This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Students at Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are preparing to perform "Alice In Wonderland" not as a play but in creative dance form.
The approximately 70 students (the entire student body) in the production are each unique, says Deja Mitchell, artistic director of the performance. "Alice in Wonderland is a perfect theme for this group of kids exploring a world of possibility by being creative, tenacious and brave," she says. "They have all different combinations of deafness, blindness, physical and mental abilities. Some are in wheelchairs, some have walkers or braces."
Working with the students was satisfying on various levels, she says. "I have enjoyed the challenge of thinking of dance in different ways. It makes the moments I see of connection, expression, and joy in the kids all the more rewarding."
The show is scheduled for 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., April 21, at the school, 742 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, and is free to the public
"In classes with the kids I've taken ideas from the story and explored them in dance, like when Alice falls down the rabbit hole," Mitchell said. "We had a blast exploring the idea of falling and going down a rabbit hole. This was fun because many of [the students] were able to be successful with this movement."
Mitchell incorporates African drums with the creative dancing. The students seem to connect with that. "Even if deaf, they can feel the rhythm," she says.
Mitchell teaches African Dance at Weber State University, and drumming, modern dance, tribal fusion belly dance, and more at Eccles Community Art Center. She teaches exercise and yoga class to senior citizens at Weber County Library.