Every three years the BYU Ballroom Dance Company competes in the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival in England. After winning the modern formation and Latin formation in 2010, the team returns in 2013 to compete once again. While the competition is the main focus for the group’s performance tour from May 24 to June 17, it is just one stop on their itinerary. The group will also travel through England, Germany, and Switzerland for 10 additional performances.
“It is a great feeling to do well at a competition after working so hard for so long, and I know that it will be the same when competing this summer as a team,” said dancer Katie Thornhill. “We have lots of hard rehearsing until then, but it will all be worth it when we get to Blackpool.”
The Blackpool Dance Festival is an annual competition that draws the best ballroom teams and dancers from around the world. In 2010 the modern formation team from BYU returned home with its 11th win while the Latin formation team earned its 12th win. Two new medleys have been created in anticipation of Blackpool. “Disney upon a Star” (modern competition) and “Fire and Ice” (Latin American competition) will be taken to the ballroom floor with the hopes of earning the top spots.
After the competition the group will tour with their show Capture the Magic, including a benefit performance for the Haven House Children’s Hospice at the Mermaid Auditorium in London, England. Other benefit performances for handicapped children and local charities in the German cities Heidelberg, Stuttgart, and Nuremberg and in Zurich, Switzerland, are also scheduled.
“This is a show filled with amazing dancing, beautiful costumes, clever choreography, and a wide range of emotion,” said director Linda Wakefield. “From the humorous to the serious and sentimental, you will find all sorts of emotions, not to mention the precision that we try to achieve through our competitive medleys. All ages connect with the show.”
In preparation for the tour, dancers are rehearsing more than eight hours a week. Several are taking basic German classes—or are brushing up on their German—to help cross the language barrier. And all are enrolled in a culture class to study about the culture, history, and current events in the countries they are scheduled to visit.
The building anticipation of the tour reflects the dedication and joy each dancer feels toward sharing their love of ballroom. “It is a rush to go out on the floor and give it everything you’ve got,” said dancer Brian Youngblut. “Hold nothing back and show people what you love to do. I am honored and humbled to represent this team, this university, and our nation.”