BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre taking love to new heights


The BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre wants to change perceptions of love with their upcoming performance, “The Thing About Love.”

As director of BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theater, Michelle Nielsen knew her group would be on the road performing for the month of February and chose to embrace and expand upon the traditional love theme.

Nielsen drew on choreographers on campus as well as her connections with other dance professionals to create a concert that touches on love in all its forms.

Dancers practice for 'The Thing About Love.' by Array.
[Sarah Hill] Dancers practice for “The Thing About Love.”
The dancers used a variety of traditional dance styles mixed with contemporary moves to show the many different aspects of love. The dance styles represented included: contemporary ballet in pointe shoes and a West Coast Swing, as well as an acrobatic piece. In addition to the traditionally romantic parts of love, the dancers convey the feelings of sisters daydreaming about love, an old woman reflecting on her life and God’s love for his children.

Assistant Director, Alisa Gillespie, encourages everyone to come see the show, even if contemporary dance isn’t a style that usually appeals to them.

“Whether you’re a grown man with five kids or you’re a university student, there’s a lot of fun music that people can connect to,” Gillespie said. “It’s not going to feel foreign, but it’s going to feel much like something they have heard before or seen before.”

Nielsen invited choreographers from the California based Diavolo Dance Theater to create a contemporary piece that incorporated acrobatics and the use of ballet bars. The visiting choreographers compared the ballet bars to the standards of LDS church members.

“So many people would look at our high standards and say ‘Oh that’s so limiting.’ And we say ‘Oh look what all we can do because of that,” Nielsen said.

Aubry Madsen, a member of the CDT and a junior majoring in dance education, enjoys how the show expands the concept of love for Valentine’s Day.

“You think of love and the first thing I think of is romance and Valentine’s and hearts and flowers and cute stuff,” Madsen said. “I think one thing we’re trying to accomplish is we’re showing these different kinds of love. There are some pieces that are really romantic and beautiful and there are some that more like quirky and flirty and some that are more spiritual.”

“The Thing About Love” will be performed Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., in the Pardoe Theater in Harris Fine Arts Building. Tickets can be purchased through the Fine Arts Ticket Office.

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