Ricks students dance in Ukraine

Ricks College students from the Extravadance performance group danced during a unique sesquicentennial celebration in Donetsk, Ukraine, on May 14.

A highlight of the celebration was the arrival of a handcart that is on its way from Siberia to Utah. The handcart is expected to catch up to a wagon train re-enacting the original 1847 pioneer journey that will enter the Salt Lake Valley July 22. (See Church News, March 7, 1997, pages 8-10.)Tour manager Sander Larson of Ricks College said the handcart is symbolic of the pioneer spirit found in the European countries the students visited. "These people have certainly caught the vision of being a modern-day pioneer," he added. "It was a very tender and moving experience for our dancers to be a part of that occasion."

Besides the handcart that was made by Russian carpenters out of native Siberian pine and spruce wood, many local members dressed in pioneer clothing. The celebration caught the attention of local Ukrainian television that covered the event on a news broadcast.

During their month-long tour, the students gave approximately 17 shows in addition to numerous mini-concerts at hospitals, schools and outdoor locations in Belarus, Ukraine and Austria, and the eastern United States. The 30 members of Extravadance were selected from two college groups - the Ballroom Dance Team and the Contemporary Dance Theatre.

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