Savion Glover, move on over: You can't be a phenom forever. It's time to make way for the stars of Tap Kids, a touring show featuring a unique national cast of nine remarkable kids between the ages of ten and nineteen who earned their spots by dancing circles around the hundred or so youths who originally auditioned. Among those in the show's starting lineup is Tony Testa, a sixteen-year-old from Fort Collins; two Aurora youngsters, Britt Stewart, thirteen, and Michael Wilson, fifteen, serve as understudies for the troupe.Colorado will have its first crack at seeing Testa and the resta the kids in action this week, during a series of performances that culminate tonight at 7:30 at Denver's ritzy Buell Theatre. The group will host a Q&A session and other participatory elements, including a mass Shim Sham Shimmy finale. "Imagine getting to stand on the Buell stage and feel in your bones what it's like to be on a national-caliber stage," says Anne Smilgelsky of the Northern Colorado Dance Theatre, which is hosting the production's local run. And if you ask Tony Testa, it could get other kids interested in tapping into their dreams, so to speak.
Testa says he starting tapping at age eight, when a friend asked him to try a class. The other kid ended up dropping out, but Tony, who now teaches tap himself, was hooked. "Mostly," he says with great sincerity, "I love to perform." And he wants other boys to know that tap dancing, which he calls a "sport," isn't for sissies, though it's often considered the domain of girls: "I think boys will want to start tapping after they see the show, once they see how athletic it is."
The upbeat performance, with a loose plot based on situations from school life, is a talent showcase that anyone will enjoy, but it also goes a long way toward grabbing and inspiring its young audience. And that's important, because the current Tap Kids won't be kids forever. "New kids will come in as the older ones move on to bigger and better things," Smilgelsky says. "They're all going places."
For Tap Kids tickets, $24 to $32, call 303-830-TIXS. -- Susan Froyd
The Forney lets off some steam
The Forney Museum of Transportation has always been one of Denver's sweetest oddities, home to an extensive, eclectic and, well, eccentric collection of vehicles. But its most prized possession has to be Big Boy, the world's largest steam engine and one of only eight left in the world. When the Forney moved a few years ago, the engine spent months languishing near I-25 while awaiting the means to properly tow it to the new digs at 4303 Brighton Boulevard, near the Denver Coliseum. Big deal? Yeah: The thing weighs a million pounds.Big Boy made it home eventually, but sadly, the crowds haven't exactly followed him there. That's one reason the Forney will be hosting Big Boy Day, today from 10 to 2, with a host of train-related activities, including a rare chance to sit in Big Boy's cab. Now, what little kid (or big one, for that matter) doesn't dream of doing that?
Admission is free; call 303-297-1113. -- Susan Froyd
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Adults may dread the daily grind, but for kids, heading into the office for the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is a field trip. Expose your youngster to a variety of occupations at today's Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Denver Marriott City Center (1701 California Street), with speaker Rear Admiral Joyce M. Johnson, chief medical officer for the U.S. Coast Guard. Once at the Marriott, children can talk to more than twenty women with non-traditional careers, from firefighter to microbiologist. "It gives kids an opportunity to think about all that they can accomplish," says chamber president Keller Hayes. Reservations for the luncheon, which will go from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., can be made by calling 303-458-0220 or visiting www.cwcc.org. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children under eighteen. -- Julie Dunn
Arty Little Folk
Sixteen years ago, when Diana Nelson of Cherry Creek North's Kazoo & Company started the Kids' Clothesline Art Show, metro-area venues for children's artwork were few and far between. But even now, when every school district with an art program seems to host some kind of public showcase for student work each year, Nelson says Kazoo's groundbreaking annual exhibit is still a roaring success. From pen-and-ink drawings to imaginative 3-D creations, the more than 700 diverse pieces in this year's show, which opens today from 2 to 4 p.m., provide the overwhelming evidence.The artwork, by kids ages three to eighteen, will hang through May 24, but the reception is one heck of a big party each year, bringing families, teachers and even proud school principals together to revel in the colorful products of the child's mind's eye. Kazoo is at 2930 East 2nd Avenue; call 303-322-0973. -- Susan Froyd