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Provided by Repertory Dance Theatre
Kids join performers on stage and learn how to dance through the Ring Around the Rose series.

SALT LAKE CITY — For 20 years, Repertory Dance Theatre has helped kids get their wiggles out onstage through the Ring Around the Rose performance series.

This year marks the series’ 20th anniversary at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center and, as always, comes with “wiggle-friendly” entertainment now through May 2018.

“The goal was — and still is — to introduce children to the performing arts in a really accessible way and to get them used to going to a theater at a young age,” said Stephanie Perkins, director of public relations and marketing for RDT.

Perkins said the kids get to participate in the performing arts instead of being potentially “disruptive” while merely watching from their seats. With Ring Around the Rose, kids are free to make noise and enjoy themselves onstage to their heart’s content.

“All the shows are really wiggle-friendly and interactive,” Perkins said. “It’s not just like ‘sit in your seat and enjoy the show,’ it’s a really a fun way to introduce the kids to the theater.”

Perkins said attendees of this year’s Ring Around the Rose series will see a variety of shows and performance styles.

“We get a wide range of performers throughout the year, so there is theater, dance, cultural performances (and) music … (so) there’s a little bit of everything,” Perkins said. “If you came to the full season, you’d really get a peek at a lot of different art forms.”

The next show in the series, “River.Swamp.Cave.Mountain” was written by Elaine Jarvik, a local playwright and former writer for the Deseret News, and it will be performed by Plan-B Theatre Company on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. at the Rose Wagner.

Jerry Rapier, the artistic director at Plan-B Theatre Company, said the play tackles topics of grief and loss of a loved one but in a sensitive and lighthearted way. He said the play is meant for children in kindergarten up to third grade, although children as young as 4 years old will enjoy it.

Rapier said Plan-B Theatre has been working closely with the Sharing Place, an organization that helps children through the grieving process. He said because of the organization’s partnership with the theater, and because Jarvik has volunteered at the Sharing Place for the past 13 years, the play was able to be written with the close supervision of child development experts.

“The play teaches you what it means to hold someone differently — inside your life, or inside your heart,” Rapier said. “It’s a pretty delicate subject and everyone encounters it at some point in their life.”

Perkins said the Ring Around the Rose series has been happening each year since the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center opened in 1997, and she is excited for kids and parents to come experience everything the series has to offer.

The Ring Around the Rose performance series is for kids of all ages and takes place monthly on the second Saturday at 11 a.m.