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Repertory Dance Theatre
Dancers with the Repertory Dance Theatre use color, texture and sound to bring the beauty of modern dance to young audiences.

In the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Theater, the artistic world of modern dance is not reserved only for grown-ups. With the unveiling of a new season of "Ring Around the Rose," Repertory Dance Theatre and its partners aim to lure children into the beautiful landscape of the performing arts.

Repertory Dance Theatre has made it a mission to draw children into the theater and help them develop a taste for the language of dance.

"When we were founded in 1966, one of the main goals of our mission was to educate others about modern dance," Nicholas Cendese, a 10-year veteran dancer with the company, said. "Dance as an art form teaches children all sorts of skills that they may not get in regular school. Using their bodies in a creative way teaches them that their bodies are healthy, strong, wonderful tools that can be enjoyed."

"Ring Around the Rose" presents an opportunity for children — and their parents — to gather in the theater and experience the joy of creative movement. These wiggle-friendly performances invite families to come together and explore the performing arts in an environment that encourages learning.

"I love that 'Ring Around the Rose' is open to children of all ages and that parents are usually with their children as well. We often get the children and the parents dancing together. The 'Ring Around the Rose' audiences are very fun to perform for," Cendese said.

On Oct. 13, RDT invites kids from across the community to explore the idea of modern dance. Led by the RDT dancers, children will be encouraged to "draw a dance" as they wander into the Black Box Theater for "Dance, Draw, Discover."

This hands-on events allows little ones to ramble onto the stage with professional dancers and performers to imagine the world of dance in terms of color, texture and sound.

"It's important to encourage young children to use their imaginations and creativity," Cendese said. "Dance is a great medium to explore the world around us in a creative way and teaches children how to cooperate, creatively problem solve and think outside the box."

Throughout the ongoing dance season, the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center will host seven additional hands-on events tempting youngsters to dabble in different artistic flavors. Although RDT's contribution is a dance-related event, other art forms will be represented throughout the season as well.

"'Ring Around the Rose' is unique in that it presents art forms of all kinds," Cendese said. "While we are a dance company, the series showcases all sorts of performing arts that can inspire children in their own lives. We hope that children will be exposed to something new, will change the way they look at the world, get them excited and help them want to try something of their own. We hope that the children are inspired to do something creative when they leave the show."

Nov. 10, "Tanner Dance" Celebrate the art of modern dance as some of Utah's talented young dancers from Tanner Dance Company take the stage.

Dec. 8, "Hatch Family Music and Magic" This show brings that beauty of live classical piano and violin to life as the Hatch family musicians share their love of music in a family-friendly performance.

Jan. 12, 2013, "Ballet West" Children get a one-on-one adventure with professional ballet dancers as they experience what life is like up on their toes.

Feb. 9, 2013, "SpyHop/Tumbleweeds" Jump into the world of movies on a journey with film experts. Get a taste for filmmaking while exploring the genre firsthand.

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March 9, 2013, "Youth Theater at the U" Wander into Dr. Seuss' world as Utah's premier young actor training group brings its talent to the stage.

April 13, 2013, "Rippletales" As this entertaining duo conjures up the magic of storytelling, music and audience participation, young dreamers will be mesmerized.

May 11, 2013, "Samba Fogo" Children get to shimmy and shake as they learn about Brazilian dances and rhythms with the musicians of Samba Fogo.

Tickets are only $5 per person for each show, and children under 2 get to watch for free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit rdtutah.org/forkids.

Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children who lives in West Valley City. Her email is mddemoux@gmail.com and she blogs about her adventures in motherhood at demouxfamily.blogspot.com.