Summer's DanceWorks recital extravaganza features dancers from 2 to 92
Hundreds of students at Summer's DanceWorks answer that question with a resounding "yes" - and next weekend, they'll showcase their best moves in the studio's annual dance extravaganza. The public is invited.
The show features about 200 dancers age 2 to 92, said studio co-owner Summer Hinton, whose students call her "Miss Summer."
It's set for 5:45 p.m. May 29 and 30 at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center. With a theme of "Seasons of Dance," the performance includes songs from every season. Among them: "Winter Wonderland," "Sleigh Ride," "Summertime Blues," "Autumn Leaves," "If You Believe in Autumn" and "I Love Paris (in the Springtime)."
To give every class at Summer's DanceWorks a chance to shine, there are 53 songs in all. But that doesn't mean the audience will be chair-bound all night long. The show clocks in at about 2 ½ hours.
"We run it like clockwork," Hinton said.
Preparation for the show begins in February, with dancers putting in up to four and a half months of rehearsals. Hinton estimates that some of the company dancers - older students in multiple numbers - will have put in as many as 200 hours getting ready for the production.
"It's a night to remember for all the dancers," she said. Especially for first-timers, "It's a magic moment."
The tots in DanceWorks' Mommy and Me class will be some of those first-time dancers. The little girls will don fluffy, sparkly pink and yellow tutus and move with their mothers to "Here Comes the Sun."
Mary Beth Meinholz and her 2 ½-year-old daughter, Lizzy, are in the number. Her sons started dancing with Hinton five years ago.
"She's so good with the kids. She's so patient," Meinholz said of Miss Summer.
Tap dancer Sue Chambers is a veteran of the annual production. At 92 years young, she has the distinction of being the oldest dancer onstage. (The next oldest is in her 80s, Hinton said.)
Chambers started tap dancing when she was 72.
"I always wanted to dance," she said. So when she heard the adult center offered tap dancing classes, she signed up. She later joined Summer's DanceWorks, and has been in all seven annual recitals.
This year, Chambers will be tapping along with "I Love Paris (in the Springtime)." Health problems prevented her from starting practice with the rest of the class in February. She joined the group in March, putting her on a fast track.
"She's a really good teacher," Chambers said, referring to Hinton.
Hinton stressed that it truly is a community show. Some of the dancers are boys and adult men, and songs come from all genres and decades. Dances cover multiple genres - tap, jazz, hip-hop, ballet and partner dancing among them.
"There's something for everyone," she said.
Especially for those who enjoy a spectacle.
Every year after the show, audience members say "You should not call it a recital, you should call it a production," she said.
Hinton has plenty of experience with productions. She's taught dance for 21 years, since 1994, and has choreographed Prescott High School's annual musical for 13 years. (This year, it was "Grease.") That's when her sons, now grown, were in school. They did dance, football and track and field. Right after graduating high school, she was hired by the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and spent the next 10 years dancing on TV, in Las Vegas and Reno Nevada. She also danced in three USO tours from Korea to Japan, entertaining thousands of troops, according to the studio's website.
Tickets for the "Seasons of Dance" recital are $15 and it's open seating.
Follow Arlene Hittle on Twitter @ahittle_dc. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 2036, or 928-830-2928.