When it comes to talent, age is just a number. Three young ladies from Portsmouth are proving that through their passion for liturgical dance.
The group consists of Jabra Zion Maubary, age 6 and two 11 year olds, Janayah Nicole Craft and Miauna Christalynn Rhea. The girls, better known as the Blessings, have been invited to perform at numerous churches and events within the community since their formation.
Jabra was practicing a dance for a church service at her grandmother Mary Tanner’s house. Miauna, familiar with the style of dance from her former church in Columbus, asked Janayah if she would like to dance a duet together. Ultimately, the three joined forces and started their the Blessings.
The Blessings practiced their routine to ‘Speak Life,’ by Joe Pace and performed together for the first time at Cornerstone United Methodist in Portsmouth.
“That night was a hard night, we practiced for a super long time,” said Jabra. But the long hours of practice paid off, as the Blessings received a standing ovation for the dance.
That performance sparked a snowball effect that led to invitation after invitation to perform.
“Being Jabra’s grandmother, Miauna’s godmother and Janayah’s aunt, I think they work very well together. Each of them has chosen a song and every time they come together, they choose the steps together. As they listen to the words, they choose their step. They practice a few words, put the movements to it and practice some more until they have the whole song completed,” said Mary Tanner. “They’re always nervous right up until they go on. Before they perform, the girls hold hands and they pray as a group.”
The girls have performed locally at Cornerstone United Methodist, the 14th Street Community Center and other places like Marion and Columbus. Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church enjoyed the Blessings so much that they assisted them with purchasing new performance uniforms and have invited them back time after time.
“At first I was scared to perform in front of a live crowd, but now I am ready every time,” said Janayah Craft. Miauna added, “I believe that it was in God’s will or we would not be where we are now.”
The Blessings will be giving a performance at the Edwin And Walter Hawkins Music And Arts Summit in Chicago on June 29.
Their mothers, Mia Harris (Miauna’s mother), Nancy Moore (Jabra’s mother) and Suree Burns (Janayah’s mother) are very supportive of their daughters dancing and the dedication they put into every performance.
“I have told my daughter Miauna that if you want to succeed in life you have to keep trying and you will be successful,” said Mia Harris. Nancy Moore said, “ I think that we should keep up the good work because it was meant for these babies to be here together, worshiping and praising the Lord.”
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977 and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.