Brigham Young University's performing arts groups are always a sight to see. More than just dancing or singing, they are putting on a show and engaging the audience at every turn.
This month, BYU Winterfest has offered the opportunity to witness wildly-entertaining performances at the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City.
BYU's Ballroom Dance Company offered the first of a stellar line-up of performances on Friday, Feb. 1, and, Saturday, Feb. 2. The company currently holds the title of States National Formation Dance Champion, a distinction they've held 30 consecutive times since 1982. During the "Capture the Magic" showcase last weekend, the BYU Ballroom Dance Company featured dances ranging from tango to classic ballroom formation.
It was nearly impossible to avoid clapping along to the syncopated beats offset by the clickity clack of heels on the dance floor.
One scene featured a Charlie Chaplin-esque character who waddled on stage to an old-fashioned sonogram playing crackly music. Soon thereafter they were joined by others seemingly transported from the 20's who gave a modern take on the Lindy Hop.
Other dances were more emotive, including one that paid homage to the troops in combat. Against a backdrop featuring scenes of various members of the armed forces, three couples — including men in vintage military uniforms — expressively danced almost mournfully to a woman singing the words, "Please come home soon."
This was followed by more lively dances including the ballroom team's rendition of pieces from the musical "Hairspray," a creative dance with performers dressed up as neon-colored Nintendo characters and the winning ballroom and Latin American medleys from the National Formation Team Championships.
The crowd erupted into louder applause with every successive dance number and the evening ended with a standing ovation.
The following performances are also featured throughout February:
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m. (matinee), 7:30 p.m.
The Young Ambassadors have toured their musical theater productions in more than 67 countries since 1970. Their audiences have included the prime minister of India, the queen of Thailand, and the king and queen of Jordan.
"They've changed for the better and better," said Janie Thompson, the founding director of the Young Ambassadors, of the progress the group has made over the years. "The caliber of the students, their talent, hard work and training have made them very successful."
Their current show, "Harmony: the Music of Life," goes through the journey of life from childhood through the teenage years, falling in love, raising a family and growing older. The 90-minute show includes scores from popular music artists like Michael Bublé, Stephen Schwartz and Benny Goodman.
This group of student performers includes some of the highest-caliber talent BYU has to offer and has wowed audiences worldwide.
"The production was a sheer delight," said Michael Simmons after viewing the Young Ambassadors performance in Port Elizabeth, South Africa"from the moment it opened with the band and then to be bowled over by the energy, the costumes, the dancing and vibrant color and the most beautiful chorus work and the soloists who were of the highest standard and who could most definitely be on the Broadway stage."
Friday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Livings Legends performs song and dance from the Latin American, Native American and Polynesian cultures. From the Hawaiian Hula to Mexican Fiesta dances to a Native American Pow Wow, Living Legends brings its audiences culturally-authentic choreography, costumes and music. Their show, "Seasons," is meant to reflect the cycle of civilization and the changing of seasons experienced by ancient cultures.
"Our show expresses to the audience the deep love we have for our ancestry and our cultures," said performer Tiana Bettinson. "What really impacts the audience and makes our show one to remember is the spirit of joy that comes in seeing all these cultures and history come together to make something truly beautiful."
Living Legends has performed throughout the United States and in more than 45 foreign countries. They have been featured on national TV in China, Eastern Europe and Latin America, and represented the United States at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, Spain, and at the 1991 German-American Volksfest in Berlin.
"It was an outstanding display of talent, dedication and pageantry," said Ralph Stewart after watching their show in Port Orchard, Wash. "We were impressed by the obvious amount of time, effort and money that went into this show. ... It was not only entertaining but educational and thought- provoking as well. Thank you for this opportunity of enlightenment."
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m. (matinee) and 7:30 p.m.
Men's Chorus, at 190 voices, is one of the largest and most popular men's choirs in the Unites States. Conducted by Rosalind Hall, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, the choir's concerts range from Gregorian chants to spirituals to fully choreographed popular music. Men's Chorus has released eight albums, including "Awake My Soul" and "Shout with Glory," two of the choir's most popular albums that were re-released in 2009 through Deseret Book.
"That many clean-cut young men in navy blue blazers is a sight in itself," said Laurie Williams Sowby of the Daily Herald. "And it's not just the sound they make, powerful though it is and of such high quality that their chords resound in memory long after the concert's over."
Tickets are required for this event. There is a limit of 10 tickets per order.
Tickets can be obtained over the Internet or by calling 801-570-0080 (locally) or toll-free 1-866-537-8457 (1-866-LDS-TIKS).
Based on availability, tickets can be obtained in person at the ticket office located at door four of the Conference Center. The ticket office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Evening performance and matinee performance tickets are $10.
There is a $1.50 convenience fee added to the cost of each ticket purchased over the Internet.