After a tour to central Europe in the summer of 2011, this year the International Folk Dance Ensemble will take its renowned show, The Gathering
, to Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
There is never a moment of rest for the team; they have been learning show material for the 2012 season since last August. Each member of the folk dance team has been carefully selected through an extensive audition process in order to join this tour. The team not only meets three afternoons per week but participates in shows in the western region throughout the school year. “Our big show, Christmas Around the World, premiered some new material and put it to the test,” said artistic director Jeanette Geslison. “It was successful. Now we are learning even more new material to add to our Texas tour.”
In The Gathering, dances from countries such as Israel, Romania, Ireland, India, and the United States showcase a spectacle of traditional music and dance, featuring exquisite costuming and stunning choreography. This year the group is adding folk dances from Mexico and a southern waltz from the Civil War era, highlighting cultures widespread in Texas. Danielle Murray, a dancer for the group and a native of Georgia, said she is especially excited for her team members to learn about and embrace the culture of the South. “I remember as a young girl watching lovely women in hoop skirts dance Southern waltzes in parades and pageants,” Murray said. “It was so beautiful! Now I get to be a part of creating magical memories for young girls in Texas.”
Stops on the Texas tour include the cities of El Paso, Midland, Dallas, Houston, and Laredo.
Murray says she has embraced the opportunity to study other cultures through her participation. “I really feel that cultural awareness is very important as the United States continues to be a gathering place for people of all nationalities and backgrounds,” Murray said. “As the people of Texas come to the show, I hope they will have a greater desire to love all their neighbors by learning about their different cultures, customs, and beliefs.”
Geslison invites Southerners to come and enjoy the show. “Come and experience the cultural diversity that our show has to offer. Only rarely can you experience so many cultural dance and music forms together on one stage,” Geslison said. “Come and see the extraordinary group of BYU students and the talents and energy they have to share.”