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Department Of Dance

BYU’s Christmas Around the World Dance Performance Brings in Culture, Tradition and Gifts

BYU International Folk Dance Team Brings Christmas Traditions and Cultural Dance to the Marriott Center on Dec. 2 and 3

Kick off the holiday season with Christmas Around the World. For those wanting to celebrate the spirit of the season through the arts, BYU Folk Dance Ensemble has an exciting lineup.

“This year's concert is centered around the idea of sharing and receiving gifts,” said Jeanette Geslison, the International Folk Dance Ensemble (IFDE) Artistic Director. This year’s concert will highlight choreography from Canada, Hungary, India, Mexico and Romania among other countries.

Geslison described how gifts in this concert aren’t static boxes with ribbon; gifts come in all different forms. The performance will include a presentation of a live nativity, said Geslison, but there will be many more gifts that dancers have to offer the audience.

Geslison said, “Audiences can expect to experience the magi presenting gifts to the Savior two thousand years ago, the meaning of giving and receiving gifts during the Christmas season, sharing gifts of love and friendship and students sharing their cross-cultural experiences from this summer.”

For this performance Geslison worked to bring in expert choreographers from Canada, Hungary and India to work with student dancers. The performers worked directly with these choreographers over the fall 2022 semester.

Indian choreographer Vaishali Sagar said that although she was impressed with the Utah mountains, her favorite part of the visit was working with the BYU students.

“The students made me feel at home instantly,” said Sagar. “They are so talented, and every second of class is a rewarding experience. They are so willing to learn, try and experiment. There is so much love and affection.”

Zsolt Juhász, award winning Hungarian choreographer, also visited BYU this fall. Juhász is the artistic director of the Duna Ensemble in Budapest, Hungary. Juhász came at the beginning of October to meet with the IFDE and teach other Hungarian Dance classes.

This concert will also showcase work created by native choreographers from Mexico, Serbia, Denmark, the Jewish diaspora, Romania and the United States. The Polynesian section of BYU’s Living Legends will perform as a guest ensemble with a new Māori dance piece.

Geslison is amazed by the students on IFDE. “I mostly stand in awe of seeing the growth the student performers experience as they prepare for this performance,” said Geslison. “They are not only excelling in their skills by learning dance and music from specific cultural representations, but they are learning to work as a group to accomplish the bigger picture.”

Christmas Around the World will deliver tradition, dance, culture and most importantly Christmas to audience members. Don’t miss the gift of this lively and joyful performance.

Tickets and Show Details

Christmas Around the World

  • December 2 | 7:30 p.m. 
  • December 3 | 2:00 p.m. 
  • December 3 | 7:30 p.m.  

Location: Marriott Center
Price: $10-21
Tickets: Available in person at the HFAC ticket office, by phone at (801) 422-2981 or online