On Sunday, December 12 at 2 PM, sixteen tap dancers, ages 9 to 25, celebrate the 5th anniversary of Rhythm & Sole by taking to the stage for LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! at the Palladium Theatre, 253 5th Ave N in St. Petersburg.
Under owner Ashlyn Bolton’s expert direction, Amber Marino, Carianna Repp, Carissa Curry, Emma Bolton, Gianna Silvest, Jackson Babanats, Jaylee Grassel, Jennifer Mehlig, Keeley Seymour, Liam Jacobs, Lindsey Boissy, Mary Pope, and Skylar Staczek will join her on stage to showcase favorite holiday movies through tap dance.
“I feel our show is a message of community and hope,” she said. “Everyone should come to see the LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! – kids, adults, elderly – everyone should come to see us.”
Ashlyn became enamored with dance at two and half, and started dancing with Jayne Spradlin, then added to ballet at Patel Conservatory to her repertoire. While dancing with both Jayne and taking ballet at Patel, she began tap dance and showteam with Marcey Rodriguez, and then transitioned to taking tap dance under the direction of Beth Caprio at Rhythm & Sole.
Not one to be intimidated by an insanely busy schedule, Ashlyn made a huge life-changing decision.
“If there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said, “and there’s always a way.”
At the age of twenty, she was given ownership of Rhythm & Sole. Ashlyn takes great pride in bringing together young people from throughout Tampa Bay who have two things in common: this shared love of tap dance and preserving this American dance form.
The cast has been rehearsing the show since September, with Ashlyn accommodating many different dancer schedules.
The show is kid-friendly and a perfect gift to give the family to celebrate the upcoming holidays: a tap-dance showcase of everyone’s favorite Christmas movies.
“We’re highlighting The Grinch, Polar Express, and Elf the Movie,” Ashlyn said. “There’s definitely a lot of Christmas joy with showstopping numbers, kicklines, big wheels, and big tap dance numbers with musicians and singers. It’s a big production of holiday magic. This is my passion, and I feel very strongly that it’s vital for the area and our community, and my love of tap dance as well.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! features many scenes and choreographed tap dance numbers. Ashlyn’s favorite appears in Polar Express. The dancers perform a routine with suitcases and a kickline.
“I feel that there is a great need for tap dance in our area, for youth to see tap dance up on big stages, productions, and shows. Our show is just a big, fun production number with singing and dancing and all the pizzazz.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! is 2 PM on December 12 at Palladium Theatre, 253 5th Ave N in St. Petersburg. Doors open at 1:30 PM. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10. Masks are required. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tampabaytapdance.com. Additional upcoming shows include Wiregrass Mall and Christmas Lane in December. Check their social media for the latest updates.