With ages ranging from seven to adult, on stage June 11 at Straz Center, performing in OUR SOLE PURPOSE is Ashlyn Bolton, Aleigh Coffman, Brooklyn Hill, Carianna Repp, Charleigh Coffman, Dan Smith, David Caban, Emma Bolton, Gianna Silvest, Hayden Wilson, Isabela Piana, Jackson Babanats, Jennifer Mehlig, Journey Rimes-Horn, Julianna Babanats, Keeley Seymour, Lindsey Boissy, Logan Lavo, Lola-Jane Taracatac, Ruthie Fridy, Sophia Isaak, Spencer Giordano, and Zakk Giordano.
OUR SOLE PURPOSE is the invention of twenty-six-year-old Ashlyn, a prolific tap dancer, owner of Tampa Bay Taps for six years, and an instructor at Straz’ Patel Conservatory. Her talents have taken her to New York to train in the Radio City Rockettes intensive program and perform many times in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. She’s received numerous scholarships, awards, and recognitions, including being named “Best Local Choreographer” in 2020 and “Best Local Dancer” in Creative Loafing’s 2017 and 2020 “Best of the Bay.”
And now, she’s bringing her passion for tap to Jaeb Theatre.
The Rhythm and Sole Tap Ensemble, Tampa native band NIGHTBREAKERS, and the Youth Tap Crew will band together to explore the meaning of dance, music, and life.
“The show’s opening is an audio experience because tap dance is music. It’s not as visual as the rest of the show. You’re just fully immersed with the experience of hearing tap dance through audio only, and there’s a little voiceover that I did.”
Then the lights rise, and the performers take to the stage.
“This new show is an accumulation of all of our past years’ work, showcasing the dancers’ personal side stories,” she explained. “It’s all about what is our soul’s purpose. What is your sole purpose in life? What is your sole purpose in dance? What is the meaning of dance? What is the music relating to the dance? All these different things combine to make one big question of what is our sole purpose.”
In the second act, the band NIGHTBREAKERS help the dancers examine different music forms through tap.
“We get to explore tap dance’s original roots in jazz, pop, rock, and hip hop,” she explained. “Over the last few years, we’ve been very fortunate to create some collaborative shows to bring fun back to dance into Tampa.”
When asked what she looked most forward to, Ashlyn responded, “Seeing the dancer’s hard work paying off. There’s always this adrenaline high after the show where the kids are hugging. They’re so excited, we completed another year, and those are the special moments and memories. People remember the friendships and having all of the hard work paying off. I know it’s in the title, but I hope the audience walks away with a sense of purpose, taking a moment and reflecting on your life and what you want to bring to the table, whether it’s dancing for fun or bringing light to other people’s lives, caring for other people, asking what can I do to make a difference in my path and for the people I see every day? It may seem deep for a tap dance show, but somehow we have to send the message that we want to in the ways we can – so purpose.”
SOLE PURPOSE is 630 pm at Straz Center’s Jaeb Theatre on June 11. The show is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.strazcenter.org/events/2223-season/rentals/tampa-bay-taps-presents-our-sole-purpose/
If you are interested in joining the tap dance company, email email@example.com. Tampa Bay Tap dancers ages 7-10 can audition to be part of the Youth Tap Crew company, and dancers ages 10 through college can audition to be part of the Rhythm and Sole company. These companies are performance-based and stay active through the school year.