Change people's lives at home and around the world

Make a Gift

Dancers Put BYU in the Limelight in Brazil


March 2023

Male dancer in Brazilian dance costume

Donors have blessed Kye Davis and his wife since he started attending BYU, primarily through academic scholarships. More recently, Kye was assisted by donors in an independently organized research project, studying dance in Brazil. That placed Kay and his fellow members of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble in Brazilian newspapers and on television talking about BYU.

Kye has a double major in microbiology and Portuguese studies with a minor in cultural dance. Having served a mission in Brazil, Kye has a love for the people and a desire to deepen his appreciation for their culture.

As a member of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble Kye organized a research project taking himself and four other folk dancers to study dances of Southern Brazil, also known as Gaúcho dances. He applied for grants and received funding from a variety of donor sources. Then he set to work arranging accommodations and booking flights to their destination city of Lages, Santa Catarina Brazil and creating an itinerary for the group. He contacted the president of Barbicacho Colorado, the Brazilian cultural conservatory.

For the most part the trip went like clockwork… Then something unexpected happened.

As planned, Kye and his group participated in workshops, visited cultural sites, studied with renowned Gaúcho dancers, and even taught American folk dances such as the Virginia Reel during cultural exchange night for members of the local community.

Then something unexpected happened.

A local reporter discovered that Kye and his group were researching dance in Lages. Curious why Americans were interested in Brazilian dance and culture, she drove over to one of their workshops to find out.

The next morning, Kye found himself with a microphone in front of cameras explaining his project in a live broadcast. Fortunately, Kye had maintained fluency in Portuguese since returning home from his mission in 2018. Links to the live broadcast and an in-depth mini documentary were posted to the national Brazilian news platform GloboPlay. Each segment contained clips of Kye and colleagues dancing and explaining why they are interested in dance and other cultural aspects of Brazil. The group was also interviewed for a feature in the local newspaper.

After the broadcast, the dancers were even recognized by some tourists from a different part of Brazil. Their questions led to great conversations about BYU and its Cultural Dance program.

Kye recognizes the role of donors in his journey. “I matured a lot in this process. I don’t know if donors realize the impact they have on students. Because of their generosity, students are able to engage in some of the most valuable educational opportunities through experiential learning. We appreciate donors’ contributions that helped make this project a reality and hope to one day donate so future students can have the same opportunity.”

Related Articles