BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT) spent time in Spain, France, and Belgium this summer connecting with people through music, dance, and song. Although delays in both Salt Lake City and Amsterdam prevented CDT from meeting their original arrival times, they reached Barcelona, Spain, in time to experience the city nightlife and a lively performance at Teatro Flamenco Barcelona City Hall. On Monday the dancers and technicians established a rigorous routine in preparation for the upcoming Deltebre Dansa 2022 festival. Not even their six-hour daily practices in the scorching Spanish summer could detract from the joy they received through dancing and making new friends from around the world. Speaking of the friends he made at the festival, BYU dancer Johnathan Tanner said, “They each bring their emotions, experience, and knowledge of dance—and they express and share it, a lot of times without even speaking the same language.”
Tuesday evening provided a much-needed break from the sweltering heat of the festival as CDT joined the missionaries and local community for an informal performance and workshop at Biblioteca Marcel·lí Domingo in Tortosa, Spain. CDT danced on a glass floor above exposed ancient Roman ruins, with more than 80 audience members packed in between stacks of books.
The second week of the group’s tour began with a memorable performance at Les Pyramides Congrès near Paris for an enthusiastic crowd of local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU humanities students, and refugee children from Groupe Résidis, an organization that works with asylum-seeking refugees. Dancer Jake Hendershot recalled, “After the show, I was swarmed with the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen. We ended up onstage, hugging and dancing in a beautiful moment of human connection. I didn’t speak their language, they didn’t speak mine, yet we communicated on a level of love.”
After spending a day visiting monuments, museums, and cathedrals in Paris, the dancers departed for Brussels. On Friday evening in the Wolubilis theatre, they brought their tour to a rousing conclusion by performing for more than 100 delegates, ambassadors, and guests with connections to the European Union. CDT artistic director Keely Song Glenn summed up the tour by stating, “Traveling with the students and seeing them perform in front of a live, international audience seemed surreal after these years of travel restrictions. It was an honor to witness their generosity both on and off the stage as they interacted and bonded with members of the communities.”