Student and Alumni Spotlights for the Dance Program

Matthew Palfenier, Dance Major

Name: Matthew Palfenier
Major:  Dance
Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Fact: I am a super nerd at heart. I get a ton of enjoyment from reading biblical commentaries, watching cartoons/anime, anything Cirque du Soleil related, among countless documentaries. I love playing video games, surfing blogging sites, and experimenting with photo/video editing software.

I chose to come to Belhaven because...  this is where my Dad, the LORD, has led me in this season of my life. I was amazed to cross paths with a school that is able to embrace the arts in the way that it is meant to be embraced, while still giving students the opportunity (in fact greatly encourages us) to apply a life that is totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. For a long time I have struggled with my role as “an artist within the church” and how my relationship with Jesus influences that. Since being here I have discovered that the dance experience is a legitimate act of worship and is deeply rooted in raw and open communication between a dancer and the LORD. Like with any form of worship all participants, including the observer, is able to take part in a very tangible way, and I have seen Jesus do some amazing things through dance.

One relationship that has meant a lot to me while attending Belhaven... Well, I do not think I could ever possibly name just one. All of our professors in the Dance Department have gone so far above and beyond that I am always amazed that I have the privilege of taking class from them each and every day. Equally, my relationship with other students has enriched my life so much. I never thought that I would be so tightly connected to so many different kinds of talented people. These are people that I will be in contact with for a very long time. My relationship with the LORD has developed a lot since I have been here, through times of success and times of trial. I see a difference in how I experience him day to day and I could not ask for anything more than that.

Because of my degree from Belhaven University... I will have the opportunity to apply a large amount of skill into my career as a performer, instructor, artisan, and witness. The subjects that I am exploring right now are priceless. They have pushed me to try things, take risks, and find the LORD’s perfect design in all facets of life. I am learning that I will always be learning and that is more than welcomed.

One word to describe my experience at Belhaven: Indispensable