BYU’s Ballroom Dance Company is taking more than two to tango on tour this summer—it’s taking an entire dance troupe. Starting on April 29, the company will spend three weeks performing in Chile and Argentina.
Included in the company’s new award-winning show, Swing ’n’ Sway, is a tango, “which we hope will be well received by the people of Argentina,” says director Curt Holman. The Argentine tango has become popular throughout the world, and yet the people of Argentina remain true to the tango’s roots. “A lot of the younger generation goes out dancing several nights of the week,” says BYU dancer Stephen Rallison. “The tango is also a well-known and respected art form for their people.”
In preparation for the tour, the Ballroom Dance Company’s members are taking a class to learn more about South American cultures. A few members of the company who have lived in Chile and Argentina while serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are excitedly contacting old friends and dusting off their Spanish to be ready to help their teammates communicate. Rallison, who served in Argentina, says, “I’ve also been researching more about the other parts of the country that I haven’t been to.” The team anticipates excellent food, art, and connections with the people of South America.
This tour will provide unique opportunities to strengthen relationships between BYU and various communities, governments, and churches. By working with the charity Coaniquem BCF in Santiago, Chile, the Ballroom Dance Company’s performances there will raise funds for children who have been victims of fire.
In Argentina, the municipal governments have been in close contact with the company to help secure venues for performances. Additionally, the Catholic Church has offered the Auditorio de Belgrano in Buenos Aires to the Ballroom Dance Company for their performances in the capital city.
The seed for this developing relationship with the religious communities in Argentina was planted when the Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish communities invited The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to participate in a humanitarian project in 2016. The Church brought resources, such as their satellite system, which helped coordinate the countrywide service. “[The religious communities] were very impressed,” says Rex Barrington, director of BYU Performing Arts Management. “It helped bring the service together and build relationships that weren’t there before.” The BYU group will be able to enhance relations with these religious communities through continued positive interaction.