The tango, fox trot, waltz, rumba, and cha-cha are all elements of the BYU Ballroom Dance Company. More than just another dance team, they have been able to breach the barrier between the stage and the audience by forming an atmosphere that captivates and immerses their audiences into the world they’ve created.
During their recent Northern California tour in October, they performed their show Capture the Magic to crowded auditoriums in the cities of Folsom, Oakland, Paradise, Modesto, Santa Clara, Napa, and Fresno. Presenting in venues such as the Great America’s Showtime Theater in Santa Clara and the historic Warnors Center for the Performing Arts in Fresno, the show become an instant success with audience members.
Captivating audiences across the world, BYU’s Ballroom Dance Company continues to showcase dances that are versatile, entertaining, and moving. The team’s artistic directors, Lee and Linda Wakefield, combine athletic and aesthetic qualities for each of the dances they choreograph, knowing that ballroom is an ever-changing art form.
“Ballroom is very competitive, athletic, artistic, and, like any other sport, has its challenges,” said Linda Wakefield. “While the categories of dances have remained the same, the ways these dances are performaed constantly change. The innovations and creativity behind the technique, style, and costuming of each dance is what makes ballroom so addicting. It never stays the same.”
This fast-paced world of ballroom is reflected on the stage as the Wakefields continuously enhance their numbers to reflect current trends and world events. Every number has a story, and every story has an element of energy, surprise, and intrigue that makes audience members want to stand up and dance along.
For two weeks in June the Ballroom Dance Company will hold nightly performances in Nauvoo, Illinois. In preparation the Wakefields are using a mixture of visualization, theme, and emotion to create unforgettable numbers for their new show, Imagine.
“It always starts with an idea,” said Linda. “The music will define the movement and what the dance should look like while the costuming creates a specific feeling for the piece. When these elements are combined, the storyline or idea becomes very clear to the audience, and artistically you just know it works.”
Several examples from their current show display this successful process, including a rumba titled “Come Home Soon,” which is patterned as a tribute to those serving in the armed forces. This American number is contrasted by “Sands of Time,” an epic piece that was inspired from a movie score and resulted in an ethnic Persian-styled dance. The special gaming number “MicTendo” brings video game characters to the center of the ballroom floor. The variety of dances goes on to include a West Coast swing, a samba, a theatre arts piece, and the most contemporary waltz the company has ever performed.
The order of the dances is essential to the show’s success. The Wakefields contrast the style of dances so the mood is constantly shifting. A show mixed with slower ballads and fast beats allows the audience enough time to absorb and fully appreciate what they’ve just experienced.
“We put together a show for all ages,” said Linda. “There is something for everyone in this show, which is unusual for the performing arts. The music, movements, pace, emotion, look, and spirit of the show create a very full experience. We don’t dance to impress; we dance to captivate the audience and their imaginations.”
Source: Performing Arts Management