Randall Flinn is founder and director of Dance Ad Deum. Flinn began his dance training in Houston over 25 years ago with Glenn Hunsucker, Camille Long Hill, Dina Vail, and Patsy Swayze. His most recent modern dance influences have come from studies with The Limon Company and Steve Rooks, former principal dancer with Martha Graham. He has taught and choreographed locally as a guest artist for the Houston Ballet Academy, The Episcopal High School, Houston Met Dance Company, Joan Karff Dance Company, The High School for Performing Arts and North Harris Performing Arts Dance Company. He was selected as a guest choreographer for Houston's Dance Salad 1999, Dance Houston 2006, and Texas Weekend of Contemporary Dance 2007. Nationally, he has served as guest faculty and choreographers for Cirque Du Soleil--Alegria, Ballet Magnificat, Belhaven College, Friends University, Project Dance NYC, LA, and Sydney, Australia, Hillsong, Australia, and Dance Revolution Conventions. Having lived throughout Europe and Asia for ten years, Mr. Flinn has also been a guest artist for Hong Kong Ballet, City Contemporary--Hong Kong, Guanzhou Modern Dance Company--China, Xaris Danz Europe and Youth With a Mission International Schools of the Arts.
LeAnne: What is Dance Ad Deum? Where did the name come from?
Randall: Ad Deum means "unto God" in Latin. Ad Deum is a professional contemporary (modern, neo classic) dance company based in Houston, Texas. The company began in January 2000, birthed by an ongoing passion for some years to establish a professional dance work where dance artists of Christian faith could fully integrate and pursue their vocational calling with excellence in an environment where their faith could also freely be expressed. Dancers have moved here to Texas from all around the globe to pursue their passion for their faith and their dancing. I still stand amazed!
Not that long ago, professional dance and Christian faith did not fare well among the Christian community nor within the mainstream community of the arts. The church (well, parts of it) was open to liturgical or praise dance offerings by well meaning worshippers. However professional presentations of dance by highly skilled dance artists who truly were seeking to honor God and bless mankind were rare to find.
Well, a new day has dawned and a multitude of very high-caliber and Christ-centered dancers have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this. They are out there all over the world engaging, influencing and impacting the church and the mainstream culture. To this I say, "Praise God--finally!"
LM: What is Dance Ad Deum working on now?
RF: More than I care to think about--that is what we are working on now! Next big performance is Texas Weekend of Contemporary Dance in Houston at the Miller Theatre on September 12/13. We are premiering a new work by Mr. Steve Rooks, former ten-year Principal Dancer with Martha Graham. Steve is a fellow believer-artist who is also working as the Lord's Daniel in the midst of Babylon, so to speak. His life and work as a follower of Christ is that of a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. [Note: To read LeAnne's interview with Steve Rooks last year, click here and here.]
Ad Deum has a full touring season both nationally and internationally. In November, we make the long journey to Malaysia to work with both the church and the mainstream dance culture.
LM: How has your faith affected or impacted your passion for dance?
RF: I believe my faith and a true understanding of a biblical worldview of the arts opens my life to the limitless possibilities of the glorious freedom of the children of God. I have come to understand a relevant and redemptive revelation of a New Testament priestly-artist--one that seeks to bless the Lord and serves the culture around him as the Lord's servant. No need to be religious here in this position and calling. The freedom comes in resting in the relationship and calling and understanding the cultural mandate and claiming the truth that God's artists can take up their towels and basins and wash the feet of this world with art that resonates with glory and honor.
On Thursday, the conclusion of my interview with Randall Flinn.