DancEnsemble: Exploring the Process of Creation

Dancer Kat Ledbetter

Ideas, occasional setbacks, happy accidents, and strokes of inspiration are all part of the creative process for DancEnsemble, BYU’s student-choreographed contemporary dance group. Multiple student choreographers showcased the end results in a stunning show on March 13-14, 2015.

Contemporary dance has always placed high importance on individuality, and the dancEnsemble show reflected that emphasis. Choreographers drew their inspiration from themes ranging from Plato’s Cave to football announcers to body image, exploring their themes through dynamic art that was unique, thought-provoking, and even a little bit wild at times—in the best sort of way.

Marilyn Barrett, chair of the BYU Department of Dance, remarked, “The creative process works – I rediscover that every time I embark on a new creative endeavor. It begins with the unknown and a lot of curiosity about possibilities. It is also often born of necessity to solve a problem. I love Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s assertion that ‘the desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.’ In all the years of teaching creative dance to populations birth to turf – choreographing on experienced dancers and in community theatre with complete novices… I see a consistent response to this question, ‘What did you enjoy the most?’ The answer: ‘Being able to create my own dance!’” 

Ready to put your own ideas in motion? Coming up on April 1, 2015, students in any sort of contemporary dance class can test their mettle as choreographers in the Iron Choreographer Dance Competition. At 12:00 in 185-187 Richards Building, three teams will be randomly selected from those who have signed up at 293 RB and will be given music, dancers, and props to create a dance in 50 minutes. Do you have what it takes?

Past dancEnsemble choreographers discuss the creative process in this video: 


Photo of dancer Kat Ledbetter courtesy of BYU Department of Dance

DancEnsemble: Exploring the Process of Creation

Find Your Course of Action: 2015 Innovation Courses, CC license

Need to spice up your schedule for spring or fall? Looking for a not-boring class to fill that last GE credit? Want to take a class in something innovative or creative that you have never been able to do before?

You’ve come to the right place.

We have an entire page on our site dedicated to listing any and all classes that have anything to do with creativity, innovation, and design on campus. These are just a few of the exciting courses coming up spring and fall of 2015.

  • IP&T 515R: Theories of Creativity and Innovation (Spring). This course explores the historical and current views of the nature of creativity and innovation within individuals, groups, and social organizations. Topics include assessing creativity, creating effectively innovative groups and teams, characteristics of creative people, introductions to different creative processes, and strategies for improving individual creativity. Instructor is Rick West, and this course is taught every two years, and is open to undergraduates and graduate students.
  • IP&T 515R: Learning Games Design (Spring). If you like video games, seize this exciting opportunity to develop an alternate reality game that helps students learn Arabic. Knowledge of Arabic isn’t necessary. Contact Matthew Bird ( for details.
  • IT515R (section 001) / FNART301R: Interdisciplinary Game Design (Spring). Another option for game design wil be to develop an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) designed to teach teens about computational thinking. This novel ARG is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and is being created along with Tinder Transmedia, the Computer History Museum, and University of Maryland (the same team behind DUST). Students will learn game design principles and interdisciplinary design processes as they develop the storyline, artwork, mobile and web apps, puzzles, embedded learning modules, and game mechanics. Those interested in taking the course should send an email to Derek Hansen ( with an explanation of (1) why you’d like to take the course, and (2) your relevant background.
  • IHUM 280 Section 1: Games and Play (Spring). IHum 280 focuses on games (board, card, and video) from a humanities perspective, exploring some of the formal, aesthetic, interpretive, and ethical questions that they raise, in addition to considering some of the ways in which more traditional media (films, literature) have portrayed games. There are no prerequisites, and it fulfills the GE letters requirement. The instructor is Michael Call.
  • BUSM 372: Basic Entrepreneurship Skills (Spring, Fall/Winter). This course, taught by Nile Hatch, is designed for non-business majors to learn the skills needed to innovate and start a new venture based on their innovation. 
  • IAS 220: Intro to Development Studies (Fall/Winter). In the first two months of this course, students learn about and compare past approaches in poverty-alleviation techniques and, as a team, analyze at last 6 causes and consequences of poverty and violence in a country of their choice. The second two months, students develop their research into long-term impact goals, short-term goals, and, eventually, development projects that attack one cause of poverty or violence in one unique way. Students receive project mentoring and participate in “skill-building” events throughout the semester. Students incorporate the project and written feedback from others into a proposal for grant money to fund their project. Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis is the instructor.
  • Tech312: Innovation Boot Camp (Spring, Fall/WInter). This one credit course occurs regularly throughout the year, and is a one week-long introduction to design thinking in interdisciplinary groups.
  • TEE490R: Innovation Boot Camp part 2, Business Startup (Spring–sign up for section 004). The course will use the same model as the previous Bootcamp class, and will last 1.3 days (Saturday from 8am - 4pm, Thurs. evening from 4 - 6pm).  The objectives of the course are to reinforce principles of innovation learned in innovation bootcamp and provide essential tools to develop and validate a business model. It will be taught by Geoff Wright and Chad Carlos.
  • MFG 479: Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Fall). The course, taught by Justin Zsiros, teaches the iterative innovation process through the business model development cycle and validates student ideas through real surveys and customer feedback. Though the course is taught through the school of technology, the class is open to the entire university.
  • RECM 494R (Fall–497R in Winter): Experience Design. Past student groups have worked on a variety of projects, including (1) working on a business plan to help the resort achieve its potential as a destination resort for visitors who are new to Lake Powell and the surrounding area, (2) exploring the feasibility of creating a North Sanpete Recreation District, (3) helping prepare a full price analysis for Provo Beach Resort. 
Upcoming CID courses open to all majors

Laycock Center Creates Virtual BYU Tour

Recently, an interdisciplinary team from BYU’s Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration finished creating a virtual tour of BYU campus.  The project involved Jeff Sheets and Derek Hansen, two members of the Creativity, Innovation, and Design Group.  You can check out the virtual tour by visiting  For more information about the project see this news release from BYU News: A Virtual View of BYU.

Groundhogs and Valentines: Freshman Creativity at BYU

As a freshman, I learned some important principles of creativity and innovation while planning an unlikely-themed midwinter dance.

When I was an undergraduate at BYU, I served as the John Hall President, a dorm in the Helaman Halls student housing complex (and in case anyone is wondering, it was a guy’s dorm back then). The Helaman Halls leadership committee, which consisted of all of the dorm presidents, worked to establish activities and opportunities for students that would be memorable and meaningful. Dances typically were successful activities. During our January meeting as we discussed a dance for February we sought to find an appropriate theme for the dance. Of course, Valentine’s Day seemed like a perfect context for providing a relevant dance theme. However, our dance was scheduled for a week before Valentine’s Day. Our group thought it was a bit silly to celebrate Valentine’s that far in advance (sure, Christmas parties throughout Christmas, but Valentine’s parties for two or three weeks in advance? We didn’t think so).

Then someone suggested we do a Groundhog Day theme. That sounded like an unexpected and fun theme to a bunch of freshman planners. But again, the dance would be a week later than Groundhog Day. Now what? We couldn’t do a dance on the day of romance and our creative ideas to do a Groundhog Day theme had likewise been compromised by the calendar.

We were all stumped, looking at each other. The puzzled silence was uncharacteristic of our lively group.

Then someone asked one of the great questions of creativity: “What if?” “What if we combined themes?” Another person exclaimed in the affirmative, “Yeah!” Soon another person, building on the new momentum of a creative moment, added “Groundhogs and Valentines.” The conversation continued with energy and buzz until we landed on this: “Shadows of Young Ground Hogs Falling in Love!” It was brilliant, absolutely cheesy, and only relevant to freshman at BYU. I can’t imagine this idea gaining traction anywhere else! But for an audience of BYU freshman looking forward to a dance in the doldrums of winter, this was probably the most unexpected and yet welcomed theme possible. The activity was a smashing success. There were even a few girls who actually said yes when I asked them to dance.

The principles I learned from those fun moments of creativity and planning are these:

• Involve a diverse group of people

• Trust one another

• Seek playfulness

• Listen to others

• Be willing to take risks doing something new and unexpected

When have your creative moments taken an unexpected turn?


Taylor Halverson, Ph.D

Teaching & Learning Consultant

Co-Chair, Creativity, Innovation, & Design

BYU3800 HBLL, Provo UT 84602