BYU dancers swayed to the rhythms of summer


BYU’s dance groups had a busy summer that kept their technique on pointe for Fall Semester.

Ballroom Dance Company

The Ballroom Dance Company began its summer with three hours of daily rehearsal until the end of May, when the team headed to England to compete in the Blackpool Dance Festival. From there, the team performed around England, Scotland and Wales.

Many team members took a break from dance after the tour and focused on work or school, according to Jordan Ward, who has been in the Ballroom Dance Company for a year.

However, Ward kept practicing. He made time to take his fiancee, who doesn’t dance, to the Richards Building to show off his moves.

Things picked up for the ballroom dancers in August. The team started rehearsing together to teach dances to new members and prepare for a California competition that took place the first weekend of Fall Semester.

Theatre Ballet

Theatre Ballet dancers took private classes and attended intensives during the summer months. Theatre Ballet’s artistic director Shayla Bott said it’s imperative for ballet dancers to keep up their art, claiming it only takes three days for a ballerina to get out of shape.

The entire group started the summer by attending the Regional Dance America/Pacific festival, where the dancers performed for peers and took classes.

Some members went to the Regional Dance America National Choreography Intensive, where they learned a new piece of choreography every day and performed it that same night.

“It’s good for them just to be able to learn what it means to be a professional and that you learn it and you put it on stage right away,” Bott said.

Theatre Ballet began rehearsing one week before classes started.

International Folk Dance Ensemble

The International Folk Dance Ensemble kicked off the summer with a two-week performing trip to Nauvoo, Illinois. The group rehearsed for three days before heading out.

A few students spent time learning about dances from around the world. Some went to a camp in Stockton, California, where they attended Turkish and Russian dance classes. Other students went to a Hungarian dance camp in Seattle.

“It’s a wonderful way for these students to become more versatile and become more specialized in specific dance forms,” said Jeanette Geslison, International Folk Dance Ensemble artistic director.

Students taught the new dance techniques to the rest of the ensemble when everyone returned from their summer break.

Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT)

BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre didn’t start its summer with a tour—but that doesn’t mean the members haven’t been working hard. CDT dancers kept in shape by attending workshops, intensive summer programs and other fitness classes.

Some dancers attended workshops with dance companies based in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, while others taught teenagers at BYU’s intensive contemporary dance camp.

Michelle Leavitt, a recent BYU graduate and former CDT dancer, taught classes on improvisation and composition at this summer’s camp.

“I got to facilitate the creativity of the students, being able to help the kids find it in themselves and be able to come to understand themselves better through dance,” Leavitt said.

A few dancers attended the New Century Dance Project in Salt Lake City with CDT director Nathan Baldwin. There, Baldwin and the BYU dancers attended classes and performed for other Utah dance companies.

CDT dancers came back together and started rehearsing two weeks before classes began.



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