Regional youth dance festival shines bright in Pacific Northwest

Credit: Stephen Daniels-Brown
Credit: Stephen Daniels-Brown


Nearly 900 youth from the South Puget Sound region of Washington state participated in a five-stake dance festival May 30 that drew afternoon and evening audiences totaling more than 5,000 people at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington.

The Olympia, Lacey, Elma, Centralia and Lakewood, Washington stakes participated in the festival entitled, “Shine Bright, Share the Light.” The youth began practicing together in January, while planning began 18 months prior to the event.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our stake’s youth to join with those who share their beliefs and feel strength in numbers,” said Elma Washington Stake President Russell Larsen.

President Larsen noted that some of their stake’s youth who had not previously participated in organized dance were reluctant at first. “In spite of their insecurities, the reluctant became the most enthusiastic.”

“It was super cool to see all the youth together and make lots of new friends,” said Hanna Nelson, one of the young women who participated in the performance.

Festival co-chair JoAnn Alexander, of the Olympia Washington Stake, noted that the multi-stake youth council chose the theme based upon the counsel of President Thomas S. Monson when he said, “If you want to give a light to others, you have to glow yourself.”

Attendees were encouraged to bring a canned food item, which resulted in over 1,000 pounds of food being donated to the Thurston County Food Bank. During the performance, the program was promoted as a way to shine light in the region’s communities by giving service to others. links volunteers with community service opportunities around the United States.

More than 290 adult volunteers assisted with dance instruction, logistics and costume design and assembly.

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