. This was a step that required boldness, because it also required faith.

Spinning around on one leg might be too advanced for some (read most) of us. Not all of us have the flexibility and grace of a prima ballerina. But we do have the opportunity to walk out onto a stage without knowing what our next steps will be.

In the Christian terms so fitting to a university like Oral Roberts, that means one thing: all you need to do is stop striving, stop performing and stand there, in humble confidence, allowing His priceless blood to wash over you.