Do-si-do, right-hand star and left-hand star were just a few of the dance moves BYU students learned on Friday evening in the Joseph F. Smith Building courtyard.
Education in Zion hosted Old Nauvoo dance night to celebrate Mormon heritage and to provide a fun atmosphere for students. Special guest Colleen West, of the Dance Department at BYU, led the dance instruction for the evening.
The evening began in the Education in Zion gallery with a love stories scavenger hunt. Students used clues placed in the gallery to learn about the love stories of former leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the pioneer era.
“I loved the scavenger hunt,” said Gina Governale, a senior transfer student studying elementary education. “I love being there (in the Education in Zion gallery). You can totally feel the Spirit.”
After the scavenger hunt, students gathered in the JFSB courtyard for an evening of social dancing. The evening was inspired by Mormon heritage. Gallery staff hoped students would gain a greater appreciation for their culture while having an enjoyable evening.
“Who doesn’t like Nauvoo?” said Heather Seferovich, Education in Zion gallery curator. “This is what they did in Church history — this is why it’s fun. We wanted to put fun and learning together.”
According to the Education in Zion gallery educator, Reggie Voyce, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would dance in the temples prior to their dedication. It provided them cheap entertainment and fun.
“The Saints believed in working hard; they believed in having fun,” said Voyce, a returning student studying recreational management at BYU. “The gospel is about how we have fun together.”
Students learned several partner dances and group dances from the 1830s era under the direction of West. Once the first few awkward steps were taken, participants danced the night away, embracing the culture of those who came before them.
“We’re all just learning together,” said Rebecca Soelberg, a sophomore studying pre-music dance theatre. “It’s just fun and a new experience for everyone.”