BYU-I Extravadance blends fantasy with reality

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“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” – Martha Graham

These words by one of the most influential dancers of the past century resonate with me as I reflect upon the opening night of BYU-I’s Extravadance. Throughout the evening, I recall thinking to myself every so often, What are they trying to say? My wife picked up on a lot of things I did not. However, there were a several poignant moments where a dance seemed to strike a chord with the audience.

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“It’s a ‘fantasy-meets-reality’ kind of a vibe,” performer Grady Bolkom told Explore Rexburg. “There’s a lot of cool fairy-tale influences, and there’s a lot of a ‘work, modern, busy, on-the-go’ influence.”

BYU-I Extravadance is a collaboration of the Collegiate Dance and Dance Alliance groups on the BYU-I campus. It is an event that takes place every semester, and has a loyal following of people who frequently attend.

BYU-I student Lauren Day was in attendance, and said it was one of her favorite of the Extravadance performances.

“I would recommend people to go,” she said.

Whether it is the message, the energy, or simply the impressive entertainment value, the BYU-I Extravadance performance this semester was among our personal favorites. It not only delivered in a big way, but it also defied expectations for newcomers like Tess Van De Veer.

“I thought it was really, really, fun,” Van De Veer said. “It was really cool. It wasn’t what I was expecting…I was kind of expecting more cultural dances. But I liked what I saw.”

Extravadance explores all sorts of different dances. There were indeed cultural dances, with Polynesian, Filipino, East European, and other influences. But there was also ballroom, contemporary, and modern. There were also fun representations of themes from classic stories like “Through the Looking Glass,” and, the favorite of both Day and Van De Veer, “Snow White.”

Many of the same students get to perform in the many different genres of dance, something that Bolkom really enjoyed.

“I’m normally a ballroom guy, but I’m actually in a couple of world numbers,” Bolkom said. “I remember being in past Extravadances and watching the world team perform, being like, ‘Man I wish I could do a few world numbers, that would be cool!’ It’s cool to actually get to do that this semester.”

It is Bolkom’s last semester, and therefore his last opportunity to perform in BYU-I Extravadance. As a natural performer, it is a tough realization to handle.

“Music is what I want to do career-wise, so I’ll have the opportunity to perform music in the future,” he added. “But when it comes to dance, I don’t know when I’ll dance again. I think that’s where I’m more bummed about graduating.”

This human element made Extravadance all the more compelling. I don’t know much about dance, but a lay audience member can tell when something is done out of genuinity and when it is not. Extravadance was teeming with the life and passion of the dancers and producers who made it happen. It is absolutely worth the $6, or $3 for students, to go see it.

Extravadance for the winter semester opened last night, Thursday, and runs this Friday and Saturday. Share and RSVP to their event on Facebook!