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The Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre announced this week that it will travel to China and Russia to perform in several cities.

Artistic Director Charlene Campbell Carey said the trip is part of an ongoing cultural exchange.

“We’re leaving for China on September 5th,” Campbell Carey began. “We’re going to see them in their habitat which is in Xian at the beginning of the Silk Road. We’ve never even been close to that region in China, it’s been primarily Beijing and Shanghai and many other smaller cities.”

From the organization’s press release:

‘RMBT’s Montana themed ballets offer the flavor of Montana. No RMBT cultural exchange would be complete without the participation of the Native Americans. Four championship dancers from the Salish-Kootenai and Blackfeet tribes will be participating. After the Silk Road Arts Festival, the group travels to Beijing to take their unique program to Chongqing’s Southwest University of Politics and Law and Beijing Normal University. These performances are sponsored in part by the Confucius Institute at the University of Montana under the direction of Suhan Chen.’

RMBT has received a U.S. State Department grant to participate in the first Alfia Avzalova Festival in Kazan, Russia. RMBT was the only US arts group to be invited to perform at the festival. In addition to Montana themed ballets and championship Native American dancers, this diplomatic, cultural tour will include renowned singer Suzanne Carey, a native Montana who now stings professionally in Vienna, Austria.’

Following that extensive road trip, the group returns to its home base in Missoula to present the 2019 ‘Ballet Beyond Borders’.

“Save the dates, January 9 through 12,” she said. “We already have dancers coming from Israel and Indonesia, along with a group from Brazil this year. I know that anyone who’s ever attended, it’s not just a fun event, they really do get some very warm and fuzzy feelings of being a proud Montanan and forging these new friendships with people from around the world.”

Most of the judging and performances will be at the Dennison Theater on the UM Campus and are free to the public, with the only exception being the finale gala.

Letter to BBB from Kate Jordan of Arts & Above

Dear Performers, Students, Teachers, Coaches, Choreographers, Musicians, Speakers, Parents, Audience Members, Host Families, Technical Crew, and more,


After a week since the conclusion of events, and as we have returned to our prospective home-bases, know that I send you my deepest gratitude and awe for the collective happenings we created together here in Missoula, Montana. Many of you I connected with in person, and deeply, others from a distance, but still in meaningful ways and intangibly essential ways.

I was drawn to dance in my elementary years as a mode of expression, transformation, creativity, rigor, physicality, and uniqueness, and for these reasons have dedicated my life to it. I was drawn to dance in my adolescent years, and forward, for its natural capacity to converge diverse thinkers, believers, and of course movers.

This now annual event in Missoula is dually a charging station, and a launching point for such pacesetters in our field. I dearly desire us to be clear in our trajectories, open in our routes, communicative in our passions and challenges, and unforgivingly loud with our dreams.

I’m honored to have joined together with all, and I’m hopeful for the effects we will continue to have on ourselves, each other, and the world through our journeys as dance artists.

Respectfully yours,

Kate Jordan Augusto, Co-Founder/Co-Artistic Director

Arts & Above - Ballet Beyond Borders Gala Finale

Saturday, January 13th, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 11:59 pm Dennison Theatre

Ballet Beyond Borders Gala Finale is the celebration and culmination of five important days of global cultural exchange and the results of the international dance challenge and diplomacy conference. International stars and BBB winners will perform in styles ranging from classical ballet to hip hop. Don't miss this truly spectacular event... 

Missoulian: Ballet Beyond Borders brings hundreds of dancers to Missoula



Jan 5, 2018

An international ballet conference is back for a third year with a new name.

Ballet Beyond Borders will bring dancers from around the world to Missoula for five days of competitions, workshops and lectures.

The event was founded in 2016 by the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre, a Missoula-based school that brings its students abroad. The conference was formerly called VIBE, or the Vienna International Ballet Experience, held in conjunction with the Vienna Ballet.

RMBT founder and director Charlene Campbell Carey said the new name reflects the connections and projects that the event has cultivated year-round.

Many of festival's events are intact: at the Grand Prix Dance Challenge, dancers of all ages and styles will compete in front of professional judges. At the Art of Diplomacy Conference, academics and artists will come together for panel discussions about the crossover in their fields and causes, and the gala opener and closers will have performances from professionals.

Carey said the grassroots support for a new type of event for western Montana has been strong. Dancers have returned for multiple years after seeing the responses and hospitality, and Missoula residents have shown enthusiasm for the art-form, from church groups to folks in ski gear.

"It's all different types, a very broad, broad cross-section of what makes Missoula, Montana," she said.

Opening night

This year, the opening gala will be held at the Wilma at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9. Patricia Kelly, the spouse of the dance legend Gene Kelly, will give a one-woman performance about his career.

Carey said Kelly's dancing and story-oriented choreography and status as an American icon made him the perfect subject for an international dance event based in the U.S.

"Everybody knows the image of Gene hanging from the light-post and his great work with 'An American in Paris,' " Carey said.

While most of the events are free, the opening gala is ticketed. To purchase, go to the Top Hat box office, or call 877-987-6487.



Grand Prix Dance Challenge

While registration is in flux, Carey predicted that about 200 performing artists are coming, the majority from outside the U.S., including South and Central America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

They'll compete in their respective categories from Tuesday through Friday in the University of Montana's Dennison Theatre. The public is welcome to attend, free of charge. However, the judging isn't emceed.

On Tuesday, the open category dance challenge is from 9:30 to 11:50 a.m., followed by the contemporary category from 1:10 to 5:10 p.m. On Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:50 a.m. is the ballet groups and ensembles and junior solos. After lunch, from 1:10 to 3:30 p.m., are the junior solos and ballet duets. On Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon are the classical children, students and senior dance challenge. From 1 to 2 p.m. are more senior solos, and professional solos are from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

The finals are Friday. The estimated times are open categories from 10 to 11:50 a.m.; the ballet from 1:10 to 4:30 p.m., video of competitors who couldn't attend in person from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and a gala sneak preview from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

The big gala finale with awards and performances is 6 p.m. at the Dennison Theatre. Tickets are available at

Art of Diplomacy Conference

A conference on art and culture will take place with the Art of Diplomacy Conference from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, in the University Center Ballroom.

One notable speaker is Merritt Moore, who pursued a doctorate in quantum physics while developing a professional career as a ballet dancer. Faculty from Ballet Hispanico and Centro de Artes Escenicas de Panama will join Rafael Chacon, UM professor of art history and international lecturer, to examine the power of viral dance across Latin America. For a complete schedule or to register, go to 

KPAX: International dance competition kicks off in Missoula next week

Posted: Jan 05, 2018 1:09 PM MST Updated: Jan 05, 2018 1:09 PM MST By Augusta McDonnell

MISSOULA - Hundreds of dancers are descending on Missoula next week for a competition that brings them from all over the world to compete.

It is called Ballet Beyond Borders, and it the event is true to its name.

One young ballerina, 13-year-old Arianna Pazmino from Ecuador, received a scholarship to come to Montana for the first time and dance. “I hope to take away every single correction and opportunity that they gave me here, to Ecuador, to do better dancing, and find a career,” she said.

She will be performing three ballet pieces next week in both contemporary and classical styles.

But it is more than just a competition. Ballet Beyond Borders is also considered by its directors to be a humanitarian effort because it explores how dance and diplomacy combine.

This event was previously called the Vienna International Ballet Experience that began in 2016. It's facilitated by the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theater in Missoula.

The organization is celebrating their 20th anniversary with the name change because they say, ‘Ballet Beyond Borders’ represents the mission of their work now.

“So you don’t need a skill set to come into the theater. That is part of the Ballet Beyond Borders experience -- it should touch you. You’re going to have favorites, maybe it's a body type, maybe it is the music, maybe it is the choreography, maybe it is all of the above. But, you should be leaving, with an experience that is going to stay with you,” said Charlene Campbell Carey, the artistic director of RMBT and president of Ballet Beyond Borders.

All but two of the events are free due to sponsor support.

Tickets are available to see the wife of singer Gene Kelly, who will be sharing personal stories about his life Tuesday to open the event, and the Saturday Gala. Both events will be held in the evening at the Wilma Theater.

Ballet Beyond Border Challenge Coming Up



Posted on: 12/30/2017 7:00AM

Now celebrating its 20th year, the Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre (RMBT) recently announced a host of global dance stars headlining the upcoming Ballet Beyond Borders Grand Prix Dance Challenge, to be held the week of January 9-13, 2018. This year dancers from Brazil, Mexico, Kazahkstan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Romania, Korea, Panama, Italy, China, the U.K. and from across the United States will meet in Missoula, Montana for the Ballet Beyond Borders challenge.

Among the highly anticipated performers is Patricia Kelly, the wife of deceased dance legend Gene Kelly. Patricia’s performance will showcase Gene’s genius as an American innovator, director, choreographer, dancer and diplomat. She will kick off the week of events at 7 p.m. on January 9 at the Wilma. Tickets are available at The Top Hat, online or by phone at (877) 987- 6487.

Another global star joining Ballet Beyond Borders is Merritt Moore, who recently earned a PhD in quantum physics from Oxford and is also a professional ballerina who has danced with The English National Ballet, Boston Ballet and The Zurich Ballet. In 2010, Moore was named to

Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Constantly told she could not pursue both of her passions in physics and ballet – Moore is an inspiration to young women in both fields.

“Ballet Beyond Borders builds upon the past two years of success with the Vienna International Ballet Experience and takes it one step further. Attracting visitors of all races, cultures, social and economic backgrounds is our strongest form of public diplomacy,†said RMBT Artistic Director and Ballet Beyond Borders President Charlene Campbell Carey. “Bringing the world to Missoula for five days of world-class dance competition and diplomatic exchanges is the heart of our mission and we are thrilled to be sharing this with the community.â€

Additional must-see stars include: Baktiyar Adamzhan, an award-winning principal dancer at the State Opera and Ballet Theatre “Astana Opera†in Kazakhstan who won the highest award of the international choreographic competition in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2017 and was also the Grand Prix winner at the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition in New York earlier this year; Julia Duarte, a 14-year-old rising star from Sao Paolo, Brazil who will be competing in every category; and Celine Armellin and Emiliano Candiago of Venice, Italy, who recently won first place in contemporary duet at the Opus Ballet competition in Florence.

Ballet Beyond Borders will also include practical discussions on the role of dance in building constructive global relations at The Art of Diplomacy Conference, hosted by the Mike and Maureen Mansfield Center.

For more information, visit


Ballet Beyond Borders Brings International Competiton to City


December 28, 2017

The upcoming Ballet Beyond Borders Grand Prix Dance Challenge will be January 9 through 13 in Missoula.

President and Executive Producer Charlene Campbell said there are premiere dancers coming to Missoula from all over the world.

“Dancers from 27 different countries will be participating, along with academics, diplomats and the entire Montana community will be engaging about the role of the arts in global communication,” said Campbell. “Dancers are natural diplomats because we don’t rely on dialogue.”

Campbell said one of the premiere guest artists will be Patricia Kelly, the wife of the legendary late dancer, choreographer and actor Gene Kelly.

“I wanted to brand our certain breed of ballet diplomacy as specifically American,” she said. “What could be more American than the legend and the great artist Gene Kelly? It’s a perfect fit for Patricia to be here and to tell all of her great stories about her husband and his role not just as a dancer, but also as a choreographer and a director and all the other facets of his genius, so she’s coming to open the festival.”

Kelly will be part of the Ballet Beyond Borders opening ceremony at the Wilma Theater on January 9, and tickets to that event are available here.

All the dancing competitions are free and will be held at the University of Montana, along with the closing ceremony gala at the Dennison Theater on January 13.

Sponsors for the event include the Washington Foundation, the Gallagher Foundation, Northwestern Energy, Southgate Mall and others. Learn more about how to become a BBB Ambassador by clicking here.