For the Brigham Young University Dancers' Company, this year's 25-day performance tour to Taiwan, Cambodia and Thailand was not just an excuse to tour foreign lands--it was a time to express the theme "Let your light so shine" by giving back to the communities in which they performed.
Before the company left for the Asian countries, they held several assemblies at Provo-area elementary schools after finals week in order to raise money to feed 150 children at an orphanage in Phnom Phen, Cambodia. The dancers raised enough money to feed the orphans for six months.
"The dancers wanted to do some sort of service project as part of their preparation for their performance tour. They wanted to learn to love the people in Asia before they arrived," said Rebecca Phillips, Dancers' Company artistic director.
While in Phnom Phen, the dancers were able to take rice personally to the orphans and perform and sing for them. That night many of the orphans had the opportunity to attend the Dancers' Company concert, sitting three to a seat.
One of the dances performed during the tour, "Ascendance," was choreographed with the Cambodian people in mind and demonstrated the many struggles the people have faced in their country, Phillips said.
The dancers performed with Thai silk representing peace, hope and healing. Many of the audience members who witnessed this piece were touched by its sincerity.
"This is the first time I see God in dance," said a Cambodian woman with tears streaming down her face.
The Dancers' Company also participated in a benefit concert for an art program for children with disabilities. One of the pieces they performed was a dance done completely on crutches called "Affectionate Infirmities." There were many children with disabilities at the concert who loved this piece.
"They felt that we had choreographed this dance 'just for them' and loved seeing the dancers bounding and vaulting across the stage on the crutches," Phillips said.
While in Asia, the Dancers' Company performed 10 concerts, held nine workshops/master classes and presented four firesides for local Latter-day Saint congregations.
For more information, contact Rebecca Phillips at (801) 422-8022.
Writer: Rebekah Hanson