Summer tap camp? Now there’s a change. A shuffle ball change.
Coon Rapids High School thespians are gearing up for what could very well be dubbed Dancing with the Coon Rapids Stars.
Thirty-six students this summer took tap dancing lessons twice a week at Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts in Minneapolis in preparation for auditions for what is shaping up to be their blockbuster spring musical “42nd Street.”
“(The) 42rd Street project is a tremendous undertaking and truly exciting and rewarding for all of us involved,” said Karla Haij, theater director at CRHS.
Theater students last spring saw the musical “Newsies” on a field trip to New York City. They were inspired by the many tap numbers the show featured and how enthusiastic the audience received the dances.
So the CRHS put on their dancing shoes and shuffled off to Buffalo during their biweekly lessons. During the school year, they plan to continue the lessons on Saturdays.
They’ve already performed in the rotunda at Roseville Mall.
Isaac Quick, a senior at the high school and former clogger, took part in the tap lessons.
“I like how the teachers can take people who don’t know how to tap at all and make it look as though they’re really good,” he said, about his class which has been “learning really fast.”
Quick, who plans to continue tapping, particularly enjoyed the experience.
“I’m surprised at how fun it’s been,” he said. “I didn’t think it was going to be all that exciting.”
The talented tappers fund-raised their way to dance lessons. For two days they “bagged for the King” (picked up trash) at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, for example, making $1,000 a day.
“Our goal from the beginning was to get as many kids trained without having to pay for anything other than their tap shoes,” Haij said.
Set in 1933, “42nd Street” centers on the cast of a New York Broadway musical. Haij will hold auditions for the show in February. The show opens the last weekend in April 2013.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]