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Virginia Tanner, a pioneer in the world of children's dance, was guided by the premise that, "The motivating force behind this work is not only developing excellent dancers, but more importantly, developing young people who are useful, imaginative, worthwhile human beings." This philosophy is the foundation of the Tanner Dance Program. Classes take a holistic approach to teaching and learning, respecting each dancer's individual development level and needs. The studio is a sanctuary for children, a place where they can step into an environment which nurtures positive growth and development. Children's Dance Theatre (CDT) is the performing arm of the University of Utah Tanner Dance Program. The company was established in 1949 by Virginia Tanner. Since 1979, under the artistic direction of Mary Ann Lee, the company has continued to grow in size and programming, resulting in continued state, national and international recognition. In February 2000, a major goal was realized when the program became a part of the University's Department of Modern Dance in the College of Fine Arts.