As many native Vermonters between the ages of five and 40 could probably tell you, showing up to a grade school classroom to the sight of life-size puppets is nothing out of the ordinary.
The seventh annual Dance Showcase fundraising event to benefit Puppets in Education will show at the Flynn’s Main Street Landing Black Box Theatre Feb. 4.
The event was started by puppeteer Sarah Vogelsang-Card, the main showcase organizer and a dancer, with a goal to foster a place where all these different types of dance — can come together, she said.
“The core of the organization’s mission is to teach inclusiveness, empathy and acceptance for all,” Vogelsang-Card said.
Puppets in Education’s teaching programs, on average, reach 10,000 elementary and secondary school students every year, according to their website.
Some of the topics addressed through different puppet programs include bullying prevention, alcohol and drug prevention, cultural diversity and inclusion, autism awareness and mental health, according to the Puppets in Education website.
“I’m not from Vermont, but I do know a lot of people who grew up here,” showcase helper Melaney Pettini said. “Whenever I mention this organization, every single one of them has a fond memory of Puppets in Education coming to their school and teaching them something.”
Sophomore Mea Anderson, a Chester, Vermont native, said the puppet visits at her school were really creepy.
The showcase itself will feature selections by dance companies from all over the northeast, including UVM’s Ballet Viridis, as well as work from UVM dance professors Paula Higa and Lois Trombley.
To learn more about the dance companies that will be performing, find tickets and support the mission of Puppets in Education, go to flynntix.org.