The effects of COVID-19 have been hard on everyone involved, including BYU performing groups, who were left without an audience for more than a year when the winter 2020 semester turned to exclusively online learning and in-person performances were canceled indefinitely. Performing Arts Management (PAM), like many others, learned to adapt during these uncertain times. We changed tour schedules and implemented safety precautions so groups could meet in person, and BYU students and staff members remained hopeful that they could find ways to uplift others through song and dance again.
After seeing the success that our music and dance groups were having with virtual performances, PAM brought together BYU’s Ballroom Dance Company, International Folk Dance Ensemble, Living Legends, Vocal Point, and Young Ambassadors to put on a global virtual tour.
The 2021 tour spanned a little over a week, from April 28 to May 4. Most days of the tour consisted of alternating performances from each of the five groups to account for different time zones, and two of the days were reserved for broadcasting devotionals. In addition to their performances, the ensembles worked with Stitching Hearts Worldwide, a humanitarian organization founded in Utah, to weave and distribute sleeping mats made from plastic bags to refugees, the homeless, and disaster victims.
In total, people in 77 countries were able to view the tour, with a daily average audience of nearly 20,000 people. This opportunity was unique not only because of the extenuating circumstances caused by COVID-19 but also because the groups, previously accustomed to touring and performing individually, were able to come together to gain spiritual strength and uplift audiences in a time of global uncertainty.
Click here to watch a video about the Virtual Tour.