Contemporary Dance Theatre bridges cultures, builds connections in China

BYU Contemporary Dance Thearte dancers
Sharing a passion for the arts brought dancers from Brigham Young University and China together in a unique cross-cultural experience.

BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre recently returned from a trip to Beijing where they performed as invited guests in the prestigious National Centre for the Performing Arts. Their program, Encounters, was part of the annual Chun Hua Qiu Shi festival that celebrates the achievements of students from China’s finest conservatories and universities.

This trip marked the 28th time since 1979 that BYU ensembles have visited China. “We’re honored to be the first non-Asian university to have been invited to perform in this festival,” said Stephen Jones, Dean of BYU’s College of Fine Arts and Communications. “The invitation came because of the strong impression our many tours to China have made with our Chinese colleagues.”

Nathan Balser, the artistic director for the performance, was first elated but then a little overwhelmed. “The invitation was for CDT to represent the whole dance department, which is tricky to do because we’re just one part of it,” said Balser.

Balser’s effort to represent the entire department was a success. The program included the performance of BYU Faculty member Jiamin Huang’s piece, When We Encounter, that brought together dancers from BYU and the Beijing Dance Academy. “The unity these students felt as they performed together on stage overcame any differences they had in language or culture,” said Huang. “It was marvelous to see how movement could convey a message larger than words.”

Echoing these feelings, Wang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Dance Academy, said she hoped these students “will use their gifts to express to the world their conviction that beauty and goodness will always overcome the challenges and difficulties of life, and that through our work together we can preserve the best fruits of our cultures and societies for future generations.”

Source: BYU News

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