Rose and Her Lily Blog
Sandy Arena, who is a post-abortive mother herself, has given a unique gift to other parents living in the aftermath of "choice." For the second year in a row, I watched this on the anniversary date of my abortion, which was yesterday. I am captivated by the beauty and depth of every aspect of this production. I saw so much of myself in Sarah and felt the same emotions, as I recounted my own experience. Some scenes caused my heart to weep over the lives lost and the pain and regret that touches many people because of abortion, while other scenes caused my heart to soar because of the hope, redemption, and restoration we have in Christ. It is incredible how dance can capture many deep emotions. My mom and I were so moved watching this together, especially as the credits rolled across the screen that showed the film dedications, "to the children who never had a chance to dance," including #mytwoLs - Luke Shiloh and Lily Katherine. It's a blessing to be able to honor both of them together. Watching Arise Sweet Sarah is a beautiful way to honor, remember, and celebrate Luke Shiloh's life each year. It is not only a gift for those who've experienced an abortion, but for everyone. It gives a glimpse into this journey and hopefully will help others have more compassion and have a fire ignited to help other women not have to live with this regret. Thank you Sandy, for the hard work, dedication, courage, and vulnerability it took to put this together. God is using it to help heal hearts.
Lyle Howe, Vermont
Powerful, beautiful, captivating, and wonderfully made is your production of Arise Sweet Sarah. I enjoyed it very much. May it open eyes and change hearts, exposing the lies of the condoned act of killing the unborn child at will as inconveniences with eternal consequences. A very professional and heart touching production. God bless you Sandy along with your family and the whole crew.
Randy Goss, Stuff With A Message
I just want to give a shout out to Sandy Arena, Alexis Gaetano, Sam Arena and the whole cast, family and crew of the movie created through Sandy's life and her transparency. The movie, Arise Sweet Sarah is a phenomenal work of God as revealed through his servant Sandy Arena and touches and is able to touch many lives. Arise Sweet Sarah is a movie to compel people to come into the Kingdom of God, to be forgiven, and to realize the grace and mercy of Our Father. It is a story--a journal entry into many lives but shown through this one who was brave enough to share the testimony of what Jesus did in her. Arise Sweet Sarah will touch women and men both young and old for years to come.
Pati Adams- Author, Speaker, Former Executive and Center Director for CPC's.
(From the House by the Seashore)
"I just saw the movie Arise Sweet Sarah. It was a beautiful, moving way, through the Art of Dance, showing the painful decision of abortion, the painful experience during the abortion, living with the aftermath of that decision, and then the beauty of healing and forgiveness only Jesus Christ can do. I applaud my friend Sandy Arena, for following God's lead, using her pain to help others and her two beautiful daughters that God used so graciously. What a tribute to their family and millions of other families that lost children through abortion. This film will change you heart!"
A Mother Found Healing After Abortion
I purchased (your film) and watched it and even though I have been through a healing retreat , it brought much peace to me and healed places that needed healing that I am unaware of.
Cast Member to Arise Sweet Sarah Film
My new mother in-law, who doesn't know the Lord yet, was moved to tears from the movie. The LORD has used this to begin her path of healing great trauma in the past by drawing her near to the Son Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Jesus the Christ).
A Mother Hurting after Abortion
I received the DVD of Arise Sweet Sarah yesterday, and watched it this afternoon. ~~~Tears~~~ Thanks for all your hard work, and labor of love. To see my sweet Noah's name up there with so many. Wow my heart can't express what I feel in words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including my child, and giving our little one's significance. He may be forgotten by many, but not me or my Lord.
Cast Member to Arise Sweet Sarah Film
What an amazing film! We were so honored to be a part of its production, and pray that its reach will extend far beyond we could ever imagine. The story was so powerfully brought to the screen - painful, yet full of grace and hope. I was especially moved by your original music. Beautifully done. May you endeavor to bring your considerable talents to many more such projects, in the years to come.
Allan E. Parker, President, The Justice Foundation
“Life Ballet is a deeply moving ballet which everyone should see. It is powerful, captivating and enlightening in the best sense.”
Meet your "Abortion is Okay" Exception: a rape victim at age 13 who was forced to abort who was deeply scarred by abortion and who deeply regrets the loss of her child. Here she writes about our show:
"The Life Ballet has truly, in so many ways, changed my life. At the age of thirteen I was forced to have an abortion after being raped. It was the hardest thing I have gone through in my life. I carried around so much shame and guilt. Being a part of The Life Ballet and seeing the scenes unfold on stage has helped me receive healing. Every time I see it again, a different scene touches me in a new way. I remember clearly the first time I saw the scene “Dance of Forgiveness”, it was like my spirit was on stage with the dancers dancing along with them. I let Jesus heal me in a new and beautiful way. I cannot say enough about this show and soon to be movie. The way that it captures so many different sides of how abortion impacts everyone is amazing. I am sure that those who watch ”The Life Ballet” and “Arise Sweet Sarah” will be impacted regardless of how they feel about abortion before seeing it. My hope is that this message will spread like wildfire and abortion will finally end."
Patricia Pulliam, Director Of Abortion Recovery, Pregnancy Resource Connection, Granby, Colorado; Silent No More Regional Coordinator
When the Life Ballet performed at our banquet some in the cast were post abortive; as the story of repentance and forgiveness unfolded their performances became riveting and compelling; the audience responded with a hushed reverence and many tears.
We received a copy of this beautiful message from our dear friend and supporter Pat Pulliam which she sent to others about our upcoming film release "Arise Sweet Sarah". We just wanted to share it with our friends as it was such a blessing and encouragement to us. Pat got our entire ballet company across the country to perform in Colorado. It was our final live performance before we began working on our film. It was our largest and most ambitious tour effort with 16 people attending the performance who traveled to Colorado on five airplanes! Pat was with us every step of the way and there were a lot of "steps" in this endeavor!!!
I had the privilege of working with Sandy Arena and The Life Ballet in February of 2014. The entire troupe came up and performed at our annual fund-raising banquet for our local pregnancy center, The Pregnancy Resource Connection in Granby Colorado. I am the chairman of the board of directors and I had seen them perform once before at a Rachel's Vineyard Seminar in Fort Worth Texas. I approached Sandy with the idea of bringing them up and she said yes. It was a daunting endeavor to bring an entire dance troupe to 8700 feet above sea level but God said yes and that was that. The story is based on Sandy's own testimony of her two abortions and the aftermath. She wrote the entire production. Her eldest daughter, Alexis Gaetano, a stunning ballerina, dances Sandy's part. Needless to say our audience was blown away. Three of us, me (Silent No More) and 2 from Rachel's Vineyard were asked to perform onstage with them during a scene at an abortion clinic. I was able to use my I Regret.. sign. There was not a dry eye in the house as the ballet ended. Soon after, per the usual flurry of the Holy Spirit, someone approached
Sandy to make the ballet into a full length movie. Below is the trailer for the new movie entitled Arise Sweet Sarah. It is due for release in September. Because of the nature of the subject matter many theaters will not run this unless asked by its patrons. As I understand the official musical score has been completed.
If you would like to see more about The Life Ballet you can go to their website. I am very excited about the release of this movie. It could be another October Baby.
Joy Crimmins, Rachels Vineyard, York, Pa.
Your program was so spirit filled and absolutely beautiful and filled with the love of God. I don't have words to do it justice. Your story is beautiful and full of truth and love- My favorite parts were seeing the way evil was enticing and overcoming, the beauty in all the performers especially those who played Sarah, the way the children are united and dancing with Jesus and how it's a celebration of life, love and forgiveness in the end (especially with the "abortion provider" performers). It really is a gift.
I had several people approach me and a few approached my sister regarding attending post abortion healing retreats after watching The Life Ballet. I just got a thank you from New Life for Girls and they were so grateful to have been invited and several of their ladies have also inquired about future Rachels Vineyard retreats. They were thrilled with Sandy and the Yahweh Ballet for coming to their place on Saturday to conduct workshops. Blessings still are flowing deep and wide!
Pregnancy and Family Resource Center of York, Pa.
Your performance was both professional and inspiring.
Pastor Ralph Molyneux, Victory Church Lethbridge, Canada
We recently had The Life Ballet perform at our church. I was very pleased with the way dance was used to tell a very difficult story. I feel using something as beautiful and cultural as ballet was brilliant as well as the fact that it was a personal story made it all the more meaningful. The team was very professional, talented and organized. The way they trained people from our church to be a part of the cast helped us to feel that is wasn't just a show but a great opportunity to participate with very talented dancers. Something I know our kids and families will remember for a long time. The Life Ballet is a beautiful and modern way to clearly bring across the message of Life and abortion. The story presented by this group is heart changing and breaks down the walls of shame, guilt and hate by being a personal story of love and forgiveness.
Lethbridge Herald Newspaper, Canada
TOAST: To the Pro- Life ballet production that was hosted by the Victory Church. It was a very excellent and touching production.
Gerry Oftedahl, President of the Board of Directors of Adult Stem Cell Initiative, Inc., and a member of the Diocese of Rochester Policy and Planning Committee
I was thrilled by the ballet presented at Bethel this evening. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to see the phenomenal and moving performance you and the dancers put to exceptionally well matched music. The ballet, to me, is so unique a statement on abortion that I think it should be done as widely as possible.
Anne LeBlanc, President, Rochester Area Right to Life
Yahweh Ballet's newest production presents through the arts something that can be difficult to convey in mere words. The combination of music, dance, and short monologues helps us to see that abortion is a tragic effort to do right that turns out to be harmful, harmful not just to the helpless unborn child and his or her mother, but also to family and friends. However, the same arts show the healing, hope, and freedom that can be re-attained through the power of love. Kudos to Yahweh Ballet!
Lynne Fausset, Pregnancy Care Center, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
The ballet was wonderfully thought provoking, heart wrenching and beautifully done.
Abby Kirk, Students for Life, Bethel College, Indiana
Having the opportunity to sit in the audience and watch the full show of The Life Ballet was exceedingly powerful. I was audience to the miraculous Hand of God in the whole, year-long process of bringing this production to our school, Bethel College in Indiana, and saw the Light of Truth shine clearly in the movement of the dancers, the message of the music. The show was full of honest, raw emotion, passionately yet gently portrayed and the audience was very moved, tearful and thankful. Their ministry continued the next day as we took the cast up the road to dance in front of our local abortion clinic. The Lord was attentive as we declared freedom over that broken place. Even now that abortionist's other practice is closing in Fort Wayne! It was delightful to get to know the cast and crew members, which brought such a joyful dedication to the project and many lasting friendships have begun as a result of this trip! This incredible show, straight from the heart of a forgiven mother, is being joyfully used by the merciful King to bring encouragement and inspiration to His people and hope to those without. It should been seen and supported by all friends of Life!
Emily Carithers, Bethel College, Indiana
The Life Ballet was a moving and powerful performance. The images of grace and forgiveness were brought to life in the movements of the dancers. The pain of such a choice was not overlooked. It was not condemnation for the choice of abortion, but rather healing to those who suffer silently. The story that was unfolded through the performance was beautiful and complex, but was displayed in the purest and simplest of ways. The familiar way that this topic was brought forward, was done in good taste. It was a beautiful and moving show, one not easily forgotten.
Tom Jackson Productions Showcase, Nashville, Tenn.
Panelist 1: Wow. That was awesome. Not only is the message very clearly portrayed in a very artful, gracious and creative way, you told a story. You built anticipation, and you are great dancers. It kept me on the edge of my seat. I was very intrigued the whole time. You can perform in the Metropolitan Opera House because you are capable and gifted enough to perform anywhere in the world.
Panelist 2: I watched this online and it blew me away. Alexis, you are a freak, and I only mean that in the most positive way. It’s beautiful and it uncovers me.
Tom Jackson: I didn’t know what to expect and I don’t know what to say. What you did is courageous. I’d love to see it get in front of a lot of people.
Angela Cabrera, Rochester, NY
Sandy Arena, founder of the Yahweh Ballet, wrote a ballet based on her experience having two abortions in her teenage years. For years, she felt shameful and didn't want any of her Christian friends to know what was in her past. God spoke to her and she eventually opened up and gave her testimony by mouth. Now a whole ballet is written in honor of her two children. It is a story of pain, shame, healing and forgiveness available to those who have a story like hers. I have a few singing parts in this ballet, and I can say first hand, that the parts I have seen have changed me forever. The production is in need of some serious financial support. Often Sandy and her hsuband Sam end up paying for a lot of the finances out of their own pocket for things like this, but the production is so important and so well done, that it costs too much for them to finance themselves. Would you consider praying for the success of this ballet, that many people who have had an abortion would be healed from watching it, and many people who may in the future consider an abortion would remember this production.
Cheryl Hazell, Rochester, NY
This evening was anointed. The message was incredible. It's a message our nation needs to hear. The earth is groaning. I see the desensitization and disconnection. It is but a fortnight before massive genocide occurs. This time it will be the elderly. There is no reverence for the elderly of our culture. The youth will cut off food supply and health care of this population when resources for survival are limited. Abortion, trafficking, and genocide are intertwined with the same message - life is not sacred and relationships between people and with God have little value. Andrew viewed this evening as a memorial for those who weren't given life - babies, Jews, and women. The sanctity of your babies' lives are recognized daily in your heart. Your message is more touching than any anti-abortion message I have heard. My friend I brought is liberal minded and was for abortion until I spoke of how there were people who wanted me aborted, how I was almost not given the chance to live. Every person on this earth was given the chance to live when they were born. How can they say they have a right to take that right for life created in the womb? Your message touched my friend in a mighty way. Everyone in our nation needs to hear your message. Your daughter's portrayal of your pain was moving. It is so hard to believe that our nation was built on Christian values when people advise our youth to abort. Our culture is responsible for desensitizing our youth with inappropriate media and a horrific value system. The message that is displayed at half-time during the Super Bowls is appalling - the display of women as sex symbols. America idols a sex god. And then there are the princess stories that every girl dreams of. We all believed that prince charming was the answer, but we know that it is Jesus we long for. Your message is rich. Thank you for sharing. I pray that your message is taken to the four corners of our nation and beyond. This could change the hearts of a multitude. Thank you for inviting me last evening and for the incredible inspiration you have been in my life.
-- Just a word of thanks for a creative and beautiful evening last night. Obvious care was put into every detail. It was a classy event, worthy of our Lord! Many blessings on the new book and the continued ministry of Yahweh Ballet!
MaryAnn Weed, Rochester, NY
I attended the performance to support my friend Sandy Arena and everyone that I had come to know so well. I expected to sit in the audience and support this production as a bystander who has never had an abortion. But then I realized within minutes of the opening that this was much more than an idea of trying to get women to choose life and about the forgiveness that God shows to those who have chosen abortion. I was almost immediately flooded with emotions, emotions that I could never explain to anyone. Feelings that I have kept bottled up for about 6 years. I had suffered the loss of an unborn child by miscarriage. I had always wondered, who my child would be, what my child would look like, who he or she would become in this world. I had always wondered if this baby lost would be a boy or girl or if maybe more than one child. I would never know that, because that child would never be, I would never hold that child, I would never kiss that child, I would never be able to nurture that child or hug that child or see that child’s first smile or first step or hear that first Mama. But after this performance I knew that because My God lives and breaths and has reassured me, that my child that I would never know on this earth is not abandoned, but is with my Lord in heaven. My child will never know pain, will never know loss, will never know what a skinned knee feels like. My child will always know the love of the Father and has been in the Fathers loving embrace since I miscarried. So, no, I've never chosen an abortion but have suffered the loss of an unborn child. And simply sitting and watching this production I feel a peace that I have not known before regarding my child that was not to be. So, how much more healing and peace and forgiveness and freedom can this production bring to those who have experienced abortion, who have made that choice? I tell you that you are not alone and that in Christ there is forgiveness and newness. I encourage young and old, women and men to attend a performance whether or not you have or are facing that choice.
Michael Kristan, father of 3, 3-Day Coordinator for the Cursillo Movement within the Rochester Diocese
I have not been a big ballet buff by any means but found the presentation of the story to be such a beautiful expression of the reality of abortion in a woman's life. It truly brought the whole process to life making for a graphic representation without the "shock and awe" techniques brought to bear through graphic imagery which can push people toward a decision divisively instead of through unity. This was a positive demonstration of life accompanied by a real testimony to the damage that occurs behind the lies of offering a healthcare service that conotates falsely a redemptive quality. This puts a face, name and aftermath on the victims created which a pro-choice platform is unwilling to acknowledge while fighting for increasing not only its legal reaches and profit taking but more heinously its public funding abilities violating our moral senses. If this current presidential administration will not speak for the victims it conspires to create, then it is surely time for the victims to tell their stories. God's power to the people! It is through concerted efforts as these that we shall overcome. The show can stand on its own merits with little need for additional comments to make the point. Powerful.
I KNOW these people/"actors". Sometimes the "actor" is only as effective as their reality/testimony/experience. Sandy Arena, though not in the movie, did write it and direct it. Her daughter, Alexis Gaetano is the main "actor". This film is heavy in healing, reality, testimony and experience. In other words, it is EFFECTIVE. There may be many HIDDEN in congregations who NEED to see this film. Have Kleenex on hand and those who know how to pray with compassion and those who know how to weep and laugh with those who weep and laugh. "Watch" the healing...take place...