Encore Winter 2015

International Folk Dance Ensemble

A European Stage

“Footin’ and Fiddlin’ ” lives up to its name as International Folk Dance Ensemble dancers and musicians perform this traditional clogging dance.

This July the International Folk Dance Ensemble will return to Europe, where they will perform at the International Folklore Festival in Karlovac, Croatia. “This is an internationally renowned dance festival,” says Colleen West, the ensemble’s artistic director. “It’s a big deal, with really high-caliber dance ensembles from all over the world.” The festival features several diverse groups from around the world, which will provide a rich dance experience.The tour doesn’t stop in Croatia. The dancers will also travel to Spain and represent BYU at the Festival Internacional de Folclore Ciudad de Burgos and the Festival Folklórico Internacional de Extremadura in Badajoz.Throughout the tour the group will showcase a variety of traditional American styles, including Southern, pioneer, waltz, clog, square dance, and Western line dance. Bringing such a diverse selection demonstrates the versatility of the team and their ability to tap into the cultural aspects of a country. That versatility goes a long way in making a name for the ensemble, according to West. “After other counties see our folk dancing they want us to come and perform for them,” she says. “It really makes an impact.”The group will also participate in dance exchanges, which provide invaluable opportunities for the ensemble to learn authentic folk dances from authentic folk dancers. “Learning a dance by seeing it in its native form is important so that you don’t miss out on the cultural details that truly make the dance what it is,” says West. “This contact with other folk dance groups is essential in understanding the dance of other cultures.”For some in the group this tour will be their last experience as members of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. Jason Checketts, a senior and a group leader on the team, is looking forward to ending his BYU career on such a good note. “It will be an emotional ride when this tour comes to end,” he says. “Dancing with the folk dance ensemble is something I will tell my kids about for the rest of my life.”