Encore Fall 2022

Ballroom Dance Company

Dancing to Help Children

The Ballroom Dance Company performs for children from Hallesche Jugendwerkstatt, a charitable organization in Halle, Germany.

For three weeks during spring 2022, the BYU Ballroom Dance Company visited Europe to perform, sightsee, and host devotionals and community outreach events in 10 cities across Belgium, France, and Germany.

After arriving in Amsterdam on Sunday, April 24, the group put on three performances that week, including one for European Union ambassadors and dignitaries at the Wolubilis theatre in Belgium, dazzling their audiences with incredible costumes, choreography, and music.

BYU student Rebekah Seely teaches youth to dance at KMC Onstage in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

At the end of the first week, the group set off for Paris, where they held another performance and spent the rest of the weekend exploring the Palace of Versailles, enjoying the Eiffel Tower, and feeling the Spirit in the Paris France Temple. One dancer stated, “I felt a very real, very deep connection to Christ and came to the realization that He is everywhere and very aware of all of His children and all of His disciples.”

The group then traveled to Kaiserslautern, Germany, to hold a youth workshop and host two performances, all on the same day. In the days following, the group experienced the culture of western Germany held another youth workshop, and gave two more unforgettable performances. Later in the week the company attended a lunch and activity with the Braunschweig Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that was organized for them by former BYU ballroom dancer Amanda Luschin. The evening was concluded in Berlin with a performance, workshop, and after-party arranged by a former member of the BYU Singers, Jennie Litster. The company celebrated their success and reminisced with Litster about their shared BYU experiences.

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company visits the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Ballroom Dance Company arrived in Halle, Germany, on Monday, May 9, and met with schoolchildren from Hallesche Jugendwerkstatt, a charitable organization in Halle, where they played games with the children and taught them how to dance. Later that evening the company presented a full-length concert hosted by the Halloren Chocolate Factory; donations and ticket sales generated a check in the amount of €40,142 euros, which was given to Hallesche Jugendwerkstatt. Director Curt Holman remarked, “If you ask any ballroom dancer, they will say [the benefit concert]is among their most cherished memories of the tour.”

This sentiment was echoed by dancer Brynn Stapley, who recounted her experience being hugged by a particularly shy young girl after the show. The little girl’s mother was moved to tears because she had never seen her daughter be so outgoing. Stapley later stated, “I’m still in contact with their family. I felt that God wanted me and this little girl to be friends.”

Dancers Jenna McShinsky, Liesel Hanse, and Laura Stirland smile with audience members after a performance in Brussels, Belgium.