The New Florida Follies are putting back on their tap shoes this weekend after over a year hiatus due to the pandemic. The Follies are dancing into their golden years - all ages 55 and older.
Many of them have real professional experience and they’re all dedicating their time and talent for an amazing cause. The New Florida Follies are kicking off 2022 with a Broadway-style extravaganza.
“We’re very fortunate to have this in our retirement of old age,” said 98-year-old dancer Vivian Jeffers. “Let’s face it. 98 is old. 93 is old!”
Some like 93-year-old Cindy Trinder are still doing the splits and tap dancing too. The once exotic acrobatic contortionist joined the forever young follies in 2005.
The group rehearses in Coral Springs under the direction of former Radio City Music Hall Rockette Cheryl Steinthal.
“When I joined the Rockettes, the requirements were 5’5 and a half to 5’9. I’m 5’8 and ¾. So, I got to split the center,” she said. “So, when we did a triangle, I got to be right smack in front of the triangle and lead all the Rockettes. It was a great experience.”
Steinthal also has more than 40 years of experience as a choreographer. But leading a group of nearly 40 people during a pandemic has proven to be a challenge.
“I started choreographing it at home in my dining room in sneakers,” Steinthal, who also serves as the artistic director, said. “And we were on people’s porches. We were in the driveway. We met outside in small groups.”
The group canceled two shows in 2020 and all of its shows in 2021. But, despite their limited run, the Follies were able to raise $25,000.
“We’re doing something we absolutely love. We love performing for the audience and pleasing the audiences, and then we’re getting to help children who need help,” Steinthal said. “So, it’s just wonderful and it’s like a true family. We call it our Follies family.”
The Follies family donates all of its ticket proceeds to local children’s charities. This year’s performance, titled “Curtain Up”, will benefit the Children’s Diagnostic Treatment Center, the Ukelele Kids’ Club and Make-A-Wish.
“It gives us all a second chance to dance,” said 76-year-old dancer Charles Sheikovitz. And it’s rejuvenating and it brings us back to what we were put on earth to do.”
The New Florida Follies will perform their first show in Boca Raton on Sunday and their final performance in March at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, click on this link.