Presenting Stephen Jones, Dean of the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications and Marilyn Berrett, Chair of the BYU Department of Dance
Esteemed colleagues, friends, and members of the media, my name is Stephen Jones.
I am the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications at Brigham Young University.
Our department of dance is honored to be invited to participate with you in this prestigious festival, honoring the growth, the strength, and the superb skills of our students.
We are grateful to join with the finest arts schools from across China in this effort.
Located in the western United States and nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Brigham Young University is home to 30,000 students.
The College of Fine Arts and Communications includes 4,000 students and five academic disciplines.
These students and their faculty strive for excellence and regularly receive national and international recognition for the quality of their performance.
We are delighted for the invitation to perform in the National Center for the Performing Arts.
We thank Vice President Deng, Mr. Zhanghao and Mr. Wang Dayu for their kindnesses in extending to us this invitation.
Dance and music groups from Brigham Young University have toured China for more than 30 years.
We have developed in that time a great love for your country, your culture and your people.
We cherish this long relationship with China.
Despite our differences in language and the differences that separate us in geography, the values of the arts, including those human expressions of love, goodness, truth, beauty and excellence unite us.
We are excited to join with you in sharing those expressions of our common humanity and goodness as we participate in this marvelous festival.
I want to introduce to you now, Marilyn Berrett, chair of the Department of Dance at BYU, who will share with you details about the department and the program our students are preparing to bring.
Our faculty is committed to preparing reflective, articulate dance artists, teachers, and scholars.
We hope to cultivate dancers who honor and preserve the past, give voice to the present, and seek to define the future.
Our programs provide for research, collaboration and innovation, in both performance and choreography.
We believe dance is an optimal way to harmonize the body, the mind, and the spirit.
We are dedicated to presenting wholesome dance to a global audience, and most of all, to exploring the unique talent of each dancer who comes to us.
The meaning of the title of our concert, Encounters includes the ideas, images and possibilities of all the ways that we might connect and the notion that every encounter might change us.
For example, one of the dances we present in the concert is a unique American form of percussive footwork, clogging, where the dancer’s feet encounter both the floor and the tricky rhythms in the dance.
The universal appeal of George Gershwin’s music comes alive in the high-flying, lindy hop a Fling, Flang, Flung.
One of our last dances is a most unique encounter. We are so thrilled that the students from the Beijing Dance Academy are joining with the students from Brigham Young University in an East meets West encounter.
This is a most remarkable opportunity for us.
We are both humbled and honored to be with you here at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.