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.