Amelat Dance Company is made up of students from Ecuador to Tuvalu but has made its home on campus at BYU-Idaho.
Amelat is a word that means the western continent, from Canada all the way to Argentina. This word was chosen because of the group’s mission: To create unity through the diverse student population at BYU-I.
The dance company is preparing for BYU-I’s upcoming culture night, where dances representing cultures from all over the world will be performed.
Amelat will perform several dances at culture night. The Caribbean, Micronesia and Ecuador will all be represented by the dance company.
Jayne Lucas, a senior studying public policy and administration, choreographed the dance representing the Caribbean. She wants to share Caribbean culture with others.
“Dancing is everywhere in the Caribbean,” said Lucas. “It’s in everything because we really believe in expressing ourselves not with our words, but also with our bodies. You know, dancing is great for — obviously — having fun, but it’s also a way of communication.”
There are a few things she wants people to know about Caribbean culture.
Dance plays a big role in Caribbean culture, especially when it comes to Carnival, which is where Lucas pulled inspiration from for her choreography.
Many of those performing are from various countries in the Caribbean region of the world, but some are from other places, including the United States.
Amelat’s Ecuadorian dance was choreographed by Paula Cañar, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. Cañar is from Ecuador and wants to share her culture with other students.
“I wanted to do share my time with everybody and you know, to pose my culture and embrace my culture, and let all the people unite together while dancing, you know, dancing is like a form of expression,” Cañar said. “So you don’t need to use words. You just need to feel the music and that’s it. It flows, it naturally flows, and that’s the best part of it, of dance.”
With the upcoming cultural night at BYU-I, Amelat is putting all its attention into dance. Normally, it would be a mix between dance and activities where students can share their culture with others.
Those who are interested in participating with Amelat in the future can reach out via the dance company’s Instagram page. No prior knowledge of dance is necessary.