March 8, 2010
Writer: Writer: Don Sparhawk

The Brigham Young University Folk Dance Ensemble from Provo, Utah, will perform at Brigham Young University-Idaho on Saturday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hart Auditorium. The performance consists of dances from many cultures, including Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America.

"Audiences will be very familiar with some of the dance styles presented in the program," said Edwin Austin, artistic director of the ensemble. "The Riverdance style of Irish hard-shoe, our own American clogging, and Cossack dancing from Ukraine are all perennial favorites."

The 46 musicians, technicians, support crew members and dancers, wearing vibrant costumes true to the cultures represented, combine to form one of the most diverse performing groups in the country. Their repertoire includes many unique pieces such as exotic Indian dances, harmonic Croatian songs, and Hungarian men's slapping dances.

Performers are students from states across the United States and countries throughout the world. The group's folk music ensemble, Mountain Strings, provides live music for the group while they perform.

"An extraordinary amount of time, talent, and resources go into a production of this size," Austin said. "The program, however, goes much deeper than pure entertainment. The production is steeped in tradition-a patchwork of mankind's finest expression, an attempt to preserve fragments of diversity that might otherwise be forgotten."

The ensemble toured domestically in early 2008, visiting Idaho and Washington, before embarking on a whirlwind tour of Eastern Europe in April and May. While across the Atlantic, the group delighted crowds in Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine with their polished, energetic brand of folk dance.

Tickets are $12 for the general public and $6 for BYU-Idaho students. They can be purchased at the BYU-Idaho Ticket Office, over the phone at 496-2230, or online at