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Neighbors Growing Together | Feb 21, 2018

Silhouettes to express the power of shadow during the Tanager Place Expressive Arts Gala

By Diana Nollen, The Gazette | Feb 05, 2018

Cedar Rapids native Lynne Waggoner-Patton, owner and director of The Silhouettes shadow dancers who found fame on “America’s Got Talent,” has seen firsthand the healing power of expressive arts.

“The arts have truly made a difference in children’s lives and are a necessary tool to healing,” she said via email from Germany, where adults from her Denver-area troupe are performing through Feb. 26. “The benefit of expression through playing instruments, singing, painting, working with clay creates harmony and growth in the brain as well as allows the child to release their emotions through creativity.

“There have been hundreds of ‘troubled’ children who have crossed my path in life and their entire world changes when they are given the opportunity to dance or create a show. What is surprising is that the majority of those labeled as ‘troubled’ children are usually the most talented. Their talent is just hidden deeply inside and allowing it to be set free through the arts gives those children a new view of life and their true potential.”

Because her troupe’s mission is to help and support homeless, abused and neglected children, she said she was thrilled to create a Silhouettes video to be shown during the Tanager Place Expressive Arts Gala. The fundraiser will be held Saturday night (2/3) at Eastbank Venue in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Building on the theme “Children Bring Color to Our World,” the event also will feature artwork created by children in Tanager’s Expressive Arts program.

Patton learned about Tanager Place when her dancers performed at the Paramount Theatre in 2012. They donated $5,000 to the organization that provides programming and services to help at-risk children with behavioral, emotional or psychiatric disorders achieve success.

“The Silhouettes cast is primarily made up of children. We felt it was a perfect fit — kids helping kids,” she said.

Patton and her troupe have created for free a 15-minute video based on stories from children helped through Tanager.

“These survivors’ stories helped shape the performance that grows into a powerful, inspirational and moving piece,” Patton said.

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