MISSOULA – All the world’s a stage in Missoula this summer as local dancers get ready for an international competition.
Ballet Beyond Borders is taking some 50 local Montana dancers to Los Angeles next week. They’re also taking along dancers from Italy and Brazil who’ve spent the summer in Montana, sharing their skills and culture.
Young dancers from Western Montana worked all spring and summer for next week’s international dance competition in LA. But rubbing elbows with international talent is nothing new for the rocky mountain ballet theater in Missoula.
“Ballet Beyond Borders is now a year-round event. We’ve done two State Department tours in the past year and our guests that used to come just in the winter are now here for summer programs,” Ballet Beyond Borders President Charlene Campbell said.
This summer, dancers from across the globe have spent weeks dancing alongside the young Missoula performers — dancers like 21-year-old Corrine De Bock from Italy who has dreams of dancing professionally.
“It’s always a challenge when you go on stage in a new place, so far away from home,” De Bock said. “You grow every time you do it and you meet a lot of friends, a log of people”
One participant, 16-year-old Julia from Brazil, has been dancing her whole life, Ballet Beyond Borders secured a scholarship for her to dance in Italy.
But for her, it doesn’t matter where she dances. “It’s just magical, I mean, it’s something that is always there for you. It doesn’t matter if you have a big studio or you just in your house in your bedroom. Dance is always there; you know to let your emotions flow.”
They’re part of a group to perform dances for the weeklong festival and competition in California that include classical numbers to those that depict current social issues like homelessness to immigration.
Cambell Carey told MTN News that dance brings everyone together and can shine a light on conflict.
“We share our culture and not just our dances. I think a lot of our misunderstandings are not actually political, they’re cultural misunderstandings.”
On the dance floor, they all share a passion as the art of dance builds bridges and highlights shared values.
“You know, even if we don’t understand each other perfectly because of the language, we can always find a connection when we’re dancing together,” said Julia Lauany Duarte.
The team leaves next week and will spend Aug. 7 entertaining travelers at the Los Angeles International Airport before their performances and competition later that week.
Click here for more information on the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theater.