Chinese music and dance educators come to BYU for leadership workshop


Chinese administrators from music and dance schools all over mainland China visited campus for BYU’s Fifth Chinese Arts Education Leaders Workshop from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5.

Marilyn Berrett, BYU’s Dance Department chairwoman, explained that the leadership workshop is designed to strengthen relationships between the Chinese education art leaders and BYU faculty and students.

“Our effort is to build friendship, build understanding of differences, of strengths, and common areas of challenge so that we can help each other,” Berrett said.“We can strengthen our own practice at home and create more understanding and connection in today’s global world with our Chinese colleagues.”

The workshop classes highlight both the similarities and differences between technique, curriculum, leadership and more in American and Chinese music and dance education.

Carolyn Haynie, who coordinates events and public relations for BYU’s Fine Arts and Communications office, explained how important it was that the Chinese educators were able to visit BYU for the workshop and learn about the university’s culture.

“For those workshop participants that are here right now have a lot of influence in their perspective institutions,” Haynie said. “Going back home with an added perspective cultural value of the arts can only enhance their work. I think it will really excite them about their work.”

The relationship between BYU and Chinese art schools started in 1979, when BYU performing groups went to China to share their talents and skills. BYU performing groups have their 27th tour in China scheduled for May 2013. The leadership workshop opened an opportunity for Chinese educators to come to BYU and learn about dance education in America.

Sara Lee Gibb, a retired dance instructor, helped to start the first Chinese leadership workshop at BYU. Gibb taught a teacher to student relationship class to Chinese educators at the workshop.

“The people that are invited here are the top professionals in dance and music there,” Gibb said. “We’ve had 92 different presidents, directors, chairs of the top programs come from all over China in the past,” Gibb said. “We bring them here for 2 weeks and it’s been a wonderful experience for them to find out what BYU is all about.”

Gibb said that she is glad to have one on one experience with the Chinese educators.

“It’s also a chance  for them to get to know our culture,” she said. “I think it’s a beautiful exchange. They share with us; we share with them.”

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