Dancers Host a Foreign Exchange

January 20, 2021 01:00 PM

Utah, 2017 | Sources: BYU students Taylon Mann, Elisabeth Frischknecht, and McCall McClellan

“The experience we had with the Chinese dancers from Minzu University had a profound impact on the students here at BYU. In only a week we became their good friends, and despite the expansive language barrier that existed between us, we all had tears in our eyes as they had to leave Provo. The cultural dance and music they brought with them from China was amazing and unique, but associating with them was so familiar and normal. It was great fun being able to teach them about our culture as well. We will remember this experience for years to come.”
— Taylon Mann, Dancer

“Although I have had many unforgettable experiences as a member of the International Folk Dance Ensemble, participating in this collaborative dance project was one of the dearest to my heart. I was so touched by how strangers from two different cultures, who didn’t even speak the same language, could come together and make something so powerful. Although we couldn’t use words to communicate with the Minzu students, we were able to connect on a deep level. I was so touched by the students’ presence here, and I feel that I have made lifelong friends with them. It is difficult to describe the emotions that I felt while dancing onstage with the Minzu dancers, but I know that it was an experience I will never forget.”
— Elisabeth Frischknecht, Dancer

“I’d like to thank the Minzu dancers, instructors, and musicians who made the effort to join us in Provo for our Christmas Around the World show this year. They were a highlight of the show and my college career. Getting to work and associate with them was a reminder to me that our differences don’t prevent kinship. We don’t even have to speak the same language to connect. The bonds of friendship can extend through cultural barriers, stereotypes, and social norms, and that’s beautiful.”
— McCall McClellan, Dancer