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  • Writer's pictureM. Linda Graham

Captured in Passing: Dance 50

Updated: Feb 25

Retirement Day #1700

One week ago today, Holland, MI witnessed a unique celebration at Hope College. Over 250 Dancers of all ages, genders and life experiences met in the crucible where skills were learned, confidence gained, courage tested, creativity explored, and friendships forged – all melding to illuminate future paths. Bonded souls united once again in sweat, movement, heart, art, and rambunctious joy. Memories were shared and tears shed for those lost. Welcome to Dance 50.

Two score and a decade ago Maxine DeBruyn brought forth unto this institution a dance program, conceived in Max’s signature zig! zag! zip! and dedicated to the proposition that if you want to dance, we have a place for you. Starting with a Showcase concert in the spring of 1975 called “Dance 1” the Dance Department grew to be a nationally accredited, internationally recognized dance program known for its technical variety and depth as well as artistic quality and creativity. As part of the celebration, seven retired / full-time faculty choreographed for the Dance 50 concert, working with current faculty to present a retrospective of dance works that demonstrated the technical range and innovation of this remarkable program. Where do I fit in? I was the second full-time faculty member of the dance program – from 1983 until my retirement in 2019. For the Dance 50 concert I was honored to present “En Passant III: Captured in Passing” shout out to my great cast and creative team! You all were awesome! 


The Dancers gathered on campus in old and new dance spaces to recognize and celebrate that 50-year history, the accomplishment of Max’s vision, and those dedicated to its advancement. Unspoken were the many sacrifices made to realize this vision, for a crucible is a place of intense heat – some things are created, some destroyed, boundaries melted, and substance refined.


I had the good fortune to play an unwitting role in shaping many of these lives and legends under the guise of “doing my job.” Deep down, I feel like the Master Choreographer quietly blessed me by speaking through me and letting me reap a bit of credit nice touch. Last weekend I was overwhelmed yes, I cried, felt appreciated and loved, with more than a bit of did I do that?!? imposter syndrome creeping in the back of my skull. But yes, back in the day I taught, guided, cajoled, persuaded, threatened, begged, prodded, and arm-wrestled many of these Dancers, thereby playing a small part in cultivating the movers and shakers they became. I’m so proud of them all. 


It was sweetly fulfilling to celebrate US. Love, like dance, is best known through action, and this reunion provided the opportunity to share the love by sharing the dance. By Sunday, with stories spent and hearts full, time once again defined the moment as the Dancers returned to their respective geographies- the crucible flame flickering a little brighter in their souls.

Dance On!

My Morning Ballet/Historical Social Dance Class

Reunion Dinner

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