Tap show ‘Just Go to the Movies’ to benefit Honor FlightWritten by Amy Biolchini | | ABiolchini@toledofreepress.com
The Off Broadway Dance Center’s Manhattan Dance Company will present its annual showcase at 2 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Ave Maria Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame Academy. Titled “Just Go to the Movies,” the tap dance show will feature music from classic Broadway tunes as well as live music from Ragtime Rick and The Voices of Harmony.
Karen Knoblauch, the show coordinator, has danced with the Manhattan Dance Company for 18 years.
“It runs the gamut. We try to appeal to all ages, even though the majority of the audience that comes to us is 50 plus,” Knoblauch said.
The Manhattan Dance Company is composed of a group of older women who have dedicated their free time outside of their professional careers to learning tap dance.
“They say dance like no one’s watching. Here’s a bunch of 60 year old women – and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Knoblauch said. “The average age of our main group is about 60 years old. Most of us were in our 40s when we joined.”
The Off Broadway Dance Center also instructs students from the Maumee Senior Center, who will dance at “Just Go to the Movies.” Dancers from Hot Shots Dance Company will be featured as well.
This marks the third time that the Off Broadway Dance Center will donate 50 cents from each ticket to the Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio. Honor Flight is a charity that flies American veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to them for their service. The dance company will dedicate a special song to the organization during the program.
“It’s something that’s been very near and dear to us for three years,” Knoblauch said. “So far we’ve been able to raise over $6,000 for them.”
The Manhattan Dance Company began 20 years ago at St. John’s Jesuit High School when a group of mothers asked the schools’ play choreographer to teach them to tap dance, Knoblauch said. There are now 24 dancers in the main group, but more than 50 dancers are a part of the studio as a whole, Knoblauch said. Tap dancing is taught in levels at the company, giving beginner and intermediate students time to learn the terminology of each step before they join the main company.
“You can’t just walk in and join, like it was in the old days. When I joined, you either sank or swam,” Knoblauch said, recounting how she practiced in front of a mirror in her garage with her sister to keep up with the demanding pace of the company.
The dance company allows people to pick up tap dancing outside of their regular jobs.
“If you go to a gym, you walk in alone and you go out alone. What’s nice for us is we like the social part. It’s a very good support group,” Knoblauch said.
Tickets for “Just Go to the Movies” are $10 in advance and can be pre-ordered over the phone by calling (419) 882-9633 and picked up the day of the show. Tickets are $12 at the door.