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5/2/2011 1:17:00 PM
Prime Time Fair 2012
Gotta Dance
Senior hoofers bring it to the stage
Members of the Sedona Showstoppers rehearse for their latest show, ��Dancing Through the Decades.��
Members of the Sedona Showstoppers rehearse for their latest show, ��Dancing Through the Decades.��

Raquel Hendrickson
Bugle Managing Editor


Dancing, singing or just flat-out entertaining, getting into the spotlight is not difficult for seniors in the Verde Valley who have the gumption.

Between the Sedona Showstoppers and the Red Rockin Grannies, the world is still a stage at any age. Both troupes, with members ranging from their 50s to nearly 90, have been around for more than 20 years, showing just how energetic our local seniors are.

They put on three or four events a year, and the Grannies have become a staple of Sedona's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

For some, it is about maintaining a long-time dancing career. For other it is about trying something new. For all, it's about having fun.

"I just love it," says Evelyn Couturier, the oldest member of the Sedona Showstoppers, and a former professional dancer - she kicked up her heels with the USO. "I've been dancing since I was 3 and a half, and at my age I like to still have something to do."

She is actually a rather recent addition to the troupe having spent 18 years with the Happy Hoofers.

Dody Homan was a professional dancer and choreographer for many years and ran a ballet studio. She retired to Sedona to play golf (which she soon discovered she found rather boring). While in the golf store one day she heard tapping from the next room, where the Grannies on the Rocks were rehearsing. She soon joined, and they soon became the Sedona Showstoppers.

"I have been a dancer since I was 4 years old, and I feel so blessed to still be able to do it," Homan says.

You could say she has show biz in the blood. She appeared on Broadway in George M! during her heyday. This year, she placed third in the Ms. Senior Arizona Pageant, and took the talent trophy with her tap dancing. Yes, the moves are still there.

New artistic director Francine LeRoy, a choreographer for 40 years, is quick to point out that many of her members do not have professional backgrounds in entertainment.

An example of that is Sam Tardio, the troupe's lone man at the moment. He's been with the Showstoppers for 10 years after deciding to take up singing 15 years ago. It was a "change in life," he says, adding that the man his family knows is not the same man up there crooning Barry Manilow tunes.

"It's totally not who I am," he says. "It's not me at all."

Like the other 16 members of the group, he's in it for the fun. It's allowed him to stretch and do "totally silly things."

The Showstoppers once included a handful of men, but as members moved or became ill, Tardio was soon the lone rooster in the henhouse, so to speak. He would love to have a few more guys involved.

The Showstoppers, with their latest show, Dancin' Through the Decades, in performance this weekend, are always "on" and happy to welcome new members.

"We love to get people excited about dance," LeRoy says.

It's not all about dance. Tardio is primarily a singer, and all troupe members engage in skits and novelty numbers.

The senior dancing groups in Sedona and the Verde Valley are known for their fun and sensational costumes. Above all, they are known as ageless entertainers.

For more information about joining the Sedona Showstoppers, contact Francine at (928) 301-8110. For information about the Red Rockin Grannies, call (928) 282-9448.


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