At the Y

Flying with Faith

Adam Dyer lays on the floor, holding a long rope that twirls dancer Mariah Sainsbury parallel to the floor.
Professor Adam Dyer helps dance student Mariah J. Sainsbury (’21) soar on a Spanish web aerial apparatus. Photo by Brad Slade.

After sprinting through the second-balcony audience of Broadway’s Lyric Theater, Adam R. Dyer perches on a tiny platform as a spotlight rests on his red and blue spandex-clad form. He deftly latches into a harness before launching himself over the audience in a soaring leap. As everyone’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, Dyer draws gasps from the audience as he lands onstage just in time to confront the Green Goblin.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is just one line added to Dyer’s lengthy dancing and choreographing résumé before joining BYU as a dance professor in 2019. He’s soared as a bird in Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He’s danced in millions of gallons of water alongside synchronized swimmers in Franco Dragone’s The House of Dancing Waters in Macau, China. But if you ask him, his most pivotal career stop came while performing with Disney Cruise Line, where he worked when he joined the Church in 2006.

Finding the gospel helped Dyer manage the stress of his roles. “I’d be . . . getting ready to fly 35 miles an hour over the audience, and I’d be running Elder Bednar quotes through my mind,” he says. “I needed to control my adrenaline.”

Dyer’s most important insight for students from his performing career? It won’t last forever. “I want to teach these prolifically talented dancers at BYU that their career will be ‘but a small moment,’” Dyer says. “Having performed intensely for a number of years and then having to retire, I can testify that the lights do turn off on a performing career, but our spiritual journey continues for this life and then into eternity.”

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