The Ballroom Dance Company finished the last of its three week tour to China this past Monday.
Before heading to Hong Kong, the ballroom dancers performed in front of an audience of over 1,500 in Shanghai. It was here where they met a local Chinese gentleman who had with him a BYU Ballroom Dance program – from 30 years ago. In 1984, the Ballroom Dance Company performed in China for the first time. Lee and Linda Wakefield, current directors of this award-winning group, were a part of the ensemble at the time. The man had remembered the ballroom dancers well and jumped at the chance to see them again. In the photo included in this email, the man is posing with Lee and Linda Wakefield’s son, Todd, holding the program he saved from that first performance.
After the performance in Shanghai, the dancers traveled by air to Guangzhou. Here, the BYU dancers put on a joint performance with local Chinese dancers, where together the two groups danced the cha-cha side by side in front an audience of 1,800 people in the beautiful new Opera House Grand Theater.
The group then departed by bus for a challenging border crossing to Hong Kong. All three tons of sound equipment, lights, props, costumes, and personal bags had to be carried through customs by hand. The group then traveled to a ballroom dance workshop for local schools in the neighboring city in Yuen Long hosted by Heart to Art. Later, the dancers ended the night with a reception and performance for over 900 enthusiastic audience members. The next day, the dancers offered the same opportunity to students at the Hong Kong Performing Arts Academy, finishing off their tour with a concert for a packed house at the Youth Square Theatre.
Feelings of exhaustion mixed with gratitude accompanied the dancers as they arrived home from Hong Kong. BYU Broadcasting accompanied the dancers during their time in China, following the story of a Chinese man and woman who have taken up ballroom dance because of BYU’s team and their tours in Asia; look for a documentary centered around their story sometime this fall.
The Ballroom Dance Company returned from China impressed with the people’s love of dance and a love and appreciation for the Chinese people.