American Folk Dance Ensemble

Dancing on the Danube

The American Folk Dance Ensemble teaches an American line dance to various European folk dance groups.

This year marked the 28th annual Danube Carnival, where the BYU American Folk Dance Ensemble was one of three international performance groups participating with some of Hungary’s best dancers and musicians. While at the festival, the students spent their time performing, enjoying the company of fellow dancers, eating delicious new foods (with goulash being the clear favorite), and appreciating the performances of the Duna Arts Ensemble, which is Hungary’s top professional folk dance ensemble, and Arsiani, the state song and dance group from Georgia. BYU dancers were honored to perform alongside these world-class artists.

Although their performance schedule was strenuous, the ensemble treasured the opportunity to share traditional American dances with enthusiastic audiences. The group presented classics such as the Charleston, country swing, and clogging. In addition to performing onstage and at landmarks in Budapest, the students filmed their performance of the Hungarian dance “Dulandé,” which Duna Art Ensemble director Zsolt Juhász choreographed last year when he visited BYU. The ensemble was both nervous and excited to share the result of their many hours of practice with Hungarian audiences.

Levi Hancock and Brielle Anderson dance a Virginia reel at Heroes’ Square in Budapest.

After several busy days at the carnival, the ensemble traveled to Vienna early Saturday morning and spent the day exploring the famous city. On Sunday they enjoyed a relaxing church service in the morning and later attended a concert by the well-known Schoenbrunn Palace Orchestra, which included masterful singing and dancing.

Members of the American Folk Dance Ensemble and Mountain Strings celebrate Braden Duke and Jade Madison’s engagement at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna.

BYU dancers and musicians wave to the audience at the open-air theater on Margaret Island in Budapest.