BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre is preparing to astound its European audiences with memorable choreography and to help others learn the art of dancing.
The Europe tour will include stops in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. Through performances and teaching opportunities, the dancers’ tour seeks to inspire audiences, teach helpful workshops and give the performers a valuable international experience.
According to the the German press release for Contemporary Dance Theatre, the group will begin performing in the Czech Republic for the New Prague Dance Festival in July. Group members will provide dance workshops for local European youth as well as master classes and performances during their time in the Czech Republic.
They will then travel to Budapest to help teach dance to students and to perform at the Hungarian Bakelite MultiArt Center. Three days later the group will perform in Austria. After this performance, the dancers set to be accompanied by local youth for a flash mob performance n Vienna.
The tour will end with a final performance in Germany in July. In the past, the Contemporary Dance Theatre group has performed in Argentina, Chile, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Turkey, Israel, South Africa and Australia.
Contemporary Dance Theatre Director and BYU dance instructor Nathan Balser said the group will get to experience a range of cultures through the festival in Prague. “This is a competition of sorts where dance groups from all over the world come together to show dances, take class together and share cultural experiences,” he said.
He said the BYU group’s Budapest audience will be mostly made up of Church members from surrounding areas but mentioned that anyone is welcome to attend. The Vienna flash mob will consist of the BYU dance members and Austrian YSA members. The group’s final show in Germany will be a “very serious and artistic dance show” for the dance community and members there, according to Balser.
Heidi Jorgensen, senior and dance performance major, said each tour is different. Throughout her three years in the company, Jorgensen has toured in Colorado, Iowa, Illinois and Beijing. She explained the base schedule the group has followed in past tours and will follow while on the Europe tour.
“The schedule was usually: get on the bus, load in for a show, set up the show, perform, take down the show, stay with a host family and get on the bus the next morning to go to a new city,” she said.
Jorgensen finds talking to the audience and getting feedback on the group’s performance rewarding.
“It is truly remarkable to listen to their reactions and feel their energy as we talk about the show,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from the audience.”
Senior, dance major and third-year Contemporary Dance Theatre member Colin Holbrook said the upcoming tour in Europe will be both a spiritual and fun experience. He is excited to perform in the New Prague Dance Festival. The group will perform in each city it visits, with little time for sightseeing, but it will give open-attendance firesides.
According to Holbrook, Contemporary Dance Theatre has been a major influence on his life and college career. He said performing on the international scale has built up his experience and is prepping him for his future career. He also said the dance team has helped him work hard to develop his skills and talents.
“Having the opportunity to perform so much and to perform internationally in small, large and even professional venues has helped prepare me for my future in dance,” he said.
Demi Eastman is a senior dance major and team member who has never been to Europe before. “This tour will be my last experience with BYU and my very last time performing with the Contemporary Dance Theatere, so I’m just wanting to give it my all,” Eastman said.
She said she has gained memorable experiences from her time performing with the group. She also said she has been inspired from her involvement with Contemporary Dance Theatre and hopes to incorporate dance into the rest of her life.
“I perceive dance as a form of service rather than entertainment, and it has shown me that there is always more love to give, ” Eastman said. “The fact that we have the capacity to do that through dance is incredible.”