Christ in the Arts is a dance studio in Lubbock focused on making a friendly community based environment to learn and train in the art of ballet. CITA ensures that their students have a strong community at the dance studio as they work on preparing for the multiple shows that are hosted by the company throughout the year.
Randall Hinds, executive director of Christ in the Arts, has been a part of this organization from the beginning and continues to be an active member in the CITA program.
“We incorporated and became a nonprofit at that time (in) 2006,” Hinds said. “Some of our teachers, before we did that, were teaching some homeschooling ballet classes in town but nothing official, just on the side, and then in 2006 we actually became Christ in the Arts and began.”
The company works on being authentic and original when brainstorming and producing shows, Hinds said. The Christ in the Arts dance studio incorporates a lot of techniques when putting a production together.
“We really got initiated because we put together an original musical, and we had a lot of volunteers,” he said. “We put together this musical and joined. It was music and dance and drama, so we were originally labeled that way. But ultimately, we had to just cut down to just dance, alone. What we train in is just dance. One thing that is notable about our performances is that they are completely original.”
CITA is not a competition-based dance studio, Hinds said, but a place where community and relationships are emphasized in order to motivate their students.
“In arts and sports, a lot of times, the emphasis is competition,” Hinds said. “In our case, emphasis is community, so you can kind of contrast competition versus community. (We) use our relationships to motivate rather than the desire to beat somebody else.”
Holly Roberson, a junior English major from Lubbock, has been a member of the Christ in the Arts studio from a young age and has reached the highest level of training they offer, a company member, and now teaches classes.
“I was 4 years old, and I was homeschooled and my mom was looking for a place to stick me where I could learn to dance and socialize with people,” she said. “I’ve been here ever since. I am a company member, an instructor and a public relations director. This is my second family.”
CITA is a place with excellent training and would not differ from other studios in that aspect, but they offer a strong community and try to build friendly, caring relationships within the studio, Roberson said.
“We really strive to have the structure and the excellent instruction here at this ballet school,” Roberson said. “We wouldn’t differ, I don’t think, from other schools as far as structure is concerned, but we do put relationships and investing into the lives of our students as one of our very top priorities. We often reference Christ in the Arts as the CITA family because everyone knows everyone. We really value relationship and the intentionality behind that. I think Christ in the Arts is really unique because we have the balance of excellence in the training of our students, but also we really care, very deeply, about the hearts of our students.”
She said all ages are able to take part in the performances, and they want the younger members of CITA to be exposed to performing and involved in the productions.
“For this upcoming production, it is a full school production,” she said. “We begin the show, kind of with our younger students just to get them the opportunity to perform and let them express at the beginning, but then when we get into the story it is mostly (upperclassmen) who predominantly seen.”
Annie Hoffman is a ballet instructor and choreographer at the dance studio. She has been a member since she was 4 years old, as well, and continues her passion for dancing by instructing and helping orchestrate the performances.
“I’ve been a company member and an instructor for a long time,” she said. “I have been here at CITA a total of like 15 years. Right now I really am just excited about our new show that is coming up.”
She said everyone there is known by name and is equally loved and cared for by the members of Christ in the Arts.
“The community here is just unlike any other,” Hoffman said. “Every single person here has a place and is loved.”
She said the dance company is open for everyone and hard work is the only expectation when being a part of Christ in the Arts.
“I think stereotypically in the dance world often times its associated with really, super, super thin dancers and most people who have to, kind of, starve themselves or fit a certain criteria to be successful and one of the things that is so cool and different about CITA is that we take all body sizes and every single person can make it here, if they just work hard,” Hoffman said. “They don’t have to look a certain way. We don’t push any certain criteria other than be healthy.”