Virginia Tanner (1915 - 1979), a pioneer in the world of children's dance, was guided by the premise that : "The motivating force behind my work is not only developing excellent dancers, but more importantly, developing young people who are useful, imaginative, worthwhile human beings." This philosophy is the foundation of the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program. Classes take a holistic approach to teaching and learning, respecting each dancers' individual development level and needs. The studio is a sanctuary for children, a place where they can step into an environment which nurtures positive growth and development.
More than 850 dancers participate in classes held at the University of Utah studio and satellite locations: Ogden, Bountiful, Park City and Sandy. Through the creative processes of dance, arts integration, and a commitment to excellence, we create an environment in every class to explore and unveil each individual's potential.
Children's Dance Theatre
Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) is the performing arm of the University of Utah Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program. The company was established in 1949 by Virginia Tanner. Since 1979, under the artistic direction of Mary Ann Lee, the company has continued to grow in size and programming, resulting in continued state, national and international recognition.
Fine Arts Preschool
The arts of music, dance, drama, literature, visual arts and creative writing are natural disciplines that help children grow through experience and find joyful ways to express themselves. Curriculum has been developed based on this premise, and all classes have "hands-on" involvement in three or four art forms each day. Classes meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings throughout the year at the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program Studio.
Arts in Education
To demonstrate and promote the essential role of the arts in the learning and development of every child, Virginia Tanner established one of Utah’s first Arts in Education Programs in the 1960s. The program incorporates dance and movement into academic curriculum using high-quality, innovative, and sequential arts instruction. Tanner Dance supports 4,500 scholarship students in site-based, weekly, yearlong classes at fourteen elementary schools along the Wasatch Front in the Side-by-Side Dance Training Residency Program. This program, which is financially supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, provides in-depth, curriculum based dance experiences that engage students and classroom teachers in quality dance instruction. Other Arts in Education services include lecture/demonstrations and school performances. All Arts in Education Programs are designed to work with teachers and administrators to provide children with opportunities that offer a complete artistic experience and support the Utah State Core Curriculum.