The Character Dance Ensemble is a group of dedicated ballet majors from the Department of Ballet at the University of Utah, who are also completing a specialized emphasis in the art of character dance.
Character dance is stylized folk or ethnic dance for the ballet stage.
The Ensembles mandate is varied. Our mission is to first provide dancers with academic and performance-related opportunities in different dance styles from around the world. This is important for the development of versatile dance technique. Another important aspect is to enrich the student experience through travel and cross cultural interaction.
The Character Dance Ensemble also fulfills the Ballet Department’s mission of Community Outreach, and has provided over 250 performances locally since its inception in 1995.
CDE also meets the U’s new Internationalization initiative, with recent visits to the Beijing Dance Academy, Beijing, China, the Royal Ballet School, London, England, Vaganova Society workshop, Saint Petersburg, Russia, Eibar, Spain, Tokyo, Japan, Athens, Greece, Vancouver, Canada and San Juan, Costa Rica.
The Department of Ballet was pleased to welcome back Gerard Cuesta, Basque and Spanish dance master, to work with CDE. This was his second visit to share his knowledge and expertise with the Character Dance Ensemble (see photos below).
The Character Dance Ensemble travelled to Kiev, Ukraine – May 6-16, 2012 (photos below). They participated in classes at the Kiev National M.P. Dragomanov University with ballet masters Voronov and Tarasov. Classes included character dance, ballet, and historical dance. They learned choreographic etudes from Poland, Ukraine, Gypsy Romani, Spain, Cuba and Egypt. They also attended performances of the Kyiv Opera and Ballet, the State Honored Virksy Ukrainian Dance Company, and the Veriovka Folk Choir and Dance Ensemble. The Department of Ballet students were privileged to interact with Ukrainian students, and visited various historical and liturgical sites around Kiev. In addition CDE participated and performed at a live simulcast performance, organized to raise funds for orphaned children. CDE hopes to continue its international exploration initiative.
If you would like to Donate for Character Dance Ensemble to help fund their international exploration, Click Here