Celebrating the cultures of the world with authentic music, costumes and dance, Brigham Young University's International Folk Dance Ensemble will present "Rendezvous" during the 43rd annual "Christmas Around the World" Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6 and 7) at 7:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets are available by calling the Marriott Center Ticket Office at (801) 378-BYU1 or 1-800-322-BYU1 (2981).
Prices are $10 for general admission. A family price of up to six tickets for a single household is $35 and is available for the matinee.
The International Folk Dance Ensemble was featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. For "Christmas Around the World" they will perform a portion of the dance spectacle titled, "Rendezvous," which they previewed during the recent BYU Homecoming Spectacular.
"'Christmas Around the World' has been a holiday tradition for thousands of people throughout Utah," said Edwin G. Austin, Jr., artistic director for the International Folk Dance Ensemble. "This year's show is packed with dances people have loved in the past and also features new choreography."
A gathering of American songs and dances will open this year's program. Then, a collage of new choreography featuring the exciting traditions of India, Hungary and Bulgaria will be premiered.
In addition, many favorites from Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Romania, Lithuania, Ireland and Ukraine will ignite the stage. In all, the cultures of 15 countries will be celebrated.
BYU's Living Legends will be featured as this year's special guest group as they perform the dances of Polynesia, including the spectacular "Fire Knife Dance."
A guest soloist, Ruel Zielke of the Caledonian Dancers of Milwaukee, will also be featured in a unique choreography of Scottish dance.
His Excellency Kosstyantyn Gryshchenko, the ambassador to the United States from Ukraine, and his wife, Nataliya, have accepted a special invitation to attend each performance.
"They are looking forward to experiencing the national dance of Ukraine, Hopak, the signature piece and finale of the annual concert," Austin said.
A traditional Ukrainian dance, the Hopak is the hallmark of the Folk Dance team, with new choreography by Austin and Colleen West.
"'Hopak' really celebrates the athleticism of the guys on the team," said Austin "The colorful costumes were inspired by the Toltava region and add to the dynamics of this dance."
During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the ensemble also performed in "Light of the World," a musical production produced in the Conference Center by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Writer: Elizabeth B. Jensen