The story of “The Apple-Pip Princess” blossomed on the stage of the Capitol Theater on Friday evening as 280 well-trained young dancers in the University of Utah's Tanner Dance Program Children’s Dance Theatre delighted an appreciative and enthusiastic full house.
An evening of synergy, sound, movement, costumes and set design came together in a beautiful whole. It was evident that a talented team of artists gave a great deal of thought, planning and rehearsal to the production.
“It was wonderful, as always,” said Jane Rogers, audience member and great aunt to two of the performers.
“This is one of my favorite concerts,” said Laurel Cannon Alder, past chairwoman of CDT’s advisory board. “It was evident during the performance that each child is loved in a way that makes them each feel beautiful.”
“It’s a remarkable experience,” said actress Anne Cullimore Decker, who narrated the program. “It’s my pleasure to be involved.”
Dance ideas were inspired by the picture book “The Apple-Pip Princess" by Jane Ray. Selected under the leadership of CDT’s artistic director, Mary Ann Lee, the ideas were titled “A Land Far from Here,” “Parched Earth,” “Scarlet Shoes,” “Mirror,” “The Wooden Box,” “Choices,” “Wooden Tower,” “Metal Tower,” "Raindrops,” “Splash of Sunlight,” “Spiders Web,” “Nightingale’s Song” and “Transformation.”
From the jazzy, big bold sound of “Scarlet Shoes” to the gentle, poetic “Nightingale’s Song,” Tristan Moore’s original score captured the essence and energy of the 13 dance ideas.
Creative choreography matched the rhythms and sounds of the music perfectly. For example, “Scarlet Shoes” was all about feet — bold, confident strutting strides. “Raindrops” created falling rain — shimmering, shivering, dissolving into puddles. “Metal Tower” sparkled with percussive movement and sound.
Imaginative costumes created by Cynthia Turner, Wendy Turner and Nancy Cook reflected the energy and mood of each number. Parched earth languished in drab earth tones; raindrops shimmered in luminous spandex; nightingales were clothed like delicate moonbeams on the night air; and the three princesses’ costume colors captured their personalities — bold red, shiny blue and earthy green.
Illustrations from the picture book projected on a large screen behind the dancers created the scenery and the illusion of being in the land of the “Apple-Pip Princess.”
Lee’s vision for the production, as a reflection of CDT’s mission, was voiced in her director’s message: “The apple pip is a single idea, person or voice nourished by soothing rain, bold sunlight and a rainbow spark of creativity; sheltered in a delicate spider’s web; reassured with the swish of a starbird’s feather; and sustained by a burst of nightingale song. Planted in such rich soil, any humble seed can grow in lifelong beauty.”
Based on Friday evening’s performance, this mission and goal is being met.
Throughout the year, the Tanner Dance Program provides outreach programs and services to more than 40,000 students. For more information about the Children’s Dance Theatre, visit its website at http://www.tannerdance.utah.edu.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street in Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.