TANNER DANCE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
Virginia Tanner created the Tanner Dance Program in 1949, and today the program continues to nurture an appreciation of dance, music, literature, theater and visual arts in a beautiful home, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex. The program reaches over 40,000 children and adults throughout Utah each year.
Registration For 2021-2022 Year
Registration for the 2021-2022 year is now open! Registration for the year automatically covers both Fall and Spring semesters.
In Accord Music Ensemble Auditions
On August 17, 2021 we will be holding auditions for musicians in junior high and high school to join our new Music Ensemble class! Click on the button below to learn more information.
A Compassionate and Inclusive Community
To our Tanner Dance community,
We empathize with and share the sadness and frustration that so many in our community are feeling for the many victims of racism, inequality, and violence. At Tanner Dance, we value every child’s unique voice, and are committed to providing a safe, inclusive space for all to create and express themselves. We are dedicated to contributing to a more just and equitable society.
We are increasing our efforts to make the Tanner Dance experience accessible to diverse communities through our scholarship program, Creative Connections class, and outreach into Title One schools, rural areas, and community programs. Our goal is to create a pathway to success that empowers our students to contribute positively to their community no matter their race, faith, gender, or social economic status.
As the flagship university, the University of Utah is positioned to support state leaders in their efforts to shape criminal justice reform, promote social justice and equity, and address pervasive racism. This spring, university leadership began campus conversations designed to bring community leaders and scholarly experts together in search of understanding and solutions to racism, oppression, and hatred.
Please know that all our Tanner Dance faculty and staff are fully committed to creating a compassionate and inclusive community for all.
Welcome to Tanner Dance!
Virginia Tanner began teaching children’s dance classes in the early 1940s, but it was in 1949 when the Children’s Dance Theatre gave its first official performance at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus. We mark the beginning of this incredible program of dance for children from that time when Doris Humphrey, a leader in American modern dance first saw Virginia’s small company perform and wrote to Virginia, “Your children have left an indelible impression with me of true creative dance. Your children offer a wonderful proof of the power of the young artist, guided wisely, untarnished by dogma or routine, un-stereotyped and lovely. This source of fresh ideas in dance-art is a treasure house to which you have found the key. Only to one who believes in children and understands them could this treasure have been unlocked. Congratulations for bringing Children’s Dance Theatre to reality, and for being its faithful guardian and creator. Their performance I saw in Salt Lake gave me a lift in spirit which I shall always remember. I think beautiful children dancing have more to teach us than we have to teach them.”
"We love that everyone involved in the program sincerely cares about our children as people, and wants them to feel good about who they are."
-Tanner Dance parent
"We seek to engage the mind and spirit of every child, to train the body as an instrument, to embrace the hard work of dance, and finally, to set the imagination free."
-Mary Ann Lee
"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."
"Without reserve; each child spun, ran, waved his arms, or joined a friend. The freedom of movement and limitless expression touched me. I wrote a Facebook post titled, 'The Gift of a Child with Behavioral Problems'. In it, I said, 'You’ll wonder how this ungainly bird could ever be expected to leave the nest without leaving a path of destruction in its wake.' Watching my son leap and twirl, I thought of this quote. Thanks to you, I saw my bird fly."
-arts in education parent
"Whether they spoke English or Swahili, whether they were Autistic or neurotypical, whether they were able or disabled, EVERY second grader at Granger was a choreographer, a dancer, an artist, and a performer this year. A wheelchair-bound 2nd grader with a severe and painful skin condition told his teacher, ‘When I go to dance, I feel like I am normal. When I dance, I feel like I am free. "
-Principal, Granger Elementary
"I came away from the parent meeting tonight just full of love and joy and gratitude for CDT. It is a privilege to be a part of this nurturing, strong, visionary company, as a musician and as a parent. I am so happy that my little girls get to "grow up" in the arms of this place. It matters so much to me! "
-tanner dance parent
"Besides the fact that our son loves the Elevate and the Dancers with Disabilities classes that he attends, they are also wonderfully therapeutic for him. Through these programs he makes and meets goals that are quite constant with speech and physical therapy. For speech, he works on pronunciation and participation in social experiences that could not be duplicated elsewhere. The increase in strength and agility and the joy in movement that he experiences every week are obvious physical benefits. Participating in Elevate is a dream come true both for him and for us, as his parents!"
-dancers with disabilities parent
"I feel so blessed to have found a place that reflects the values I want to instill in my children, a place that honors character and goodness. It truly is the happiest place to dance!"
-tanner dance parent
CHILDREN'S DANCE THEATRE
Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT), the performing arm of the University of Utah Tanner Dance Program, was established in 1949 by Virginia Tanner. The company of 280 young dancers, ages 8 through 18, performs for more than 30,000 Utahns annually. Under Mary Ann Lee’s artistic direction since 1979, the organization continues to grow in size and programming, earning state, national, and international recognition.