July 19, 2015
The Folk Dance Ensemble had a busy week participating at the International Folklore Festival in Burgos, Spain. It was the 39th annual festival in the city, which is a huge event with hundreds of volunteers, dancers and musicians. Each evening performance was for an audience of nearly 4,000 people, in addition to being broadcast live to three million viewers. The group spent one morning teaching American round and line dances in the town square to approximately 200 people of all ages, including 150 children. An instant smile appeared on a little boy's face when one of the BYU dancers let him try on a cowboy hat! <h6>Each evening performance was for an audience of nearly 4,000 people, in addition to being broadcast live to three million viewers.</h6> The highlight of the festival was when the BYU and Cuban dancers and musicians performed together on stage as the finale number. The director of the festival, Regina Penacova, indicated that the festival in Burgos was honored to have this historical event take place in Europe, on their stage, in their city. The two groups received a standing ovation that seemed to last forever. The next day the Folk Dance Ensemble was pictured on the front page of the newspaper and broadcast on the local news. The Folk Dance Ensemble met with the LDS Branch in Burgos on a Saturday morning, sharing dance and music with the local members, missionaries and investigators. Two dancers (also Mormon) from the New Zealand folk group participating at the festival joined the BYU group at the branch activity. They sang beautiful songs from their native country, adding to the contribution from BYU. While the folk dancers interacted and danced with the local members, several members of the group presented an impromptu performance at a nursing home just around the corner from the meetinghouse of the Burgos Branch. The band played bluegrass music and sang to them. A mother from Utah forwarded a section of her missionary's email to the artistic director concerning the positive impact of the Folk Dance Ensemble: "They were able to bear testimony through the way they look and dress, the way they act, and the way they treat others, and finally by the light of Christ they shared through the glow of their eyes and the spirit felt when around them."READ MORE
The Folk Dance Ensemble marches through the streets of Burgos, Spain during a festival parade.
The BYU Folk Dancers share the stage with a group representing Cuba during a joint performance at the Burgos, Spain International Folkloric Festival.
Members of the Folk Dance Ensemble teach dances from the USA to local LDS Church members.
Folk Dance members dance with members of a local nursing home during an impromptu performance.
The Folk Dance Band, Mountain Strings, plays during a "band only" concert to a standing room only audience in Burgos, Spain.
The Folk Dance Ensemble performs on the main stage at Burgos, Spain during the closing ceremonies of the festival.
This past week brought Contemporary Dance Theatre’s Central European Tour to a close. The group’s travels have been exciting and enlightening for all involved, and they were disappointed to see them end. The week started off with a good-bye to the marvelous city of Budapest and short drive to nearby Slovakia. The company was met by a group of full-time missionaries, who devoted their P-day to guiding the dancers around the incredibly picturesque city of Bratislava. With introductions to the Bratislava Castle, St. Michael’s Tower and a mostly intact old town, the dancers were charmed by the architecture, kind people, and of course, the authentic cuisine, which included sheep cheese hulasky and perogi. The performance that night in the Old Town Main Square was a definite highlight of the tour. With a square full of onlookers, perfect weather, a brightly lit stage, colorful costumes, engaging music, and a backdrop of 14th and 15th century architecture, the conditions could not have been more perfect for such a memorable performance. The senior missionaries commented that this might actually have been the largest Church sponsored event to ever take place in Slovakia. <h6>With a square full of onlookers, perfect weather, a brightly lit stage, colorful costumes, engaging music, and a backdrop of 14th and 15th century architecture, the conditions could not have been more perfect for such a memorable performance.</h6> The next morning Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT) traveled again by bus to the exquisite city of Vienna. First stop was to the group's workshop location, where the dancers included local Young Single Adults in preparation for a flash mob event to happen later in the afternoon. Next, accompanied by some of the Young Single Adults, the BYU group was able to visit the historic and overwhelming beauty of Vienna’s old town including Schonbrunn, Hofburg, and St. Stephen’s Dom. Then at the designated hour, several LDS Young Single Adults and others congregated for the actual flash mob event in front of Karlskirche. Despite the supposed anonymous nature of the event, several people sought out the group asking for a repeat of the performance. The last stop for the group was in Würzburg, Germany. The group traveled there by bus, stopping along the way to visit the historic Dachau Concentration Camp—a sobering event for all. The festival in Würzburg, Ballettage 2015, provided wonderful accommodations for the CDT dancers and an amazing theatre for the group to perform in at their last concert. The group was honored with a sold-out crowd, most of them quite cultured in the language of dance. After a very physical yet engaging performance, the dancers received an energetic standing ovation by the German audience, thrilling the CDT dancers. They could not have asked for a better finish to a marvelous tour.READ MORE
Contemporary Dance Theatre members bow after their outdoor concert in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Members of Contemporary Dance Theatre perform in the Main Square in old town Bratislava, Slovakia.
A few members of Contemporary Dance Theatre play with their new friend in Bratislava.
Local Church members and Contemporary Dance Theatre perform a flashmob in Vienna, Austria.
Contemporary Dance Theatre dancers talk with audience members in Würzburg, Germany
Contemporary Dance Theatre during their last performance in Würzburg, Germany