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The Jo Emery dance show “Dances with Dancers” features dads, uncles and even a mom alongside young ballet aspirants at Tacoma’s Metro Parks Star Center

Post by Rosemary Ponnekanti / The News Tribune on June 10, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
June 10, 2013 1:51 pm
Mom Heidi Wachter and daughter Katherine Ann (left); dad Roby Howard and daughter Braylen, performing in "Dances with Dancers" this Saturday. Photo: Thomas Kimpel.
Mom Heidi Wachter and daughter Katherine Ann (left); dad Roby Howard and daughter Braylen, performing in “Dances with Dancers” this Saturday. Photo: Thomas Kimpel.

This is the time of year for showing off what your kids have been learning all year. Violin recitals, band concerts, circus shows – and of course dance recitals. The Jo Emery Ballet School, just off South Tacoma Way, has been offering their annual student showcase every year for decades, but lately there’s been something unusual about it: It doesn’t just feature kids. No, the moms, dads, and grandparents are getting in on the act too. And there’s another new thing – the show is moving from the Pantages to the new Metro Parks Star Center this Saturday.

“This year’s ‘Dances with Dancers’ features 21 dancing dads, uncles or grandfathers, and one dancing mom, performing in two separate dances alongside their children,” says founding director Jo Emery, who has been encouraging adults to dance with their kids for awhile now to honor Father’s Day, happening this Sunday.

One of the most interesting parents, says Emery, is commercial fisherman Roby Howard, who was so committed and missed dancing so much when he had to sail to Alaska that he the boat and returned to dance with daughter Braylen, Emery says.

The program includes students of ballet, jazz, contemporary and ballroom dancing, with choreography by Emery, Janis Robinson, Amity Howell-Sloboda and Jean Milano.

The other big change this year is the venue. Emery has found that holding the showcase at the downtown Pantages might be glamorous for the dancers, but didn’t work well financially or logistically.

“I have supported the Broadway Center for decades and I just felt that it was not a good fit for my recital families,” says Emery. “(There’s) also the parking issue. I may return, but thought I would try this new $16 million facility just ten blocks from my ballet school in South Tacoma. It’s not a theatre but (it’s) lovely floor space, with interested and effective management at half the cost. We’ll see how it works.”

“Dances with Dancers” is at 2 p.m. June 15 at the Star Center, Tickets $16 adults/$13 children and seniors. 253-759-5714, joemeryballet.com

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