To ring in the start of the holidays, on December 11 at 6 pm, under the direction of owner Ashlyn Bolton, a cast of 23 will join her on stage to showcase favorite holiday movies through tap dance in the return of LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! at Hillsborough High School Theater.
With ages ranging from seven to adult, on stage, delighting the audience will be Aleigh Coffman, Amber Marino, Ashlyn Bolton, Ava Mancini, Brooklyn Hill, Carianna Repp, Charleigh Coffman, Emma Bolton, Gianna Silvest, Grecia Jacobs, Hayden Wilson, Isabela Piana, Jackson Babanats, Jen Mehlig, Journey Rimes-Horn, Julianna Babanats, Keeley Seymour, Kylie Elliott, Liam Jacobs, Lindsey Boissy, Lola-Jane Taracatac, Ruthie Fridy, and Sophia Isaak.
Twenty-six-year-old Ashlyn fell in love with dance at the young age of two and a half and started dancing with Jayne Spradlin, then added to ballet at Patel Conservatory to her repertoire. While dancing with Jayne and taking ballet at Patel, she began tap dance and showteam with Marcey Rodriguez and then transitioned to tap dance under Beth Caprio’s direction at Rhythm & Sole.
At age 20, her passion for tap dance became her company.
She was given ownership of Rhythm & Sole. Ashlyn is proud to bring together young people from throughout Tampa Bay who share a love of tap dance and preserving this American dance form.
“Tap is such an important art form created and expanded right here in America. Its history is deeply rooted in the foundations of dance and music. I hope audiences who come across tap dance grow to appreciate the physical and audible art form that is Tap Dance,” said Ashlyn. “I believe Tap Dance is important, not only in our community but all those surrounding it. It’s like a chain reaction. All it takes is one person. To see a tap dance show, enroll in a tap dance program, share their new passion with others, support programs that strive to enhance, and so on. It takes just one person to create a community. That’s how we keep expanding and growing for everyone to enjoy the art form.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! is family-friendly and a perfect gift for the family to celebrate the upcoming holidays: a tap-dance showcase of everyone’s favorite Christmas movies.
“When I first created the concept of this show in the summer of 2021, the title came to me last. It took me some brainstorming on how to join movies and Christmas into one catchy phrase. Then randomly, on a drive home one night, ‘Lights, Camera, Christmas’ came to mind, and I ran with it,” said Ashlyn. “Funny enough, I was surprised to see a 2022 Hallmark movie with the same title as my show. I am a big Hallmark junkie, so of course, I watched the premiere of their rendition of the title.”
Ashlyn explained that message of the show was that everyone could find joy in Christmas movies.
“I have found that there are always deeper meanings to these films. So within our show, you will find that the performers find their own messages in each movie we perform. We hope this show will guide you in finding your own definition of what the holidays mean to you. Whether it’s religion, spending time with your loved ones, gift-giving, helping others in need, or all of the above. The holiday season is a time of hope and celebration.”
The audience should expect a tap-dancing spectacular featuring Tampa Bay’s premier tap company, Rhythm, and Sole, with the new Youth Tap Crew. Performers will be dancing, singing, and acting in scenes from “Elf,” “Polar Express,” and “The Grinch.”
“A true triple-threat musical performance,” Ashlyn exclaimed. “From intricate footwork to over-the-top performance qualities, you will find a little bit of everything in this performance – from props, kicklines, flips, and more. There is even a hip-hop number featured.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! features many scenes and choreographed tap dance numbers. Ashlyn’s favorite appears in the “Polar Express” sequence.
“Rhythm and Sole dancers use a wooden suitcase as a prop aboard the Polar Express. Through the number, you will see these suitcases being used, but at the end, a special message is revealed with these props. It pays tribute to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with much inspiration and gratitude as I pursue my dream of becoming a Rockette someday,” she said. “Everyone and everybody should see the show! It is family-friendly and offers many points of enjoyment for people of all ages and backgrounds.”
LIGHTS, CAMERA, CHRISTMAS! is 6 pm at Hillsborough High School Theater on December 11. The show is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit tampabaytapdance.com. Adults $25, Kids (4-10 y/o) $10, Kids 3 and under: free. Check their social media for the latest updates. December performances include Christmas Lane on December 4 and the Tampa Zoo on December 9.
If you are interested in joining the tap dance company, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Dancers ages 7-10 can audition to be part of the Youth Tap Crew, and dancers ages 10 through college can audition to be part of Rhythm and Sole. These companies are performance-based and stay active through the school year.