BYU dance department takes evidance to a new level with live music

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Jaren Wilkey/BYU
BYU student practices for Evidance. The dancers will be participating with musicians to add a new element to the performance. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

Five main performing groups of the BYU dance department join together in a single performance to display a small portion of each group’s talent at the beginning of each year. The dance department has taken the visual performance to a whole new level this year by adding live music.

This year the directors of eviDANCE have decided to incorporate live music by way of the BYU music program and other local musicians.

Marilyn Berrett, the show producer, said the energy would be magnified with the added bonus of live music.

“There is a transformative power in all live music, so when you mix the two together you double the potential for it to reach deep,” Berrett said.

Performing alongside the dancers will be pianists, a blue grass band and even BYU’s a cappella group Vocal Point. Berrett said she believes this new element will add energy to the program because the music will be as diverse as the dance.

Edwin Austin, the artistic director of eviDANCE, became excited as he talked about this newly added element.

“We have never done this before. In the past the dancers create the energy of the event and invite the audience to the party,” Austin said. “Now we’re adding the musicians to their numbers, telling them to bring their own energy, and watching the event become even more of an experience.”

Janielle Christensen, the artistic director of Living Legends, shared her own personal enthusiasm for this year’s event.

“Anytime you bring live music it brings a sizzle and an addition of life and energy to a show that is already spectacular,” Christensen said. “We always try to think of something that will give the performance a unique twist and this year we have really mastered that aspect.

BYU student practices for "Evidance". (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)
BYU student practices for Evidance. The program runs Sept. 17 and 18.(Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

The performance will include Living Legends, the International Folk Dance Ensemble, Ballroom Dance Company, Contemporary Dance Theater and Theater Ballet. Assembling a performance of this scale after three weeks of practice is a daunting task, and a feat most universities would not attempt. The BYU staff have great faith in their students, according to Austin.

Austin finds himself impressed by the dancers that come into the BYU dance program.

“They have only been training this performance for a few short weeks the public might think, but the reality of it all is that these dancers have been training for this all their lives,” Austin said. “They don’t just dance, they live and breath dance, and that’s why the performance has so much more life.”

The directors are adamant about one thing: this performance is for everyone. The program’s variety means that there will always be a part for each person. The show begins Thursday, Sept. 17 and continues until Sept. 19, with two shows on Saturday. The directors confirmed that this is the only performance this year in which all groups will perform together in a visually entertaining experience.

“What would I say to people about going to this event? This is a one of a kind opportunity, don’t pass it up. Then let us know what you think,” Berrett said.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office in the HFAC, the matrix center or online through arts.byu.edu. Tickets cost between eight to 15 dollars depending on the choice of seating.

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