Ballet Beyond Borders melds dance, diplomacy

RMBT's international dance competition brings world to Missoula Jan. 9-12

On Stage
Ballet Beyond Borders: Native dancers
Native American dancers participate in Ballet Beyond Borders.Photo © Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre

Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre brings Ballet Beyond Borders (BBB), a unique combination of dance and diplomacy, back to Missoula Jan. 9-12. This marks the fourth world-class international dance competition and diplomacy conference that RMBT has brought to Missoula with competitors hailing from more than 17 countries.

Thanks to the generous support of the Washington Foundation and the Drollinger Family Foundation, the Ballet Beyond Borders International Dance Challenge will be free and open to the public. The only ticketed event is the final gala on Jan. 12 at the Dennison Theatre on the University of Montana campus.

BBB brings films, authors, dancers, academics, artists, guests, and diplomats into the wintery west, introducing the world to Missoula and Missoula to the world in an effort to increase mutual understanding and global harmony.

Global superstars include Jorge Barani, a principal dancer from Cuba, who will star in the Ballet Beyond Borders Gala; and Patric Palkens, a principal dancer with Boston Ballet who is originally from Lewistown, MT. Nations represented in the dance competition include Korea, Mexico, the Georgia Republic, China, Brazil, Romania, Canada, Italy, Pakistan and Israel.

“Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre’s mission is to give our dancers performance opportunities around the world, while also bringing the global community back to Montana,” says Charlene Campbell Carey, artistic director for RMBT and president of Ballet Beyond Borders. “These cultural exchanges are crucial to both our understanding and our positive participation in the global community.”

2019 Ballet Beyond Borders Highlights

  • New this year: Participants will have the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Ballet Beyond Borders Young Choreographer Competition.
  • School Outreach: International performers teach and perform Jan. 7-8 in the Missoula Public Schools and in Arlee in the lead-up to the opening night.
  • The Silk Road Leads to BBB in Missoula: Opening night party and special performances, 6:30-9 p.m. Jan. 9 at the MASC Studio.
  • International Dance Challenge: dancers from more than 17 countries compete on the UM Campus Jan. 9-11. The competition has helped launch careers by offering dancers opportunities and exposure.
  • Film Premiere: “Revenge of the Worthless”: Jan. 10, followed by question and answer session with fim producer and director Jamal ShahDirector General of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History & Literary Heritage.
  • BBB International Diplomacy Conference: Creative Crossroads – Cultural Diplomacy in a Changing World: 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 12. Presentations include: Reflections on China: Confucius Institute-sponsored performance and an intimate discussion explore the continuity provided by the arts from the Cultural Revolution to current times; “There is room for everyone,” with 2018 Peace Prize winner Sophie Rebecca; and “The Hidden Tears Project” Panel Discussion with choreographer and filmmaker Jordan Marinov about human trafficking and ongoing issues related to missing and murdered indigenous women. BBB performers Kya Rae, Dede Rose and Clarissa Charlie will be on the panel.
  • Ballet Beyond Borders Gala, 6 p.m. Jan. 12 at the UM Dennison Theatre; information and tickets are available at