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Feb. 27, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Show promises toe-tapping time

 SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Eight talented young tap dancers will be featured March 30 in a celebration of American youth culture when Slippery Rock University’s Performing Arts Series offers “Tap Kids” as the series’ final show of the 2011-12 season.

           The curtain is at 7:30 p.m. in Miller Auditorium.

           The show, which debuted at The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in 2002, has enjoyed success across the country and abroad. The group has performed at the Tamaulipas International Festival in Mexico and in a star-studded gala for the Queen of Holland at The Royale Theatre Carre in Amsterdam.

           The group, which made its national television debut on the 2005 “Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon” also toured the Netherlands.

           The show uses a series of musical vignettes to tell the story of a group of high-school students facing challenges both mundane and momentous as they prepare for the big school dance and, ultimately, for graduation at the end of their senior year.

           The story covers their day from homeroom, social studies class, career day, lunch, a basketball game, detention, the big dance and ultimately graduation.

           The production makes use of an original score by Philip Stern and choreography by Lisa Hopkins, and takes the traditional dance form of tap to new heights in a performance that has been called “hip, contemporary and uplifting.”

           The cast includes:

           Gabe Winns, from San Diego, who started dancing just before he turned 11. He has been seen on "America's Most Talented Kids" and has performed with the California Junior Ballet.

            Melissa Kwan, from Victoria, British Columbia, has been dancing since age 5. She is a double winner of the DanceWorks Performing Arts Festival’s Tap Rosebowl.

           Emily Krause, from Frederick, Md., started dancing at age 3 and has performed with tap legends Jason Samuels Smith and Baakari Wilder. She has performed at Disney World, Hershey Park and in Atlantic City, and was featured in Dance Retailer News Magazine in June 2009. She is a student at Towson University.

Michael Wilson, from Aurora, Colo., has won numerous regional titles and special dance awards in nationwide competitions. He was an original member of the Funky Beats Youth Tap Ensemble and has performed on NBC’s “The Jay Leno Show.”

Ayan Imai-Hall, from Lee, N.H., began studying tap dancing at age 6 and participated in Julia Boynton’s tap jams in Boston where met and ultimately studied with a variety of professional tap dancers, including Aaron Tolson.

         Brittany DeStefano, from Carmel, N.Y., began dancing at age 7 and competing at age 8. She attended the Tap Kids summer at age 9. She recently performed as a guest artist with Exhale Dance Tribe, a contemporary dance company in Cincinnati, Ohio.

         Sarah Beymer, from Seattle, Wash., began to dance before she could walk and has always found a special connection with tap. She earned awards at the Los Angeles Dance Force, New York City Dance Alliance, Encore and Dance Masters of America competitions.

         Tristan Miller, from Marion, Ind., is a freshman at Marion High School and dances with the Fluid Dance Co. He also teaches an all boys tap class at the Community School of the Arts.

            Tickets are $20 for adults; $18 for senior citizens and youth (under age 18); and $8 for SRU students. To order tickets call 724.738.2018. There is a $3 ordering fee.

AVI Fresh, SRU’s contract food vendor, will offer a pre-performance dinner at 5:15 p.m. in the University Club of North Hall. The menu includes seven-bean chili, grilled bread and tomato salad, grilled shrimp and ribs, wild rice pilaf and grilled summer vegetable medley. Dessert is lemon cheesecake with mixed-berry compote. Cost is $24 per person. Reservations are required by March 26 and may be made by calling 724.738.4245.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.