SALT LAKE CITY — The Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program for Children has been a Utah arts organization for 75 years now. On Tuesday, members of the Children's Dance Theatre donned hard hats and construction wear to try out their new dance space for the first time in their soon-to-be new studios.
The dance with construction wear will be part of a documentary outlining the history of Tanner Dance and looking to the future.
The few dancers from Tuesday represent the hundreds of children who study creative movement with Tanner Dance. Both the artistic team and the youngsters have envisioned such a place for decades.
"You can see here we have room to have a fine arts preschool space," said Mary Ann Lee, artistic director of the Children's Dance Theatre. "We have room to do music, to do visual art. There's an art studio in this building (and) six new studios."
"When I step into this space, it is this dream come true. It's putting your feet on the floors of the place where you're going to dance. Where you're going to find your voice."
From preschool through high school, the students learn the kind of dance that focuses on developing the whole child. And this documentary follows the history of this Utah arts organization, not only its various homes but its legacy that now spans three-quarters of a century.
"When I step into this space, it is this dream come true. It's putting your feet on the floors of the place where you're going to dance, where you're going to find your voice," Lee said. "Where every child for the next 75 years in this program will be able to find his or her voice."
Dancer Megan Matthews says the new studio, to be built on the campus of the University of Utah, will be a great experience for the program.
"Tanner Dance has always been about celebrating our roots and growing our wings," Matthews said. "And I find that our old building was our roots and our new building is our wings and we can expand and grow even better as a group and as individual dancers."
The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex will be finished in about six months by the end of December. If you would like to learn more about Tanner Dance, you can visit http://www.tannerdance.utah.edu/.