“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” ― Martha Graham
And Joanne Zimmerman is one busy individual.
Fresh from a major role in the ensemble cast of “Making God Laugh” at the Marathon Community Theater, as well as an earlier role as drag queen in “La Cage Aux Folles,” Joanne is directing this weekend’s “Tah-Dance!” production at the theater. This 11th annual community showcase features local dancers of all ages and dance levels. The show will highlight multiple dance styles, including ballet, belly dance, Bollywood, jazz, lyrical, tapdancing and more.
So what does it take to direct a dance showcase? “First, you need to be able to coordinate a program that’s entertaining to the audience,” said Joanne. “You have to stay on top of the choreography, coordinate the costumes, and keep the show moving.”
Creating a show like this is not easy while having to rehearse and act in two major productions — and when the actor/dancer/director is also an accountant in the middle of tax season! Asked if she slept at all, she said, “I grabbed a wink now and again!” Joanne danced in productions earlier in life in New York (before family), and got back into it after moving to Marathon.
Joanne is quick to credit her fellow instructors and dances in the show. Donna Nussenblatt teaches belly dancing, Bollywood, and Egyptian dance. Lisa Scobba specializes in theatrical and jazz dance, and taught professionally in her own huge dance studio in Tennessee. Though she retired, she just couldn’t stay away from contributing to dance at the theater and teaching at Keys Dance Academy. Cami Holdinga dances in just about everything and teaches lyrical dance. As a doctor of physical therapy, she understands movement and assists dancers with their motion. Cheryl Wilcox has been involved with the theater for years. She specializes in tap, and has performed in and danced in many musicals at MCT.
In addition to the instructors, the theater held open auditions — three students from Body Language and six students from Keys Dance Academy will dance in the show as well. It seems dance runs in Joanne’s family — her daughter Jamie Stevens runs KDA!
Joanne stresses that the main thing is having fun: “We really like each other. No matter our backgrounds or what we do, we have this in common. We all share the fine arts.” She notes that all the effort is volunteer, from costumes to choreography to staging. “We just love sharing our passion for dance with the community.”
And that passion for dance doesn’t end with the show. The theater year begins July 1, and dance classes are available free to theater members. All instructors are experienced volunteers, and the classes are free. (Yes, free.) Additionally, theater members get $5 off tickets to productions throughout the year. Membership does indeed have its privileges!
Joanne hopes people will come out, enjoy the show, and embrace the talent that is right here in Marathon. She shared a quote that is on the wall of their practice room at the theater: “You don’t quit dancing because you grow old — you grow old because you quit dancing!” Joanne notes that dance stimulates the body and mind, memory, balance, and can provide a good cardio workout as well. “We have dancers with us in their 70s,” Joanne says. “Even the snowbirds come to our classes to continue to be active!”
If Joanne Zimmerman is any indicator, dance will keep you active and alive and capable of handling just about anything: three theater productions, tax season CPA clients, and all the work she does on the board of Dolphin Research Center. “Tah-Dance!” is this weekend — don’t miss it!
IF YOU GO: “Tah-Dance!” Friday and Saturday, June 14 & 15, 8 p.m. Tickets $12 (plus taxes and fees). Tickets are available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the theater box office at 5101 overseas Highway, phone 305-743-0994; tickets are also available at www.marathontheater.org