Olivia Potthoff and Ian Calaway began tap dance as the younger siblings who were brought along to the studio, but they both found a reason to keep dancing.
“It’s really become one of my passions that I’ve wanted to continue,” Potthoff said. “Dance has been my therapy for getting through things.”
“It’s been a great experience,” Calaway said. “It’s one of those unique things that not everyone can say they do and it’s taught me a lot about music.”
Potthoff and Calaway are both seniors at Whitefish High School. They’ll take the stage this week along with the rest of the Whitefish Feat x Feet youth tap ensemble performing its annual winter show.
The show, called “The Beat Goes On,” runs Friday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center in Whitefish. The tap group is celebrating 22 years of dancing this month.
Potthoff dances four days per week, also practicing jazz, hip hop and lyrical dance, but says tap remains her favorite.
“I like the way tap allows you to make sounds along with the music,” she said. “I really like the harder, stronger style of tap that lets you get your frustrations out by stomping.”
The seniors selected the title of the show while working with Derick K. Grant, a professional tap dancer from New York City who has worked with the ensemble many times. Potthoff and Calaway said they realized that the seniors who graduate leave, but “the beat still goes on.”
Calaway says though it can be nerve-wracking to perform he’s looking forward to the shows.
“It’s cool that you get the chance to show off what you’ve been working on and what all your time as gone to,” he said. “It’s a great experience and I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity.”
Both say Feat X Feet has been such a big impact in their lives.
Ashley Smith is the owner and artistic director for Feat x Feet.
“It’s going to be a fun show,” Smith said in a release. “It’s really amazing coming together with music and our local students all on one stage. It’s very unique and upbeat.”
The show has lots of new choreography from Ashley Smith, Derick Grant and Marlow Schulz.
Sponsors for the show are Tupelo Grill, Glacier Bank, Potthoff Dentistry, The Village Shop and Montana Estate Keepers.
Also joining the Tap Ensemble on stage will be the tap school kids. The tap school kids will be performing at the Saturday and Sunday shows. Friday will feature just the ensemble.
To purchase tickets, call 406-471-4400. All main floor seats are reserved and are $18. All balcony seats are general admission and are $14, students prices are $10.