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Department Of Dance

The Gerald Arpino Centennial Celebration: Theatre Ballet Dancer On Sharing the Light of Christ Onstage

Maia McBride Shares Her Experience Dancing in Chicago

On September 23-24, 2023, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Chicago with members of BYU’s Theatre Ballet company and participate in the Gerald Arpino Centennial Celebration. Gerald Arpino was a world-renowned choreographer and co-founded the Joffrey Ballet and the Centennial Celebration was to celebrate his 100 year legacy.

Maia McBride At The Joffrey Ballet. Photo Courtesy Of Maia McBride.

Part of this celebration, which was held at the Joffrey Ballet, was a Repertory Showcase performance. In this showcase, Theatre Ballet dancers performed one of Arpino’s ballets, “Viva Vivaldi,” alongside other ballet programs who also performed various Arpino works. Looking back on this special opportunity, I’ve realized what a truly spiritual experience our performance was for me.

“Viva Vivaldi” is a piece that [Theatre Ballet] had been working diligently on for an extensive amount of time. Feeling confident in the technique and musicality, I tried to share the light of Christ through my dancing. In doing so, I found my time on stage to be very joyful and fulfilling. I have always loved performing and it felt surreal to be performing for these particular audience members. Many of them were former professional dancers and had great joy for dance and admiration for Arpino’s choreography.

Following the performance, we had the opportunity to listen to an inspiring panel discussion where we learned about Aprino and his monumental influence in the ballet world. Many people shared personal stories about being coached by Arpino and dancing at the Joffrey Ballet. Hearing their stories brought to life all the things I had heard about his incredible influence.

We also had the privilege of watching the two Celebration Performances held each night of the event. I loved watching the way different professional dancers embodied Arpino’s unique vision and style. There were so many moments of surprise, anticipation and risk-taking in the dancers’ movements. I learned how moving it can be to watch ballets that are both graceful and strong. As a dancer myself, the performances were even more incredible because I knew first-hand the amount of coordination, dedication and cooperation that was required to produce such a beautiful product. I felt a strong sense of empowerment walking out of the performances and I was inspired to elevate my technical and artistic abilities. I know I will remember the things I learned from my weekend in Chicago and am grateful for the way this experience inspired me to improve as a dancer and as a person.