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‘America’s Got Talent’ dancers to perform at Bayside Church

The Silhouettes make shadows to depict inspirational stories
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When Silhouettes director Lynne Patton got the phone call asking her dance troupe to audition for “America’s Got Talent,” she thought the request was a joke.

“I thought it was prank call,” she said.

But it wasn’t.

On March 24, the Silhouettes auditioned in Minneapolis and went on to be named runner-up in the sixth season of the NBC-televised national competition.

“It’s been a great adventure,” Patton said.

The Colorado-based dance troupe has since traveled around the world to display their unique style of dance, in which they create shadows on a large screen. The Silhouettes have landed at Bayside Church in Granite Bay to perform during 16 Christmas services, which begin Friday.

“(We like) the unique nature of their art form,” said director of Christmas services Angie Wysocki. “No one had really seen anything like it. It was inspiring to watch on TV and we’re always looking for something to inspire people.”

A few months ago, Bayside’s Senior Pastor Ray Johnston and Worship Pastor Lincoln Brewster searched YouTube videos trying to find an entertainment act when they happened upon the Silhouettes.

“I can’t believe they’re here. It’s so cool,” Wysocki said Thursday afternoon, as dancers rehearsed their 12-minute Christmas performance.

Pastor Curt Harlow said logistics posed a challenge. Church staff had to install the large screen needed for the shadow displays and accommodate dance routines that usually require a deeper stage.

“We said, ‘Are we really going to do this?’ We don’t know all the answers … It’s a big deal just seeing it’s actually working,” Harlow said.

Walk-up seating is available for the services, which are open to the public. These attendees will be in for a wait, but the church has built a make-shift venue with seating, live music, drinks and food.

The church relies on some 300 volunteers to prepare for the annual Christmas celebrations, which about 40,000 people are expected to attend. This year, Bayside will collect money and sell merchandise during the services to support nonprofit organizations.

“We want to change how people celebrate Christmas,” Harlow said. “We have six causes we’re supporting.”

They include Acres of Hope, Salvation Army and Agape International Missions, which fights the sex-trafficking of children.

But catching the Silhouettes live may be generating the most buzz. The dancers range in age from 4 to 18 and are part of a larger dance company called Rocky Mountain School of Dance and Performing Arts.

The Silhouettes performed for the first time in 2009. About 40 dancers formed the team for “America’s Got Talent,” but they also have three traveling teams with 24 members each. The group performing locally has 17 members.

The Silhouettes created an original show specifically for Bayside Church.

“We tell a story with every show we do,” Patton said. “We want to inspire so we create a message.”

The story involves a boy living in a small apartment with a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree and hardly any presents. He learns the holiday isn’t about plentiful gifts around the tree, but about love.

“We are so honored to be spending Christmas at Bayside,” Patton said. “We’re very thrilled. We’ve never been able to do this before and I think it’s going to be the most spectacular Christmas of our lives.”

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Silhouettes performances at Bayside Church
When:
6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16; 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18; 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20; 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21; 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23; 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24.
Where: 8191 Sierra College Blvd. in Granite Bay
Cost: Free
Info: Walk-up seating available. For more information, visit www.baysideonline.com.