The Rocky Mountain Ballet Theater is bringing back one of the premiere cultural events to Missoula. Ballet Beyond Borders returns to Missoula with more dancers from more countries, intense dance competition, a diplomacy conference and a gala finale on Saturday at the Dennison Theater.

Director Charlene Campbell Carey said this global cultural exchange will offer more than just ‘a beautiful girl in a tutu’.

“It’s about the role of the arts in global communication,” said Carey. “Artists are coming from seven different countries. There are film makers, ballerinas, hip-hop artists, diplomats, and academics, and they’re converging in Missoula for a week to create understanding across all borders and above all walls.”

Carey highlighted the diplomacy conference to be held at the University Center.

“The conference will be Saturday morning in the U.C. Ballroom that begins at 9:00 a.m. and concludes at 1:00 p.m.,” she said. “It’s a chance for many of our visitors to hear particular stories that are current and relevant to increase awareness on many topics. The first topic on Saturday morning will be called ‘Hidden Tears’. A producer, director and choreographer from Los Angeles is bringing her films and stories, and the topic is about human trafficking.”

What follows is unprecedented according to Carey.

“The next topic is called ‘There is Room for Everyone’, and that is being led by Sophie Rebecca, the first transgender dancer to have completed the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus in the United Kingdom,” she said. “She won our peace prize last year based on the video she submitted, and she’s talking about gender norms and how gender is basically irrelevant in many aspects of dance.”

Rebecca will also be an in-studio guest on Tuesday’s Talk Back program to help kick off the week of ballet Beyond Borders.

The Gala Finale will be Saturday evening starting at 6:00 p.m. with ticket prices ranging from $25 to $100 and are available from the Ballet Beyond Borders website.