By JIRI VOBORSKY
As the year 2021 nears its end, most if not all of us are ready to embrace the Christmas season with celebrations resembling the yesteryears — years free of masks, daily COVID statistics and social distancing. Ballet Magnificat! is also geared up to return to the tradition of presenting our annual Thalia Mara Hall performance celebrating the birth of our Savior. This year, we will return to the stage with our original ballet rendition of
“A Christmas Carol” on December 18 and 19. For the past three years, since the premiere of this production, I have had the wonderful privilege of dancing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, my “signature role” according to my wife.
I must admit that it’s intriguing to portray this eldritch character, and during each performance step into his adventure of visiting Christmas past, future and present. This year’s performance will be special for me as I will grace the stage with Ballet Magnificat! for the very last time. After almost 30 years of touring the world with Ballet Magnificat!, my dancing days are coming to an end. I thank the Lord for all the amazing opportunities I was able to experience while a part of this unique art organization, and I desire for Him to be honored yet one more time as the curtain lifts this December and the story of Ebenezer’s miraculous transformation takes place.
Scrooge’s story, though quite epic, reminds me of my own before I met the Lord in the Czech Republic. I, same as Ebenezer, had no real joy in my life. Growing up under the heavy fist of the Communist regime, it wasn’t until I was 16 years old, following the overthrow of the government, when I first heard the name of Jesus Christ, saw the Holy Bible, and visited a Christian fellowship. It is miraculous to think that in His grace, Christ opened my eyes, allowing me to see my need for Him, and chose me to be a part of God’s family. Often, I still wonder just why I was so privileged to come to know my Redeemer when the other 10 million Czechs still live their lives without knowing His love.
It has been such an honor to create ballets over the past 20 years, ballets portraying the passionate love of the Lord. “A Christmas Carol” is no different. As Ebenezer comes to understand this love of Christ in our ballet, he receives it to find himself radically and forever changed. I was reminded of my own transformation all over again when I was writing my autobiography, “Velvet Meets the Iron Curtain,” last year. While filling the empty pages with memories and experiences of the life that was, I was encouraged to believe for the life yet to be. And so, after the curtain closes on December 19, my dancing shoes will be thrown away, my dancing days concluded, yet my heart will be filled with immense gratitude to the Lord, who made all this possible.
You might ask what is next. Well, I am thrilled to share with you that while writing my book, the Lord broke my heart over the deprived spiritual state of the Czech people, my own family included. It was in the spring of last year when I received a vision for 10M Foundation, an organization that would reach the 10 million lost Czech souls and hearts with the gospel. This summer the Lord made it clear that the time to take a step of faith is now. And so as I worship the Lord for the last time as a professional dancer, I know that my time to honor the Lord will continue; yes, in a different manner, but continue, nonetheless.
I am excited to see what the Lord does as the 10M Foundation begins to function and operate on January 1. Until then I will enjoy every minute with my precious friends at Ballet Magnificat!, recall all the wild experiences of the past 30 years, prepare my heart for the last performance, and then follow Him as He leads me and my family into the plans He preordained for us. You are invited to come and enjoy the presence of the Lord this December as He graciously fills Thalia Mara Hall during the “Christmas Carol” performances. I will see you there; you can even purchase my book and take a picture with Ebenezer Scrooge. I will be nice, I promise!
Jiri Voborsky was born in what is now the Czech Republic and has been with Ballet Magnificat! since he joined them in January 1994 as a Corps de Ballet member. He will retire at the end of this year as creative director and resident choreographer. Jiri’s desire for all his works is to demonstrate the gratitude of his heart to Jesus Christ. He is honored to serve the Lord with his wife, Cassandra, and their three children.