Brazil, 2017 | Source: Randy Boothe, BYU Young Ambassadors artistic director
“The Young Ambassadors visited a small dance studio in São Paulo, Brazil, where they met Fernanda Bianchini, founding director of Brazil’s Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind. For 20 years, Fernanda has been training blind ballerinas to perform classical choreography. Achieving amazing success and worldwide recognition with her blind dancers, she reached out to children with other special needs.
“We watched in awe as the dancers performed beautiful ballet combinations without sight, in wheelchairs, or on crutches, exuding the pure joy that dance in all forms brings. The Young Ambassadors were then blindfolded and invited to join the dancers on the floor, where they experienced the great challenge of dancing without seeing. After we exchanged performances, Fernanda told us that our visit had given her a renewed resolve to not give up on the important work she was doing. Fernanda and a group of her main dancers attended the Young Ambassadors show in São Paulo and greeted many of the Young Ambassadors after their performance.
“Many months later, a member of the Young Ambassadors received a message from one of the dancers from the studio who had also attended our performance in São Paulo. The dancer said, ‘The visit of the [Young Ambassadors] to the association has left a lasting imprint in all of us that changed us for the better. All those of us who went to watch you guys live ended up becoming interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two of our dancers joined, and when I found out, I asked one of them a lot of questions and found out that it was exactly what I needed. I’ve been at a point of my life where I was lost, with no light in front of me, so to speak, and I realized, “What better light to guide me than God’s light?” Last Sunday, two sisters took me to attend service for the first time, and it was as great as I imagined. I’d like to really thank everyone that visited us that day.’”