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Tapping their way together

Dance group performs 20th anniversary at Ann’s choice, involves community

Created date

July 14th, 2009

The Toe Tappers weren t the only ones smiling and tapping their toes on May 14 in the performing arts center at Ann s Choice. More than 200 audience members filled the seats to help the group celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Nobody in this crowd claps and whistles unless they really enjoy they show, says Lee Sharp, audience member and backstage coordinator for the show. And there were definitely claps and whistles all around. For the love of dancing Lue Hansen founded the Toe Tappers in 1989 as a way to share her love of tap dancing. Hansen, now the assistant director and still an active tapper, is the oldest member of the group, whose ages range from 59 87. Hansen is proud of her age and that she is still able to tap along with the 21 other women and two men. They accept new members to the group at the beginning of each season. The Toe Tappers perform one show a month but don t dance during the summer. The season will start up again in the fall, and they re already booked for next season, says Larry Daley, one of the dance members and a resident of Ann s Choice. Another Ann s Choice resident, Grace Reeves, has been tapping for the last two years. Daley got her involved. Reeves has always loved dancing and had wanted to learn how to tap since she was a little girl; she would dance around her house making up steps as she went. And then she got an education, a career, a family, and only danced sparingly as a hobby. She hadn t been able to tap dance until she moved to Ann s Choice. This is a place to realize dreams, Reeves says. Not only does she tap, but she and Daley line and square dance together as well. All the dancing keeps me young, Reeves says with a smile. Likewise, Daley has always loved to dance. He studied ballroom dancing for more than 20 years with his wife and took up all the dancing he could once he moved to Ann s Choice. When Karen Niedelman, director of the Toe Tappers since 1999, approached Daley and asked him if he wanted to join the group, he couldn t resist. There were no men in the organization when he joined, and since then there s been between one and four male dancers each season. Men tend to stay away because they think tap dancing s kind of dainty, but we re the tough guys hanging in there, Daley says. Prime performances The Toe Tappers are as professional as they come. Each performance lasts an hour with multiple dances that vary in length, style, costumes, and choreography. They perform at country clubs, churches, restaurants, senior communities, and ladies luncheons. All of the money made in ticket sales goes directly to the Central Bucks Senior Center. During the May 14 performance, there were nine dances interlaced with piano solos performed by Betty White, also an Ann s Choice resident, as well as a mime performance by Hank Goehl and commentary by the evening s host, Rowland Dudley. Audience members laughed at jokes and even sang along to the piano solos. Niedelman was so impressed with the lighting and sound crew from Ann s Choice, Al Burger and Dave Heuscher, that she said she would be happy to perform there again as long as those two are on the crew. Involving the whole community Dolores Lafferty is an Ann s Choice resident who volunteered to sell tickets. Grace needed my help, and she s my best friend, Lafferty says. Lafferty never expected to move from her house, but when she attended an event at Ann s Choice, she went home and told her daughters that she was moving. This is an amazing place to live, she says. Likewise, Activities like this bring all of us together, says Sharp.