CAPITAL DISTRICT There’s a group of seniors in Colonie who like sequins, fishnets and dancing. And twice a month, they strut their stuff around the Capital District as the Timeless Tappers.
“It’s very sparkly; we have a sparkly show. We try to make our costumes as bright as possible. … They are all kinds of tap dance tunes,” said Kathleen Engelhardt.
Engelhardt, 67, has been a Timeless Tapper since 1998 when she sneaked her way in. Now, the age range is 50 and older, but back then, you had to be 55.
“I was the youngest at the time,” said Engelhardt. “When I was 50, I saw (they) were doing the New Year’s Eve festival in Albany … I said, ‘I’m going to join this group when I’m old enough’ and by the time I was 54, I was chomping at the bit.”
The group is part of Colonie Senior Services. Members take one of three levels of tap dance classes for seniors, though not everyone who takes the classes is required to perform. Those who do want to show off their moves present a high-energy performance at places like Beltrone Living Center, Bright Horizons or St. Margaret’s.
“We use older tunes … swing genre, standards, Broadway shows. We do military songs for the holidays and have specialty duet numbers,” said Engelhardt. “We like to learn all the nice kicks and Rockette moves, and the people we dance for remember the old tap dancing routines and kicklines.”
Janet Murphy, a former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, heads up the classes and performance choreography.
“I do all my own choreography and (it) tends to be more toward the Rockette line so a lot of the things you see are synonymous with the Rockettes,” said Murphy.
Murphy was a Rockette on and off in the ’80s and still performs for special fundraisers or alumni events.