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International Folk Dance Ensemble photographs, approximately 1956-1981

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 1340 Series 5

Scope and Contents

Contains 6,276 photographs of the International Folk Dancers from approximately 1956 to 1981. Some photographs are mounted with cardboard backings, and some have corresponding photographic negatives.


  • approximately 1956-1981

Conditions Governing Access

Restricted. Closed for 50 years from the date of creation of the records, and thereafter open to the public in accordance with the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Restriction Policy. Requests to access restricted materials in the University Archives should be submitted to the University Archivist.

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

From the Collection: 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

From the Collection: 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.


3 cartons (3 linear ft.)

1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

3 folders

1 oversize box