WorlDance brings cultures, rival schools together

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    By Jennifer Olson

    SALT LAKE CITY – The school rivalry between BYU and the University of Utah dimmed for an evening as dancers from both schools joined together Thursday, to perform WorlDance 2004 at Kingsbury Hall.

    The performance bridged cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia, through song and dance numbers from BYU Folk Dancers, the University of Utah”s Character Dance Ensemble, the Dionysios Greek Dancers, a Persian musician and a Persian dancer.

    “It was spectacular because it was really an infusion of cultures,” said Adam Marriot, a junior majoring in pre-management, from Salt Lake City who performed with the BYU Folk Dancers.

    The performance opened with Lloyd Miller, who spoke to the audience about understanding other cultures through their artistic traditions.

    “One night a year, there is peace between cultures,” Miller said. “Peace not in the world, but on this stage.”

    Throughout the evening, dancers gracefully twirled around the Hall stage in hot pink, lime green and turquoise-colored costumes.

    Between her two dance numbers “Tilliana” and “Sri Ganeshya Dhimahi,” Persian dancer Radha Carman talked to the audience about the beauty of dance.

    “The hands and eyes are ornaments that highlight the feet and arms,” she said.

    WorlDance not only bridged the cultures of the Middle East and Central Asia, but allowed students from BYU and the University of Utah to develop new friendships.

    “It put us on common ground because we were there as dancers,” said Kristina Macbeth, a University of Utah graduate student, studying ballet with a character dance emphasis.

    Marriott said he enjoyed getting to know the University of Utah dancers when he was backstage.

    “It was fun just to talk with them – to compare thoughts on dancing and how they do things,” he said. “It”s not the big BYU – Utah rivalry you hear about in football.”

    Marriott said that when dancers from the two schools first saw each other backstage, they kind of stared each other down.

    “The moment you start talking, it”s totally normal,” he said.

    Through the Indian, Armenian, Iranian and Turkish dances performed at WorlDance, people were provided with an opportunity to learn about the artistic traditions of other cultures.

    “I hope that people took home a greater respect for where people come from,” Marriott said.

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