Audience Member Has Unique BYU Connection

January 20, 2021 12:00 PM

China, 2014 | Source: BYU student Casey Treu

“I love meeting people after our shows—it’s one of the few times as a performer you get to interact personally with the audience. One experience I had in China with the BYU Ballroom Dance Company was especially memorable, one that I will never forget.

“I was shaking hands and thanking people for coming when a man singled me out and waved me over to him. He pulled out an old pamphlet and gestured excitedly at it. As I looked closer, I saw that it was a program for a BYU Ballroom show that happened 30 years earlier!

“Even though his English was limited and my Chinese was nonexistent, I understood that he came to see the BYU Ballroom Dance Company perform during their first tour to China—30 years earlier—and kept the program. My mom was on that team, and the program even had a photo of her dancing! I pointed her out to the man, and we both marveled at the way things had come full circle. I also called one of my friends, Todd Wakefield, over because his parents were also featured in the program.

“Why did this man keep this pamphlet? At the end of the day, it’s really just an old black-and-white piece of parchment paper. Something about that show must have touched his heart—he’d kept the program in pristine condition for 30 years! There weren’t any creases or stains, and the ink was only slightly faded. It astounded me that such a short association, just one show, was so meaningful that he would come to another performance for the same group 30 years later and bring that 30-year-old program with him! That was very special to witness, and to me it seemed to be nothing short of a miracle.

“This experience touched me for a few reasons. First, I realized that I could impact people through something as simple as a dance performance. I didn’t think that it was possible to the level shown by this man. But in reality, this man’s interaction with the Ballroom Dance Company left a connection that I can’t fully understand, save to know it touched his heart and meant a lot to him. I realized that I had not fully appreciated the impact I can have on others, even complete strangers.

“Second, I love that my mother and I were both able to dance for this man. We connected in a unique way that evening, my mother and I. Though at that moment she was an ocean away, we were united in our love of dance and united through this man that she had never even met.

“Third, this gave me a small window into the impact and influence that BYU performing groups have had on people around the world, and I feel incredibly grateful to have been part of such a wonderful program. Meeting that man one night in China helped me realize that our associations with others can transcend time and generations, even reaching into the depths of eternity.”