Since its founding in 1956 by Mary Bee Jensen, BYU’s International Folk Dance Ensemble has become the largest and most versatile performing group of its kind in the United States. The ensemble showcases an array of international folk cultures in addition to presenting American folk traditions in festivals around the globe. Folk music group Mountain Strings adds their prowess to create a captivating, intercultural experience.
International Folk Dance Ensemble has performed in more than 54 countries, including the former USSR in 1978, South Korea for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the United States for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Among their many tour highlights over the years, they produced a show for German national television called “America Through Dance,” which reached 20 million viewers, and they performed in Monaco for Princess Grace and an audience of 31,000.
Current artistic director Jeanette Geslison said of the ensemble, “We play an important role in shaping and defining the future of traditional dance by giving voice to the past and present.” The group continues to build global relationships by participating in community outreach, exchanging folk music and dance, touring in foreign countries, and inviting other international folk dance experts to come to BYU to teach cultural traditions.