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Children’s Dance Theatre Celebrates 55 Years with “The Three Questions”

June 3, 2004 — The University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre celebrates 55 years of sharing dance with a public premiere of “The Three Questions” Friday, June 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Utah Arts Festival, and Tuesday, June 29 at 8:00 p.m. at the Sandy Amphitheatre.

The Utah Arts Festival will be held at Library Square in downtown Salt Lake. Admission to the Utah Arts Festival is $7.00 for Adults, $3.50 for seniors 60 + and free for children 12 and under. The Sandy Amphitheatre performance will be a free event, no tickets necessary.

The dancers and faculty of CDT have choreographed an exciting work, “The Three Questions,” inspired by Jon J. Muth’s retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s short story. The story, set in China, follows the life of a young boy as he is struck by tragedy and loss. In order to become the emperor he must find the answers to the three questions: Who is the most important? What is the right thing to do? When is the best time to do things?

Each CDT class, from second grade through high school, has selected a part of the story to bring to life through movement and music. Costume designers Cynthia Turner, Wendy Turner and Nancy Cook are creating costumes based on the story and the choreography.

Composer, Tristan Moore, relocated to his hometown of Salt Lake City in 2003 to create the original score for CDT’s new production. The recorded score features the vocal talents of two female singers- Diana Rogers Glissmeyer and Hong Chen. Elements of traditional Chinese folk song, Chinese opera, and the contemporary sound of Mando-pop are among the influences for this score. Tristan Moore previously composed the soundtracks of CDT’s “Crumb and the Pirates” (1999) and “Sense Pass King” (2001).

Children’s Dance Theatre was established by Virginia Tanner in 1949. Under the direction of Mary Ann Lee since 1979, CDT continues as the performing arm of the University of Utah Virginia Tanner Creative Dance program. CDT was founded on the philosophy that through the discipline of dance, a child develops a positive self-concept, effective and creative problem-solving skills, cooperation, and an appreciation for the uniqueness of the individual and the diversity of his or her community. CDT produces technically excellent dancers, but more importantly strives to develop “young people who are useful, imaginative and worthwhile human beings.”

Children’s Dance Theatre uniquely demonstrates that children can present professional performances and create choreography that is artistically significant. Ranging in age from 8 to 18, this company of 280 young dancers shares the creative process through lecture demonstrations and performances for more than 45,000 Utahns annually. CDT reinforces healthy lifestyle choices, enabling our young people to teach by example and encouraging positive methods for meeting the challenges of today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults.

Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) performances are supported by an appropriation from the Utah State Legislature through the Utah State Office of Education; Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) funds; the Utah State Legislature, Utah State Office of Education; and other arts organizations and individuals. This support allows public school children to experience the Sandy Amphitheatre performance at no cost to themselves or their schools. Children from throughout the state of Utah are invited to attend school matinee performances on Tuesday, June 29 at 10:00 a.m. Schools wishing to attend should contact Anne Marie Smith at 581-7374 for reservation information.