BYU Today

Dancers Raise Spirits in Asia


For the BYU Dancers’ Company, this year’s 25-day performance tour to Taiwan, Cambodia, and Thailand was a time to express the theme “Let your light so shine” by giving back to the communities in which they performed.

“The dancers wanted to do some sort of service project as part of their performance tour. They wanted to learn to love the people in Asia,” said Rebecca Wright Phillips (BA ’87), Dancers’ Company artistic director.

While in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the dancers visited an orphanage, where they sang, tied balloon animals, and played with the children. Many of the orphans had the opportunity to later attend the Dancers’ Company concert, sitting three to a seat.

BYU Dancers

Members of the BYU Dancers’ Company play with children at a Cambodian orphanage during their 25-day Asian tour. More than simply entertaining audiences in concert halls, the dancers attempted to give service in the communities where they performed. Photo courtesy BYU Dancers’ Company.

One of the dances performed during the tour, “Ascendance,” was choreographed with the Cambodian people in mind and demonstrated the many struggles the people have faced in their country, Phillips says.

The dancers performed with Thai silk representing peace, hope, and healing. Many of the audience members who witnessed this piece were touched by its sincerity.

“This is the first time I see God in dance,” said a Cambodian woman with tears streaming down her face.

The Dancers’ Company also participated in a benefit concert for an art program for children with disabilities. One of the pieces they performed was a dance done completely on crutches called “Affectionate Infirmities.” There were many children with disabilities at the concert who loved this piece.

“They felt that we had choreographed this dance ‘just for them’ and loved seeing the dancers bounding and vaulting across the stage on the crutches,” Phillips said.

While in Asia, the Dancers’ Company performed 10 concerts, held nine workshops, and presented four firesides for local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ.