Showing posts with label CDT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CDT. Show all posts

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gwinna

Yesterday I went with my family to watch Tashena dance in CDT's production of Gwinna at Capitol Theatre.  The production, based on the children's book of the same name by Barbara Helen Berger, tells the story of a little girl who has wings but doesn't know that she can fly.  A woodworker and his wife want a child desperately and ask the Mother of the Owls to help them.  She promises them a child but they must let her go when she turns twelve.  The couple agrees but when their child, Gwinna, develops wings, they bind them up so she can't leave them.  Gwinna hears a melody that only she can hear and it frightens her parents.  When Mother Owl calls her home her parents try to stop her but they are turned to stone.  When Mother Owl learns that Gwinna can hear the music, she sends her in search of it.  With the help of a griffin Gwinna finds Druantia, the guardian of the trees, who tells her that her song has been forgotten and that she must bring it back to the world.  Gwinna builds a harp and the wind teaches her how to play it.  She flies back to her parents and brings them back to life by playing her harp.  I really liked the story, the choreography, and the music.  The costumes were really beautiful, especially all of the owls and their wings.
Tashena's dance (which was at the end!) was called "Wind in the Harp" and I thought it was very elegant and graceful.  My favorite part of the choreography was when Tashena had a very dramatic leap to mimic the wind.  I always love watching Tashena on stage because she expresses everything she feels through dance.
Tashena did such a good job and we are so proud of her!
Gwinna will be performed once again at the Sandy Amphitheater on June 21 (a free concert) and at the Utah Arts Festival on June 25.  Come see my beautiful and talented niece perform.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Utah Arts Festival 2015

Every year Tashena performs with CDT (Children's Dance Theatre which is the performing arm of the Tanner Dance Program at the University of Utah) at the Utah Arts Festival and I always try to attend.  This year I decided not to go because it was going to be incredibly hot but then I had several agents schedule appointments to show my house (I've had quite a few showings but no offers yet) at the last minute yesterday so I changed my mind.  Even though it was so blasted hot, I'm really glad I went because I always love watching Tashena dance.  One must have a game plan for the festival because it can be overwhelming, especially with such large crowds.  I like to walk around for an hour looking at the artwork on display.  This year there was a 3D chalk artist who was amazing.  Then I like to head to the festival stage to claim a seat before it gets too crowded.  CDT performed Crumb and the Pirates once again and I really enjoyed it.  Tashena is in the dance "Fog" and I especially liked it when the dancers circled Crumb's boat.  They really moved like fog!  After CDT performs, I like to check out all of the food vendors and grab something to eat back at the festival stage to wait for Ballet West's performance.  Once again, I opted for the garlic burger and fresh cut fries.  For the past several years, Ballet West has followed CDT and it always amazes me that Tashena dances on the same stage as world-class dancers!  Four of the dancers from Ballet West performed three pieces: two choreographed by Christopher Ruud and one by his father, Tomm.  Ruud is definitely my favorite dancer with Ballet West and I always enjoy watching him on stage.  I think he is an incredibly athletic and intense dancer.  Even though I was a dripping and disheveled mess by the time I made it to my car, I saw two excellent performances and had one of the best burgers I've ever had.  Not too shabby!  The Utah Arts Festival concludes today at Library Square downtown and I recommend going (even in the heat) because there are lots of live performances, activities for the kids, great food, and row after row of booths featuring amazing art.  Go here for more information.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Crumb and the Pirates

Yesterday Tashena performed at the Capitol Theatre with Children's Dance Theatre (CDT) in their production of Crumb and the Pirates.  I really love that Tashena performs on the same stage as prima ballerinas and Broadway stars!  My entire family went to support her (as we do every year).  While I really enjoy watching Tashena play sports, I especially love watching her perform on stage!  She is such a beautiful dancer and I think she expresses everything she feels through dance.  Tashena was on the CDT Dancers' Council this year so she got to perform in an extra dance called "Silver."  It was very beautiful with original music composed specifically for it by Wachira Waigwa-Stone.  Crumb and the Pirates tells the story of a fishing village in Napoli.  After being caught in a terrible storm, many fishermen from the village are presumed dead.  A young boy named Crumb thinks that his father, one of the missing fishermen, is still alive and decides to borrow a boat and look for him.  As he is fishing, he feels a tug on his pole so he reels in his line only to discover that he has brought a sunken pirate ship, with a group of prisoners in the hold, to the surface.  Captain Rafael the Red decides to follow Crumb back to Napoli and the pirates wreak havoc on the village.  When Rafael decides to marry his mother, Marie, Crumb comes up with a plan to banish the pirates back to the sea but not before discovering the mystery in the ship's hold!  I really enjoyed this story and all of the dances, especially the pirates, the prisoners, and the little girls who portrayed seagulls!  Tashena's dance was "Fog" which was very mysterious and atmospheric.  The dancers wore gray tunics and they moved in and out of actual fog on the stage.  The dancers seemed to disappear at times!  A lot of the choreography involved rolling and tumbling across the stage which I thought was very effective at simulating how fog moves.  Tashena was amazing!  I always get a tear in my eye watching her!
Crumb and the Pirates will be performed once again at the Sandy Amphitheater on June 23 (a free concert) and at the Utah Arts Festival on June 27.  Come see my beautiful and talented niece perform!

Note:  CDT is the performing arm of the Tanner Dance Program at the University of Utah.  Go here for more information.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Utah Arts Festival 2014

Saturday I went to the Utah Arts Festival.  My niece Tashena dances with Children's Dance Theatre (CDT) and they always perform at the festival.  It has become a fun tradition every year to watch Tashena dance and then spend the afternoon soaking in as much of the art, food, music, movies, and dance as I can.  It is always amazing!  I walked around for about an hour looking at the row upon row of booths. I found some really beautiful and interesting pieces.  I loved just about every piece of jewelry I saw and I was quite impressed with some bells.  I wish I could have bought one of them.  Then I watched Tashena dance with CDT in The Three Questions on the Festival Stage.  Once again, I absolutely loved Tashena's dance, "Childhood Lost."  I loved the mournful cello music and the fuchsia and purple brocade costumes (Tashena thinks they are really heavy).  I just love watching Tashena dance because I think she is amazing.  I know I am a little bit biased but she has such a presence on stage.  I really loved the performance. After CDT danced, I spent some time wandering around the food booths. Many of Salt Lake City's best restaurants were represented and I finally opted for some fries and a garlic burger.  Delicious! Then I went back to the Festival Stage to see Ballet West perform.  I am always so impressed that Tashena dances on the same stage as Ballet West!  The first ballet was "Without Fall" to the music of Vivaldi's Concerto for Violin and Strings.  It was choreographed by Christopher Rudd, one of my favorite dancers.  The next ballet was "Mobile," which was choreographed by Ruud's father Tomm. Three dancers made intricate shapes within a ten foot circle in the middle of the stage.  It was simply stunning!  Finally, the dancers performed "Drums," which was a ballet by Christopher Ruud commissioned by the Utah Arts Festival.  The inspiration for this piece was Japanese drums and the choreography was incredibly innovative.  As usual, I really enjoyed watching Ballet West.  It was a fun afternoon and evening at the Utah Arts Festival, which continues until 11:00 tonight. Go here for more information.

Note:  While I was watching Ballet West perform at the festival three years ago, I actually sat next to Christopher Ruud!  Did I mention that he is my favorite dancer?

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Three Questions

Several weeks ago Children's Dance Theatre (CDT), the performing arm of the University of Utah Tanner Dance Program, presented The Three Questions at the Capitol Theatre.  It was a retelling of a story by Leo Tolstoy in which the son of the Emperor of China must learn to rule wisely after his father is murdered.  When he is eighteen, the council asks him three questions to determine if he is fit to rule:  What is the right thing to do?  When is the best time to do it?  Who is the most important one?  Each dance was an interpretation of his quest to find the answers to these questions and the program was simply beautiful.  My very favorite dance was actually Tashena's dance (which, believe it or not, is not always the case).  Her dance was entitled "Childhood Lost" and the music and choreography evoked such a sense of longing that I actually had tears in my eyes!  I also thought the costumes were amazing because they seemed to shimmer with each movement (Tashena thought they were heavy).  I absolutely love watching Tashena on stage because she is such a beautiful dancer and my entire family was so proud of her!

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Note:  I have to brag a little more about this beautiful and talented girl!  In addition to being a dancer, she is also a three sport athlete!  She played volleyball and basketball this year and yesterday was her first track meet.  She threw the discus 89 feet 11 inches which shattered the school record.  Her coach thinks she is well on her way to breaking the district and state records.  The other coaches can't believe she is a seventh grader!  We already knew that she was amazing!
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