Hundreds of local children take to Beaver Creek stage

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What: Across the Universe, Celebrate the Beat’s end of year performance.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

When: Friday. Shows at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Cost: Free.

More information: Visit

BEAVER CREEK ­­— A years’ worth of work will be on display Friday as nearly 300 students from Avon Elementary School, Homestake Peak School and Berry Creek Middle School bring the sounds of the cosmos to life on the Vilar Performing Arts Center stage via the annual Celebrate the Beat end-of-the-year dance performance. The show is directed by Heather Kratz, assisted by Jessica Merritt and accompanied by musical director Patrick Padgett.

“Across the Universe” features students from grades three to eight and their teachers in a variety of musical and dance offerings, accompanied by a live band. Two shows will take place — one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. Both are free.

Students will perform songs from a wide variety of genres and artists, including “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” by Bill Monroe, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire and the “Superman” movie theme by John Williams.

“This is going to be a wonderful and uplifting evening,” said Vail Valley Foundation vice president of education Susie Davis. “I guarantee these students are going to amaze the audience with their performance and all they have learned. But most importantly, they have learned how to learn. This program and these local children are truly inspiring, and I am eager to share the Celebrate the Beat success story with the community through this performance.”

First introduced in the Vail Valley in 2007 by Tracy Straus, founder and artistic director, in partnership with the Vail International Dance Festival director Damian Woetzel as a free educational offering for local children, Celebrate the Beat introduces students to music, dance, art and self-expression, using the award-winning and inspirational National Dance Institute teaching techniques created by Jacques d’Amboise and his staff.

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In addition to the one-week program conducted during the dance festival, Celebrate the Beat was incorporated into the annual curriculum for third- to fifth-grade students at Avon Elementary School in 2008. The program currently features a presence in six other valley-wide elementary schools.

Celebrate the Beat is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation’s Youth Foundation. For more information on Celebrate the Beat, visit The Youth Foundation is the educational arm of the Vail Valley Foundation.

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