Ballet Beyond Borders celebrates dance as diplomacy

Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre hosts dance challenge and cultural exchange Aug. 11-14

On Stage

The Missoula-based dance powerhouse, Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre, once again brings Ballet Beyond Borders, the 7th annual international dance challenge and diplomacy conference, to the Garden City Aug. 11-14.

After hosting BBB International completely on line in January of 2021, this year’s event attracts an international cadre of artists, both virtually and in-person, culminating in the Gala Finale Aug. 14 at the University of Montana’s Dennison Theatre. In addition to the dance challenge, Ballet Beyond Borders will feature substantive discussions on the role of dance in global diplomacy.

“The world stopped, we’ve all had to adjust, but now is a great time to reconnect and move on,” says company founder and artistic director Charlene Campbell Carey.

Thanks to support from sponsors, all events are free and open to the public with the exception of the finale. New to the list of supporters is the National Endowment for the Arts, which gave Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre a $10,000 grant to support this year’s festival.

The gala, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14 in the UM Dennison Theatre, showcases the talents of international stars and BBB winners who perform in styles ranging from classical ballet to hip-hop; tickets are now available at In addition to the gala, offerings include the BBB competition, Aug. 11-13 in the Dennison Theatre; and the BBB Diplomacy Conference, sponsored by the Mansfield Center, 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14 at the University Center (other highlights are listed below).

Ballet Beyond Borders 2021: Featured Guest Artists

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jose Angel Vizcaino Cortes has won numerous prizes and accolades for his dancing, including Grand Prix in Vancouver and the bronze medal at Youth America Grand Prix.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Ballet Beyond Borders performer Jose Angel Vizcaino Cortes has won numerous prizes and accolades for his dancing, including Grand Prix in Vancouver and the bronze medal at Youth America Grand Prix.

Ballet Beyond Borders 2021 will feature these inspiring individuals who have made significant contributions to the world of dance, art and film during their careers:

Lizt Alfonso was included on the BBC’s list of the 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world in 2018. She’s also received the International Spotlight Award from the USA President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities; the National Culture Order of Cuba; and served as ambassador of the Cuban Artist Fund of New York. At the age of 23, she founded Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, a popular and prestigious dance company. Alfonso will teach, serve on the jury for the dance challenge and discuss her unique school and vision for BBB Havana Cuba 2022 during the diplomacy conference.

Cynthia Newport is a dynamic filmmaker whose dynamic documentaries spark audience discourse across divides. Her emotionally engaging films unfold in significant historic, social and cultural contexts. Works include: dance cuba Dreams of Flight, an expansive documentary about Cuban dance and Summer Sun Winter Moon, which examines the impact of Lewis and Clark’s legendary “Corps of Discovery” mission on Native American communities. Significant portions of the film were shot in Montana. Both films will be screened beginning at noon Aug. 12 in the University Center Ballroom.

Vicky A Clark is a quirky independent curator, critic and professor who has been part of the Pittsburgh art scene for over 40 years. She grew up in southern California during the Beach Boys era and describes herself as a child of the 60s. A passionate feminist, tenacious tennis player, avid reader, and proud owner of an enviable and growing shoe collection, she is committed to encouraging others to see the world in new ways with eyes wide open. She encountered Ballet Beyond Borders in Pakistan during an arts festival and looks forward to adding a visual arts component to their programs. She’ll give a lecture titled “Cuban Contemporary Art from the Inside and the Outside” at 6 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Zootown Arts Community Center, 216 W. Main St.

Hina Abidi is a Pakistani American based in Los Angeles. She has been involved with Pakistan Arts Council of the University of Southern California’s Pacific Asia Museum since 1995 and has a longstanding interest in textile, particularly ethnic and tribal embroideries. Abidi visits Pakistan every year, traveling to places that are off the beaten path, meeting people, collecting handicrafts, and learning about their unique artistic and cultural traditions. She will share the embroideries and stories that she has collected over the years in “Tapestry of a Nation – Tribal and Ethnic Embroideries of Pakistan,” 6 p.m. at LA Design, 337 E. Broadway.