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International Folk Dance Ensemble records

Identifier: UA 1340

Scope and Contents

Contains materials pertaining to the International Folk Dance Ensemble from approximately 1956 to 1981. Contains scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, tour information, correspondence, class inventories, budgets, audio and video recordings, programs, and folklore information. Materials cover performances and operations, mostly in Provo, Utah at Brigham Young University, and on tour in Europe. Many of the records were created by Mary Bee Jensen in her capacity as the director of the International Folk Dancers from 1956 to 1978.


  • approximately 1956-1981


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 35 years from the date of creation of the records, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the University Archives Policy.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the International Folk Dance Ensemble records must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

Mary Bee Jensen (1917-2018) was the co-founder of the National Folk Organization and the director of Brigham Young University’s International Folk Dancers.

Mary Bee Jensen was born on May 21, 1917, to Robert and Mary Margaret Bee in Provo, Utah. Mary attended school in Provo and graduated with honors from Provo High School in 1935. After high school she moved to Parksville, Missouri and attended Park College. Jensen grew up in a musical and scientific family. She followed the tradition and graduated with a BS in Biology. Growing up, she also loved sports, nature, and music. She was regularly employed at the YMCA camps in Colorado. She moved back to Utah and taught at Jordan High School. During this time she met and married Donald Alva Jensen on October 6, 1940. She taught a variety of classes, but her favorites were the sports and drill teams she tutored. She received an offer from Santa Barbara College to teach in 1952 but never left for California. Shortly after the offer, she was approached and offered another teaching position at Brigham Young University in physical education. Mary received her Masters degree from BYU, and in 1956, began directing the International Folk Dancers. For 22 years Jensen served her position well, loving her students, and providing them with opportunities globally. She was known all over Europe as the “red-haired lady with the smile”.

Mary Bee Jensen died on April 13, 2018, in Alpine, Utah.

Administrative History

The Brigham Young University International Folk Dance Ensemble (est. 1956) presents a concert program of dances from more than a dozen nations, including Ukraine, Russia, Korea, Poland, Mexico, and the United States.

The Ensemble was founded in 1956, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006, visiting the Baltic States and the Mondial des Cultures de Drummondville, an international folk dance festival held in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. Since 1964, the ensemble has represented the United States and American culture at folk dance festivals throughout the world, including the festival held in conjunction with the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the festivals in Haifa, Israel; Confolens, France; and Billingham, England. In addition, the group regularly presents its international repertoire throughout the United States and Canada. Regardless of focus, international or American, the BYU Folk Dance Ensemble is acclaimed by thousands for their skillful dancing and energy.


34 cartons (34 linear ft.)

5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)

1 oversize box (1.5 linear ft.)

8 film boxes (1.5 linear ft.)

4 folders (0.25 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in eight series: 1. International Folk Dance Ensemble scrapbooks, approximately 1956-1981. 2. International Folk Dance Ensemble tour records, approximately 1956-1981. 3. International Folk Dance Ensemble newspaper clippings, approximately 1956-1981. 4. International Folk Dance Ensemble video recordings, approximately 1956-1981. 5. International Folk Dance Ensemble photographs, approximately 1956-1981. 6. International Folk Dance Ensemble folklore records, approximately 1956-1981. 7. International Folk Dance Ensemble class inventories, approximately 1956-1981. 8. International Folk Dance Ensemble budgets, approximately 1973-1978.


Retained in original order.

Custodial History

Transferred from Records Management in 2010.

Transferred from the Department of Dance by Ed Austin on June 2, 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred; Records Management; 2010.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred; Ed Austin; 2017.


Campus activities (University Archives Collection Development Policy, August 2015).

Processing Information

Processed; Kayla Quinney; May 2010.

Processing Information

Processed; Rebekah Hartshorn, student manuscript processor, and Cory Nimer, curator; February 2017.

Processing Information

Processed; Jace Packer, student manuscript processor, and Cory Nimer, curator; July 2017.

Processing Information

Processed; Itza Mostert, student processor, and Cory Nimer, curator; October 2017.

Processing Information

Processed; Chelsea McNeil, student manuscript processor, and Cory Nimer, curator; October 2019.

Processing Information

Processed; Meghan Hoesch, student manuscript processor, and Cory Nimer, curator; January 2020.

  • Photographs of performances, cast member groups
  • Duplicates of programs, schedules, clippings, and other ephemera, and photographs.
Register of International Folk Dance Ensemble records
In Progress
Kayla Quinney
2010 May 12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Revision Statements

  • 2010 June: Finding aid revised; Kayla Quinney.
  • 2017 July: Film cores housed and added to the end of Series 4; Jace Packer.
  • 2017 October: Addendum and finding aid updated; Itza Mostert.
  • 2019 October: Addendum of two boxes added to series 5; Chelsea McNeil.
  • 2020 January 31: Updated file to comply with DACS standards; Meghan Hoesch.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections. University Archives Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo UT 84602 US