Taylor Eriksen: Dancing for God's glory
What happens when you are going through the motions and Jesus breaks in?
For one dance student at Point Park University, this transformation changed every plié, arabesque, and grand jeté. Taylor Eriksen came to Pittsburgh to study classical ballet and English. At first, she was lonely, but soon her honors floor became a supportive community. Then one night, Taylor heard music in the hallway and came out of her room to investigate.
What she saw changed the course of her life.
Two of her classmates were singing “Great Are You Lord,” one strumming a guitar. “Joy was written all over their faces,” she remembers. “They were worshipping the God they loved, unashamed. I had never seen two people so happy, so full of love and light. I knew immediately, I wanted whatever it was they had.”
Taylor grew up in a family that went to church about once a year. While she knew God existed, “He was just there.” Witnessing the joy of her singing classmates, Taylor knew she was missing out on something much deeper—something very, very good.
Her classmates invited her to go to The Body, the CCO fellowship group that meets weekly at Point Park. There she was encouraged to find a local church, and she began attending City Reformed Church. These weekly gatherings, as well as encouragement from CCO staff members Katelyn Van Meerbeke and Daniel Snoke, changed everything, including her ballet.
Before Taylor found freedom in Christ, she was often overwhelmed by pressures familiar to professional dancers. She worried about whether her teachers would like what they saw, whether she would dance as well as her classmates, what grade she would receive. She loved to dance, but her dancing was self-focused. Because of this, she was often filled with anxiety.
But as her focus shifted, so did her dancing. “Similar to my childhood faith, my dancing was just motions,” Taylor says.
“Since coming to know God, my dancing is for His glory. I dance as a way to worship God. I dance now to show others the love and light that He has given to me. My dancing is now free.”
Now a junior at Point Park, Taylor continues to pursue excellence in all her studies. A student leader of The Body, she hosts a weekly women’s group in her apartment and meets regularly with firstyear students, spurring them to find greater freedom in the God who deserves—and transforms—every breath and every grand jeté.
“I see God’s hand everywhere I look, and how I missed it for so long baffles me,” Taylor says. “Now I use my gifts each and every day to show others who Jesus really is.”