In 2004, a very gifted dance ministry was established through the vision of Pastor Darrell Parker Sr., pastor of New Birth Christian Center and CEO of Godson Gospel Records. During this time, not many churches were allowing dance, but he had a vision for the future and he was determined to put it into action. Pastor Parker’s vision was to take spiritual dance to the level of professionalism. He wanted trained dancers in classical ballet, modern, jazz, mime and hip hop. His belief being dance could be used as a powerful praise and worship tool to reach the masses just as singing had been used. He would not only include it in his Sunday service but he would also make dance a part of his record label performances. He brought the same philosophy to dance that he bought to ministry and music. That philosophy being, “The anointing makes the difference.”
He enlisted Donna Kelly as their spiritual advisor and director. Sharing the same vision, she trained the five member group in the areas of costumes, music choices and ministering. She taught them that combining the spirit with trained dance technique would equal a powerful professional dance ministry, hence One Spirit Dance Company.
In 2004-2005, the company was well on their way to establishing themselves as valued entities of Godson Record Company, traveling and performing at various events given through the gospel industry. They performed at the Gospel Music Workshop of America in Wisconsin and Miami. They danced as opening acts for Howard Hewitt, Rickey Smiley and Shekinah Glory Ministry and they wowed the crowd at the Gospel USA Magazine Independent Music Conference. In May of 2005, One Spirit performed their first independent show, “The Journey”. It was a huge success and propelled them into their next stage of reaching the masses…..teaching children. Parents who were so impressed with the show wanted to know if their children could be trained to do likewise.
In 2005 Kelly Reed, the original member of the dance company and a gifted teacher, was enlisted to teach the children. Having been trained in all genre of dance, she took the helm as lead teacher and carried forth the next phase of One Spirit…..One Spirit Dance Academy. Starting out with five students, her reputation quickly grew and so did the dance school, each year gaining more and more students wanting to be trained and taught to dance in the spirit. As her numbers grew, so did requests for guest appearances. Their experiences grew along with their classical training and in 2006, LaShaundra Osborne was added as much needed teacher number two.
The school was on its way as community leaders, civic organizations and churches enlisted One Spirit Dance Academy to not only perform but to teach dance classes to their youth groups: City of Savannah summer programs; various church dance ministries and summer camps; Geer up programs at Savannah State. The dance teachers did this while hosting their own intensive dance camp each year for four weeks.
One Spirit took on national concerns as they taught dance moves at ‘Let’s Dance Savannah’ for promoting healthier lifestyle. They performed at My Brothaz Home Inc. for the fight against HIV/AIDS. They showed their support at the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, breast health education series. Each year they participated in the Black Heritage Program for Black History Month. In 2015, the dancers won 2nd place for their float in the MLK parade with their focus being on “Change My World”.
One Spirit has grown from one teacher to four teachers. Anetra Reed was added as an instructor in 2010 and Kalaysia Robinson in 2014. Children of this dance school are not only being taught dance but that God must always come first in their lives and that every child, regardless of race, body type and economic background should have an opportunity to dance. Tuition is kept low by fundraisers and donations.
Dancers from One Spirit have been accepted to Esther Garrison Performing Arts Elementary and Middle school as well as Savannah Arts Academy High School. One Spirit has come a long way and they are still in the fight to put God first. They believe children are the world’s greatest commodities and God’s most precious gifts. They must be nurtured and grown properly. They must be taught that God is first in all things and that “The Anointing Makes the Difference”.