Ogden Dance Festival: ‘Youth Spectacular, Arise’
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    “Ogden Dance Festival: ‘Youth Spectacular, Arise’” New Era, Aug. 2011, 36

    Ogden Dance Festival: “Youth Spectacular—Arise”

    Submitted by Jerry Nelson

    After 18 months of preparation, including writing, choreography, and making costumes for 3,500 youth from 31 stakes around Ogden, Utah, the production Arise: Youth Spectacular was performed for over 45,000 people on three different evenings at a football stadium.

    Aleisha Keller, 14, of the Ogden Utah Weber Heights Stake explains, “Three councils, each including 10 stakes, presented a 20-minute dance and musical program. Our stake represented youth from Scotland dancing to live bagpipe music, and the whole group also sang three songs, including ‘Called to Serve,’ when each of us held up our own copy of the Book of Mormon.

    “But my favorite part of the youth spectacular,” she says, “was the last song, ‘Arise!’ Some of the words are: ‘Arise, shine forth! Be a light unto the world!’ It made me feel wonderful inside that we can all work together to be a standard to everyone we associate with.”

    In addition to being an evening of uplifting music, the dance festival changed the lives of those involved. Matt Sakurada, 18, of the Roy Utah North Stake says: “There were lots of missionaries participating. That meant a lot to me because my brother is serving, and it felt as if he were there. This ‘Arise’ program helped me to realize that I should go on a mission, too.”

    The pageant also touched the hearts of those who saw the production. Jolette Neeley, 20, of the Ogden Utah YSA First Stake says, “When I went to work on Monday following the performance, I ended up talking to one of my coworkers. She had been invited to the performance and pointed out that she had seen me singing and told me how much she had enjoyed it. We continued talking, and I learned that she had not been to church for some time. I was grateful for the opportunity I had to share my testimony with her and gave her the Book of Mormon that I had from the performance. I can testify that our program really did touch lives and planted seeds.”

    “‘Arise’ was amazing. The Spirit was so strong, and it was great to see so many people come out and support it. Several people told me afterwards that it was like seeing angels out on the field,” says Karen Unander.

    Photographs by Melissa Seamons