Italian ballroom dancers coach BYU

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    By Lynne Marie Judd

    Two of the top ballroom dance professionals in the world are bringing the passion of Italy to BYU.

    Guest choreographers Massimo Giorgianni and Alessia Manfredini from Italy have been working with BYU’s Ballroom Dance Company this week.

    Giorgianni and Manfredini recently placed third in the World Professional Championships, said Curt Holman, ballroom dance division administrator.

    The dance department is very fortunate to have Giorgianni and Manfredini come from Italy because they are one of the most innovative and creative couples in the professional ballroom field, Holman said.

    The Ballroom Dance Company directors have had their eyes on Giorgianni and Manfredini since 1993, Holman said.

    That was the year BYU hosted the World Amateur Ballroom Dance Championships where the top two couples in each country compete. At that competition, the Giorgianni and Manfredini made their first finals, Holman said.

    The couple is choreographing a new standard formation medley which will be presented by eight couples at the British Standard Championships in May, Holman said.

    The dancers will then tour Scandinavian countries for a month, Holman said.

    This is the first time Giorgianni and Manfredini have choreographed for a formation team.

    “Generally, I never really like to watch formation team,” Giorgianni said. “Now that I am working inside I appreciate how much work it is to do it.”

    Creating a medley is a process so involved that it only happens at BYU every three years, Holman said.

    The team spent 20 hours in choreography sessions this week and the dance won’t be ready for performance until January or February, Holman said.

    “This week is a lot like boot camp,” Holman said.

    “We’ll do 20 different versions of the same thing before we stick with one,” said Elizabeth Larsen, 24, from Sandy, Utah. Larsen is in her last year in the MBA program at BYU and has participated in ballroom at BYU for seven years.

    Creating a medley requires many people working together.

    Composer Kurt Bestor has written for BYU’s medleys for 12 years and is writing the music for this medley, Holman said.

    “This is a real collaboration,” Bestor said.

    Working with the musician and choreographer together is exciting because accents can be added to the music to emphasize the choreography, Holman said.

    Bestor compares working on the medleys to the days of Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire.

    The composer would bring a piece that wasn’t finished then they would choreograph, and then the composer would finish it, Bestor said.

    “They have given me several ideas tonight, and then I get to take it home,” Bestor said.

    A standard medley must include all five standard dances: Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz, Holman said.

    Working with a composer ensures that the transitions to each new dance are seamless, Holman said.

    BYU leads the world not only in dancing, but in its music and use of themes, Bestor said.

    The theme and music for the new medley are Italian which makes Ballroom Dance Company even more fortunate to have Giorgianni and Manfredini choreographing this year, Holman said.

    Giorgianni and Manfredini bring the passion of Italians to dancing, he said.

    “When this is done it will be very romantic, very large with a lot of mochismo,” Bestor said

    Bestor said he will travel to Prague later this month to record the finished music with a 71 piece orchestra.

    Giorgianni and Manfredini will showcase their talents at the BYU Dancesport Festival competition Friday and Saturday night.

    Tickets to the competition and more information are available at the HFAC ticket office or by calling 378-4322.

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