American Folk Dance Ensemble

Parades and Performances

BYU Folk Dancer Levi Hancock stuns the crowd and his fellow performers with his solo at a night festival performance in San Sebastián del Oeste, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee.

On April 28, amidst the lively atmosphere of Mexico’s Vallarta Azteca International Folk Dance Festival, BYU’s Folk Dance Ensemble kicked off their tour by dancing American folk numbers in a spirited parade attended by thousands. Following the parade, they took the stage at the festival’s opening ceremony.

The next day, the ensemble engaged with the local community at the Baila Conmigo event, where they demonstrated moves, danced with the public, and spread joy and cultural appreciation. Later that day, the ensemble delivered an energetic performance at Teatro Vallarta that left the audience in awe.

BYU Folk Dance Ensemble performs at Los Arcos del Malecón Amphitheater in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

On April 30, the ensemble participated in a photo rally with other dance groups, adding to the festive atmosphere of the Puerto Vallarta folk celebrations. The BYU directors and two students also had the honor of presenting to local authorities several gifts and a BYU flag as symbols of friendship and goodwill. Meanwhile, another pair of BYU dancers met with a local television station to do a demonstration of American dance. The ensemble continued to shine later that evening with a performance at Los Arcos del Malecón Amphitheater in front of a packed audience.

The next afternoon, the BYU group spread their magic to the town of Tomatlán, where the ensemble participated in another lively parade and delivered yet another performance that thrilled a crowd of over 800. The event was attended by the president of the International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts, who raved about the group’s fantastic performance.

BYU Folk Dancers perform their clogging number outside of a middle school in Puerto Vallarta for an audience of more than 700 students.

A day of spreading joy and exchanging cultures followed on May 3 as the ensemble performed at a local middle school. The school children in turn gave presentations about different states in Mexico, while the BYU students listened intently and asked questions about customs and cultures. The Folk Dancers later delivered an enchanting performance in Ixtapa, where they danced alongside an Aztec dance group.

To enjoy their Saturday, the ensemble ventured to San Sebastián del Oeste, where they explored the town, which has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and shared an uplifting performance with the locals.

Folk Dance Ensemble and Mountain Strings pose for a photo at a middle school in Puerto Vallarta prior to interacting with students and performing.

The festival culminated on Sunday, May 5, with a meaningful religious ceremony for world peace, where the groups united to sing songs in a message of harmony; Folk Dance Ensemble sang an arrangement of “Irish Blessing.” The closing ceremony at the La Lija Cultural Center marked the end of a successful festival, filled with unforgettable performances by all the groups who participated.

BYU Folk Dance Ensemble’s journey through Puerto Vallarta was nothing short of magical, and they look forward to more performances and new adventures in the southern United States next week!

BYU students on Folk Dance Ensemble share one of their dance numbers in a plaza in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

BYU Folk Dancers perform in the Vallarta Azteca International Folk Dance Festival closing ceremony at La Lija Cultural Center in Mexico.