PROVO — Members of the Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company will get a proverbial leg up on Olympic participation this summer, when the internationally renowned group joins the 2008 Beijing Cultural Olympiad.

The company will spend three weeks in Hong Kong and China in June.

The culmination of the 12-performance itinerary includes three events scheduled June 23-25 in Beijing. The BYU dancers will perform on the first day of events at a Beijing Cultural Olympic venue.

The following two days they will appear in the Chinese capital's Poly Theatre.

Like other Games in the past — including Salt Lake's Winter Games in 2002 — Cultural Olympiad events are conducted well before, during and even after each Olympic competition. The Beijing Games begin Aug. 8.

BYU performing arts groups have toured China nearly two dozen times since the Young Ambassadors made the first foray there in 1979. The same group was the university's most recent to appear in China as well, having performed last year.

The June tour will mark the Ballroom Dance Company's fifth appearance in China. Previous tours were in 1984, 1987, 1993 and 2000, long before the current student dancers were participating but all within the tenure of Lee and Linda Wakefield, who have directed the company since 1980.

In addition to the three Beijing dates, the tour begins with June 6 and 7 performances in Hong Kong, followed by events in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hanzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao and Yantai.

Beijing has hosted an "Olympic Cultural Festival" from mid-June to mid-July each summer since 2003. This summer's event, the sixth consecutive, will be the final one leading into the actual Beijing Games.