The Children’s Dane Theatre began in 1993. It occurred to a young dancer’s mother (Patti Novinger), that her daughter (Amanda Novinger, age 7) so loved to perform that she couldn’t wait for the once yearly recital. It also occurred to Patti that her shy, young daughter was reaping so many benefits from dance, other than what immediately first met the eye. Amanda was becoming more self-confident, more secure, and as it turns out, forging life-long friendships. Patti, who was always, always thinking, writing and helping, approached Mrs. Deborah Skinner with the idea that one performance a year was just not enough. She casually asked if there was any way we could do more and hence the glimmer of an idea was nurtured and developed. Our first performance was small, but well received. Fifteen young dancers performed an original production of Peter Pan with such joy that Patti and Mrs. Deborah knew they were on to something well worth the effort.
Now, a little over 24 years later, CDT is a bona fide non-profit organization dedicated to education through the arts. CDT attained non-profit status in early 2003. The 2016-17 season is the fourteenth season of CDT producing the Nutcracker and the fourth season producing Alice in Wonderland.
CDT has a very hard-working and talented board of directors. We now have costume mistresses, set designers and builders, plus a force of almost 100 dancers, including some with special needs. There could not possibly be another more industrious or dedicated group of parents working so diligently toward a common goal. This in itself is extremely amazing; particularly, with the time pressure constraints we all live under in today’s society. These selfless volunteers are more than heroes.
As long as we have individuals willing to stand up, sacrifice, and work towards a common goal, we will have a sense of community, responsibility, and the importance of art for art’s sake. These kinds of experiences for the dancers, as well as the behind-the-scenes workers, create a harmonious environment of understanding and compassion. Yes, it is difficult and there are always challenges, but think of the rewards! It is a vehicle that helps us to learn how to strive for our personal best. And when all is said and done, isn’t that why we are all here?