"SCIENTIA," CHILDREN'S DANCE THEATRE, Capitol Theatre, Friday; additional performance today, 2 p.m. (355-2787)

OK, "Dr. Who" fans, this one hits close to home.

The Children's Dance Theatre's new production, "Scientia," features a time-traveling young woman named Asha and her mentor known only as the professor. But instead of traveling through time to fight alien enemies and saving the universe, these two travel through time to learn about everything from the galaxy to the center of the Earth to the smallest atom in the human body.

However, they do travel to the not-so-distant future and, alarmed at what they see with the destruction of the environment, return to the present to begin steps to save the Earth.

"Scientia," pronounced SKEE en TEE ah, is the most ambitious production taken on by CDT in its 59 years. The use of multimedia projections and video serves as backdrops and scenes for the various dances. And the script isn't based on a children's storybook. Instead the spoken lines are inspired by Bill Bryson's science textbook, "A Short History of Nearly Everything."

The 250 young dancers become stars, nebulas and space dust, as well as atoms, beams of light, a DNA double helix, white and red blood cells and invading pathogens.

Each of the dances are expansions of what the dancers have learned during CDT's collaboration with the University of Utah science department. And the concepts they have learned become part of the performance.

The dancers energy come alive through their understanding of the way the human body moves but also through the textured and lively score composed by the company's resident composer Tristan Moore.

An array of costumes, designed and created by Cynthia and Wendy Turner and Nancy Cook, captures the personalities of each concept — "Galaxies," "Prisms," "Newton's Principia Mathematica," Atoms & Molecules," "DNA," "The Measure of Things," "The Immune System," "Internet Connections," "Dangerous Beauty," "Rain Forest," "On the Brink" and "A Fine Balance."

The only snag in the production is the amount of spoken lines.

There were times, Friday, when some parents and children in the audience became a little restless as they listened to the professor and Asha discuss the various concepts through lengthy explanations.

But once the dancing started, things were A-OK.


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