America's premier Christian ballet company kicked off their Israel tour Sunday, taking a story of hope, forgiveness and reconciliation to the world's only Jewish state.
Ballet Magnificat!'s 13-day tour will hit Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tiberius before ending Nov. 22 in Tel-Aviv. At each stop, the Christian ballet ministry will be performing The Hiding Place, a powerful ballet based on the story of renowned holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, who has used the events that took place in the lives of herself and her family during the Nazi invasion to teach the world the power of forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
"I am thrilled to sit among the Israelis and breathe in their experience of Hiding Place," commented the ballet's choreographer, Jiri Sebastian Voborsky, in a public statement.
Though Israel forbids Christians from evangelizing in the country, the Jewish state has honored ten Boom as one of the Righteous Among the Nations for helping many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II.
Ten Boom and her family, all strong Christians, had become very active in the Dutch underground in 1942, hiding refugees and rescuing many Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazi Party's "Shield Squadron."
After about two years of taking in refugees, the ten Booms were arrested in 1944 and sent to Scheveningen prison, where Corrie's father died after ten days. Corrie's sister also died later after the family was moved to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany. Corrie was eventually released on Christmas Day of December 1944 due to a clerical error. The women prisoners her age in the camp were killed the week following her release.
"God does not have problems. Only plans," she said following her release.
After the war, ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up rehabilitation centers. She returned to Germany in 1946, and traveled the world as a public speaker, appearing in over 60 countries, during which time she wrote many books – her most famous being The Hiding Place, which was made into a film in 1975 as well as the ballet performance performed by Ballet Magnificat!
Ballet Magnificat! – founded by Keith Thibodeaux and his wife, 1982 USA IBC silver medalist Kathy Thibodeaux – has taken the story of ten Boom from coast to coast in the United States, in addition to Honduras, Belize, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.
Since its founding in 1986, Ballet Magnificat! has been dedicated to presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world through the medium of dance. Other performances include Ruth, Deliver Us, and The Scarlet Cord, inspired by the story of Rahab.
The company tours the United States visiting Christian churches to showcase their work and features dancers who have won medals at the USA International Ballet Competition.
Their work is "truly one of the most outstanding tributes to our Lord Jesus Christ that I've ever seen," exclaims Dr. Ed Young, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in Houston, in a public endorsement.
"I've loved having the opportunity to work with Ballet Magnificat!," adds singer and songwriter Twila Paris. "They are extremely talented and gracious people who understand why they do what they do and truly offer their gifts to the Lord and to the body of Christ in ministry."
Ballet Magnificat!'s tour in Israel follows a trip to Columbia, South America, where Ballet Magnificat! represented the United States in the IV International Festival of Dance. It also comes as Israel marks its 60th anniversary year.