The Salt Lake Chamber announced today that Mary Ann Lee, Artistic Director for the University of Utah Children’s Dance Theatre & Tanner Dance Program, will be honored with the 5th Annual Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award. The award recognizes an inspirational individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to address critical community needs.

“We are excited to recognize Mary Ann Lee’s decades of service to our arts community,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, upon announcing the award. “Lee’s teaching and performance career has taken her across the globe and spread the joy of the arts to so many. She is an inspiration to our youth and represents all that the Utah Community Builder Award stands for.”

Lee was chosen by the Utah Community Builders Advisory Board, co-chaired by Lisa Eccles, president and COO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, and Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes.

“Each year, the Lane Beattie Utah Community Builder Award recognizes one of our best servant leaders in the community, someone who has devoted their work to making a significant impact in our great state,” said Ivory. “Mary Ann Lee’s career has not only inspired a love of dance and visual arts, but has also instilled life skills that students carry into their daily lives. As a master educator, she influences more than 36,000 Utah children and adults each year and we celebrate her success.”

Utah Community Builders, the Chamber’s nonprofit foundation, engages business leaders to address pressing community issues and to develop and strengthen Utah’s workforce. This reinforces partnerships between business leaders, service providers, academic experts and government agencies on social issues affecting Utah’s business community.

“No one is more deserving of this award than Mary Ann,” said Eccles. “Her decades of dedication to the youth of our community and state have instilled confidence, creativity, and a love of the arts in thousands of children through movement and dance. Mary Ann’s impact will continue to benefit Utahns for generations to come, elevating the arts that enrich the humanity and economic vitality of our communities.”

Lee will be formally recognized during the Giant in our City event on April 27, 2023, at the Grand America Hotel where Wilford Clyde, CEO of Clyde Companies, will be honored as the 44th Giant in our City.

For more information about the event: click here.

About the Honoree:
Mary Ann Lee is the Artistic Director of the Tanner Dance Program (TD) and Children’s Dance Theatre (CDT) at the University of Utah, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Dance. She trained with Virginia Tanner and was a member of CDT. She received master’s degrees in dance and French from Mills College and the University of Cincinnati, respectively. She performed professionally with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and Moveable Feast Dance Company in San Francisco and with the Contemporary Dance Theatre in Ohio. Lee was a dance specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Artists-in-Schools program and taught throughout the US. She has been an invited guest teacher nationally and internationally. Lee continues to teach at the University of Utah in the departments of Modern Dance, Ballet, and Education, and in the TD Program.

About the University of Utah Tanner Dance Program:
Virginia Tanner created the Tanner Dance Program in 1949 with a mission of “Creating worthwhile human beings one dancer, one artist at a time”. Virginia’s founding philosophies continue to be the guiding principles for the organization. Since its inception, the University of Utah Tanner Dance Program has brought the joy and positive influence of the arts into the lives of more than one million students, teachers, and community members and has created a rich multi-generational legacy in Utah. The program reaches over 36,000 children and adults each year through Children’s Dance Theatre, the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance and Studio Program, the Arts in Education Program, the Fine Arts Preschool and French Immersion Preschool, and Dancers with Disabilities programs for children and adults.

The program’s unique curriculum is recognized throughout the world and nurtures a love of dance, music, theater, and visual arts, and instills creative thinking, peer empathy, and problem-solving skills that students utilize in classes and carry into their daily lives. Dance and arts classes in the studios and elementary schools provide life-enhancing opportunities for every child and adult participant. Beyond the classes, Tanner Dance programs have a broad reach that capture and present the joy of dancing and performing. Most performances are provided to audiences at little to no cost and reach a wide range of participants including elementary school children, many of whom are from under-served populations such as at-risk youth, ESL, low-income, and refugee communities and the community at large.

For professional artists and musicians, Tanner Dance provides a rich environment to participate in the artistic process, collaborate with peers, and learn from mentors who have been a part of the Tanner Dance programs for many years. A large percentage of the artistic and administrative staff are alumni of Tanner Dance programs and for them and many students and families, Tanner Dance is a secure and treasured home to carry on Virginia Tanner’s legacy.