Tappin’ to a hip rhythm: Nine of America’s top tappers make up TAP KIDS
BRECKENRIDGE – The Riverwalk Center has traded ballet slippers for tap shoes.
Last year, the Riverwalk Center featured the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, but this year, hip kids with a passion for tap take over the stage for two nights of toe-tappin’, heel-slappin’ antics.
Nine exceptional rhythm dancers, ages 10 through 18, celebrate American youth culture and the art of tap in “A Celebration of Dance.” TAP KIDS deliver an uplifting and inspirational show with numbers ranging from “Basketball Challenge” to the hilarious “Detention.”
“What’s really great about this show is it’s actually a theatrical event,” said producer Lisa Hopkins. “The characters are loosely based on the kids’ own lives.”
The scenes take place on a school day, right before the school dance.
But, the performance isn’t just child’s play. TAP KIDS is gaining recognition nationwide, playing to sold-out, standing ovation crowds.
“The show touches on the universal theme of growing up and relationships,” Hopkins said. “We wanted to have a common ground other than dance.”
Producers Hopkins and Philip Stern of New York Stage Originals selected the dancers in TAP KIDS in 2001, after developing an intensive summer tap program the year prior. Stern writes and arranges original music for TAP KIDS.
“The talent is so amazing, and the individual personalities of the kids are so interesting,” Stern said in a press release.
The kids rehearse in New York, but they hail from Texas, the Midwest, the East Coast, the West Coast – and Fort Collins.
The youngest, fifth-grader Kileigh Bradford-Williams, has tapped since she was 3 in Marion, Indiana.
The two 13-year-olds in TAP KIDS, Brittany Parks and Bret Easterling, live in Texas and California, respectively.
Parks put her first pair of tap shoes on when she was 3, and she hasn’t stopped moving her feet since. Though she also studies ballet, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical jazz, tap is her primary passion. She loves meeting people on her tours and hopes to eventually dance on Broadway.
Easterling played Emilio in “Mrs. Santa Claus” starring Angela Lansbury. His other movie credits include “Geppetto,” starring Drew Carey, and “Dance with Me,” starring Vanessa Williams.
Sixteen-year-old J.C. Schuster lives in Texas but has studied and competed in New York for six years. He’s performed in commercials, including one for J.C. Penny Co. Inc.
Erin Ruebhausen is 17 and lives in Illinois. She has studied tap with Robert Reed (grandson of the late tap dance legend Maceo Anderson) and teaches at Dance Productions Unlimited. Tre Holloway, also 17, has been dancing and performing for the past seven years. His goal is to become a famous tap dancer and teach others.
The oldest member of TAP KIDS, 18-year-old Liz Plott, lives in Ohio and has been dancing since she was 2. She’s a dance major at Kent State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and has won more than 75 junior and senior soloists awards and titles, including 1996 Jr. Ms. Dance of Ohio.
Tickets for the explosive tap dancers are $18 for adults and $8 for kids under 19 and may be purchased at the Riverwalk Center box office or by calling (970) 547-3100. The show starts at 8 p.m. today and Friday.
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