BYU Ballroom Dance Company Performs “Swing ‘n’ Sway” Showcase

Contributed By Noelle Baldwin, Church News contributor

  • PROVO, UTAH

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing ‘n’ Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016.  Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Article Highlights

  • BYU Ballroom Dance Company’s “Swing ‘n’ Sway” showcases several styles of ballroom dance.
  • More than 4,000 BYU students take a ballroom class each year.
  • Since 1982, BYU dancers have won the United States National Formation Dance Championship 30 consecutive times.

On April 8 and 9 the Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company performed “Swing ‘n’ Sway” in the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. In the annual recital, five auditioned teams showcased what they have been working on all year, said the newly appointed artistic director, Curt Holman.

The performance presented “ballroom dance in [a] theatrical environment with a contemporary point of view,” said the Ballroom Dance Company’s press release. A wide assortment of dances were performed, including a special black light number and the team’s competition medleys, as well as familiar dances such as the Viennese Waltz, the West Coast Swing, and Latin American dances. The show was titled “Swing ‘n’ Sway” because of the variety of dances, said Brother Holman, referring to the multiple swing dances and more subdued rhythms of the waltzes.

The three 90-minute performances showcased more than 160 dancers and brought more than 8,000 people to the Marriott Center. Two solo numbers and several small group dances were included with the full company selections. One of the solo numbers featured Kayci Treu and Ben Ralph. The couple’s routine recently earned first place at the United States Amateur Cabaret Championships.

While this was his first production as the artistic director, Brother Holman has been working as the BYU Ballroom concert director for more than 20 years. Brother Holman and his wife, Sharon, who is also a member of the BYU dance faculty, are both professional ballroom dancers. During the six years they danced professionally together they were consistently ranked among the top couples in the United States and were finalists in the World Cabaret Championships.

Furthermore, they were invited twice as solo dancers to the British Championships in Blackpool, England. A nationally recognized choreographer, Brother Holman choreographed, produced, and directed “Swing ‘n’ Sway.”

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company is the largest collegiate ballroom dance program in the world. There are five auditioned teams—including the touring company—and more than 60 ballroom dance classes taught at BYU. More than 4,000 students take a ballroom class each year, said Brother Holman. Since its inception in 1971, BYU Ballroom has performed nationally and internationally, including in 37 of the United States and 36 other countries. Their most recent tour was to Arizona and Nauvoo, Illinois. In Nauvoo, they held nightly performances where they offered interactive programs at care centers and other public settings to the local communities.

A dancer in Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

In 2011 the team toured Vietnam and Thailand, dancing for more 14,700 people, including Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali of Thailand. Prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the company participated in the opening of the Cultural Olympic Festival.

The BYU Ballroom Dance Company is also one of the best ballroom programs worldwide. Since 1982, BYU dancers have won the United States National Formation Dance Championship 30 consecutive times. Every three years BYU’s company travels to the Blackpool Dance Festival in England. When the touring company last attended the competition in 2013, they won first place in both the modern formation and the Latin formation. In May the company will again travel to England. After the competition, the dancers will tour England, Scotland, and Wales for two weeks. On May 24 the dancers will present their full touring showcase in the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Members of Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company perform during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

A couple of dancers in Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company perform during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

A couple of dancers in Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company perform during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Dancers in Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company perform during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

A dancer in Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company perform during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.

Brigham Young University's Ballroom Dance Company performs during the “Swing 'n' Sway” held in the Marriott Center on April 8–9, 2016. Photo by Todd Wakefield, BYU.