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UVU Ballroom Dance Team To Represent US At Prestigious Festival In China

1 August 2013 No Comment

August 1, 2013

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson

Written by: Heather Wrigley

The Utah Valley University Ballroom Dance Company has been invited to represent the United States at the China Ninth International Folk Art Festival from September 13-25.

The festival is sponsored by the largest and most prestigious arts organization in the country, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (CFLAC). Fifteen countries will be represented at the event, which is only held once every three years due to its grand scale.

“Only one group has been asked to represent each of these 15 nations,” said Paul Winkelman, director of the Ballroom Dance Company. “Out of all the groups in the U.S. that could have been chosen, the UVU Ballroom Dance Tour Team will be privileged to represent our university, our state and our nation.”

During the 13 days of the festival, the 26 members of the Ballroom Dance Company’s Tour Team will perform a variety of shows — from formal concerts for high-ranking dignitaries to performances for school children at schools, for local people in parks and for general audiences in various theaters.

At the opening ceremonies in Yichang, the team will perform a western hoedown featuring high-energy dancing and tricks. The event will be televised to China’s population of 1.3 billion people.

“Every new day will give these young dancers from America a fresh opportunity to reach out and make friends with others and to represent our country well,” Winkelman said. “To have this privilege is an honor and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these dancers.”

The Tour Team has been preparing for months, with students dedicating hours each day to perfect their repertoire for the trip, which consists of 12-15 numbers, ranging from ballroom to Latin- and American-style dances such as the cha-cha and disco. Festival organizers are especially interested in dances developed in the United States, such as the Lindy and the Charleston.

“This is not a competition, but a collaborative, cooperative sharing of culture,” Winkelman said. “We are in China to build bridges — bridges of friendship, bridges of mutual understanding and bridges of greater international cooperation. These bridges are built one friendship at a time, one impressed television viewer at a time, one person in a park or city street at a time. We hope our dancers will demonstrate their pride in their country and that they will reach out to others in friendship and openness.”

In addition to performing at the festival, students will meet with faculty and dance students at one of Beijing’s premiere universities, tour their facilities  and participate in a joint performance with them.

Community members are invited to support the ballroom dance program at UVU and contribute to remaining costs for costumes, shoes, etc. by making donations in any amount. Checks can be remitted to “Utah Valley University Ballroom Dance Company” and mailed to Paul Winkelman, 800 W. University Parkway — Office GT610E, Orem, UT 84058-5999. For more information, contact Paul Winkelman at paul.winkelman@uvu.edu.

Utah Valley University's Ballroom Dance Company will join performers from 14 other countries at the China Ninth International Folk Art Festival from September 13-25. The Tour Team will perform 12-15 ballroom and Latin- and American-style dances. Photo by Jesca Cluff.

Utah Valley University’s Ballroom Dance Company will join performers from 14 other countries at the China Ninth International Folk Art Festival from September 13-25. The Tour Team will perform 12-15 ballroom and Latin- and American-style dances. Photo by Jesca Cluff.

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