BYU dance department presents ‘Christmas around the World’


BYU’s department of dance will present “Christmas around the World — Timeless Stories” on Dec. 5 and 6.  The performance will feature the International Folk Dance Ensemble with special guest Living Legends.

Mark A. Philbrick
The International Folk Dance team dances in its performance of “Christmas around the World — Timeless Stories” that will be performed this weekend in the Marriott Center. The dances will feature diverse cultures and vibrant costumes. (Mark A. Philbrick)

“Christmas around the World” will showcase holiday traditional dances highlighting ethnic diversity through music, dancing and singing. The performance will feature 200 dancers, singers and musicians, many colorful costumes and specific stylized choreography.

Dances from all over the world will be featured, including Russian, Haitian, Ukrainian, Turkish, American-style hoedown, Mexican, Polish, Scottish and many others. The dances are original and traditional dances performed in these multiple countries.

“‘Christmas around the World’ is awesome because just by watching the dancers and seeing the costumes you are able to learn about the culture,” said Mary Beth Johnson, a dancer in “Christmas around the World.” “You can learn how conservative the cultures are, how they show gratitude, what they praise and who they worship. It is interesting to learn about all the different dances.”

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the International Folk Dance Ensemble as a touring ensemble. The performance will also be the 55th anniversary of the “Christmas around the World” performance at BYU.

Special guest Living Legends will perform four or five dances with the International Folk Dance ensemble. The group will be able to add a lot to the performance and express its culture as the other dancers do so as well.

“At BYU a lot of people have served missions in the countries that we are representing,” said Johnson. “Through dance, students can learn more or they can just enjoy it because the dancing is just simply entertaining.”

In her fourth year as artistic director, Jeanette Geslison said in a press release, “Countless stories have been told during the 55-year running of this concert. Thousands of dancing feet and smiling faces have participated in and witnessed the spectacular scope of unity embodied in this production. BYU’s remarkable folk dance and music students have always been — and continue to be — the heart and soul of ‘Christmas around the World.'”

The performances will be on  Dec. 5–6 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2:00 p.m.on Saturday. Prices range from $10 to $20, and the performance will be held in the Marriott Center. Tickets are available at the BYU Ticket Office in the Harris Fine Arts Center or the Marriott Center, and by phone at 801-422-2981.

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