The Golden Girls Plus One Tap Ensemble is an exciting and versatile senior tap dance group based at the J. We perform throughout the city for various community events, retirement centers and just about anywhere we have a space and surface that accommodates our tap dance shoes!
The group, formerly named the Golden Girl Tappers, has been together since June 1999 when they took a beginning tap class from Margorie Swiss at the Tracy Gee Community Center. One year after they started the tap lessons, the group began performing and eventually moved to the J where they still practice every Monday afternoon.
The age requirement for being a member of the ensemble is 55, but there is no cut-off age. The group’s most senior participant in this remarkable ensemble today is 83, although at one time the oldest performing member was 90 years old!
Sara Draper, a local tap dance teacher and choreographer, took over the group in 2008, shortly after the passing of Margorie. The ensemble took a break from performing for a year, but Sara had them back on the road soon after performing and entertaining for the Houston community.
I’ve had the joy of directing the group since the fall of 2014, and I am having a blast teaching, choreographing, rehearsing, directing and dancing with the group. Three years ago we recruited Michael Richker, who was currently taking my Intermediate Tap class to perform with us. Prior to Michael joining us, the group was all female dancers. Hence, the name of the group became Golden Girls Plus One Tap Ensemble! We are delighted to have our “Plus One”!
Nelda Jasper and Joanne Purcell are the only two original Golden Girl members who continue to perform with the ensemble today. Joanne recently said, “I have the 'honor' of being the oldest in the group at this time. I am 83, and I was 65 when I started and had never tapped dance before.”
The group continues to change, with new dancers coming in and others occasionally retiring from the stage. One of the original members, Sharon Lord, still comes to practice with the group every week even though she has retired from performing with the group. We still honor Margorie by performing many of her creative and fun dances like "Boy From New York City," "That Old Black Magic," "Rock n’ Roll," the group's signature piece “One” from the musical A Chorus Line, and the famous Shim Sham to Sweet Georgia Brown.
Vicki Brentin, age 65, is one of the newer members who joined without having danced since she was 17. Vicki shared, “tapping just brings me such joy and makes me happy. We all especially loved performing for Michael’s 80th birthday party.”
Another new member, Linda Linsey stated, “ I can’t even express the admiration I have for my fellow tappers. I have only been with the group for a few months, but they have been the best months. Each tap rehearsal and show brings me such happiness. Thanks to our wonderful director, Michelle Schroeder, the other women and the 'plus one' guy, my life is complete with tap! I love the group, and I am proud to be part of the Golden Girls Plus One Tap Ensemble.”
The Golden Girls Plus One Tap Ensemble’s mission is to inspire others to stay physically and mentally fit while enjoying the fun and camaraderie of those who share the passion of tap dance.
Catch the The Golden Girls Plus One in action at An Afternoon of Art and Dance on Sunday, June 3.
If you would like more information on the Golden Girls Plus One, please contact Maxine Silberstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.551.7217.