World of Dance gets students on their feet

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Starting Wednesday, audiences can enjoy a feast of color and sound for the eyes and ears at BYU’s World of Dance concert.

World of Dance is a concert put on by the BYU Dance Department every year that features the top dance companies, including Contemporary Dance Theater, Ballroom Dance Company,  Theater Ballet and the International Folk Dance Ensemble. The concert, which takes place in the de Jong Concert Hall in the HFAC,  has gained many fans over the years and has become an anticipated event.

It’s a “best of” for the BYU Dance Department, explained Pat Debenham, an artistic director in the Dance Department.

“It’s the world in a nutshell; in an hour and a half of dance,” Debenham said. “The best of all of the genres in the dance department. It feels like a kaleidoscope of dance.”

The concert production varies every year, said Colleen West, associate professor of dance and tap dance program coordinator.

“The event has the same groups perform each year but each group performs different dances,” West said. “Every 2 or 3 years, there is a tap dance number that I choreograph. This year I have choreographed a tap dance to ‘Dance to the Music,’ by Sly & the Family Stone. The theme of the dance is disco and shufflin’.”

The different companies as well as the different choreographed dances make for a varied and interesting show. The International Folk Dance Ensemble will examine different cultures in their performances, said Jeanette Geslison, artistic director of the International Folk Dance Ensemble.

“Our dancers will show a classical Indian dance, the culture of India in the classical form,” Geslison said. “It’s more related to the religious beliefs, with a lot of hand and facial movements.”

Every member of each company has made sacrifices. The International Folk Dance Ensemble had an early arrival to school in order to begin practice, said Reed Carter, a member of the ensemble.

“We came to school two weeks early and we started practicing eight hours a day,” Carter said. “We usually started at eight or nine in the morning and we were out by four or five in the afternoon. We did that for the two weeks before school started.”

Carter said the sacrifice is completely worth it.

“I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” he said. “It’s the most fun that I have here at BYU.”

World of Dance runs Wednesday through Saturday, with performances in the de Jong concert hall at 7:30 p.m.

“In the past, most performances sell out,” West said. “It is a good idea to purchase tickets as soon as possible.”

Debenham said the concert will surely be one to make you tap  your foot.

“It will make all students want to dance,” Debenham said. “It’s always an event that brings people to their feet.”

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