BYU’s Department of Dance Renames Ballet Company
The beginning of the Fall 2023 semester marked a major change within the Ballet Area of the Department of Dance. Ballet Showcase Company, BYU’s secondary ballet company, has been renamed Theatre Ballet Studio Company (Studio Company) to correspond with BYU’s top ballet company, Theatre Ballet.
BYU Dance shared the following statement on the companies’ social media platforms:
In an effort to better reflect our goals of unifying the BYU ballet program, enriching the students’ experiences and matching industry standards, BYU Ballet Showcase Company will now be Theatre Ballet Company. This change comes as an outgrowth of years of development and growth among the students and the program…This name change more accurately reflects the work that is already being done and will continue.
According to Studio Company director Hilary Wolfley, the rebrand felt like the natural next step for the program and was in line with the Ballet Area’s goals for the two companies. She said, “We wanted [the companies] to connect, have a throughline and be more united. Our program has progressed to the point where [the companies] are taking class and performing together more. It made sense to change the name.”
Already this semester the two companies have been able to integrate more, both in training and performance. In September, Studio Company debuted in the Department of Dance’s “World of Dance” (historically Theatre Ballet has been the company to represent the Ballet Area in this department wide production). Theatre Ballet dancers were in Chicago for the Arpino Centennial Celebration so Studio Company dancers stepped in to perform two group numbers. Likewise, Studio Company’s upcoming performance “Art in Motion” will feature Theatre Ballet dancers. Looking towards next semester, Studio Company will dance some of the corps de ballet roles in Theatre Ballet’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” and George Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht.”
Wolfley hopes that the increasing collaboration between the two companies will “facilitate a sense of opportunity for Studio Company dancers,” and that “they realize that their growth and progression have a clear path should they want to pursue that.”
Although there will be more collaboration between the two companies, each company will maintain their individual identity with Studio Company focusing more on close mentoring and student choreography. Wolfley explained that while Theatre Ballet offers a more real-world company experience with more performing opportunities, Studio Company gives students the opportunity to engage in the creative process through student choreography workshops and performances. Studio Company will remain a semester-by-semester commitment with a culminating performance at the end of each semester.
Although the rebrand has been in effect for only a few months so far, Wolfley said that the change has been a positive one overall. Beginning the academic year with the combined performance of “World of Dance'' set the tone for the rest of the year and built immediate camaraderie between the companies. “I think the Studio Company members have felt more a part of things and Theatre Ballet dancers have respect for the level of skill and artistry that the Studio Company dancers bring.”
Come support both companies and see their camaraderie in action in “Art in Motion” on November 8-10 in the Richards Building Dance Performance Theatre.