The Marriott Center’s lights dimmed and words filled the arena, “There’s a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
When the the lights turned back on, and BYU dancers occupied a circular stage. On Tuesday, BYU held its annual dance assembly. The International Folk Dance Ensemble, Contemporary Dance Theatre, Theatre Ballet and Ballroom Dance Company troupes each performed one routine.
Before the dance performance the current BYUSA president, Ryan Greenburg, a junior majoring in business management and French, spoke to students about the service being rendered by the dancers and students’ need to serve.
“The dancers today, through their talents, are serving us,” Greenburg said. “We know the adage, ‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve.’ We must practice in the present so that we flourish in the future. We have a wonderful, sacred obligation to give back, be involved and serve others. There’s a myriad of opportunities and ways that we can do this.”
The Contemporary Dance Theatre performed a jazz routine that featured only five dancers. Amber Heaven, from Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, studying dance performance, is on the Contemporary Dance Theatre team at BYU. Since so few team members performed in this assembly, she got to enjoy the performance from the audience.
“What I really loved was the space usage,” Heaven said. “I haven’t seen the Marriott Center with [a circular] stage before, so that added an interesting element.”
Heaven also noted an unusual aspect of the Theatre Ballet’s performance that followed.
“They weren’t wearing their pointe shoes, which I’ve never seen before,” Heaven said. “That added a unique modern feel to it.”
The last group to perform was the Ballroom Company. Brandon Perry, a junior studying family life science, is on the BYU Ballroom Company. He explained that the company does two styles of dancing, Latin and standard, and Tuesday’s performance fit under the Latin category.
“It’s the medley that we do competitively, that we take around to the United States and international competitions,” he said. “The whole routine has five different dances all pieced into one – cha-cha, samba, a rumba, a paso doble and jive.”
Perry said he feels strongly the opportunity to dance at BYU provides a special means to serve others and share true joy.
“It’s a unique experience to be able to represent BYU, but also be able to represent The Church of Jesus Christ,” said Perry. “I love to dance but it’s even better to be able to share my love of dance through the gospel.”