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There’s no place like home for ‘Season of Oz’

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Imagine Dorothy traveling back to Oz during the Christmas season. Would there be lions and tigers and dancing elves? Tiny-toe tapping elves follow the yellow brick road when Dorothy is part of Sound Out Tap Company’s “Rhythms of Christmas…A Season of Oz.” The Folsom-based youth tap ensemble earned the title of New York City’s favorite youth tap group last December and now the dance company is back for a fifth season of holiday performances in Rocklin. “Grandma Dorothy is retelling her story to her granddaughter for the first time and the little girl is seeing it with a holiday twist because the story is told during the holiday season,” said Alyson Meador of Rocklin, Sound Out artistic director. “I found music the performers can tap to and retired children’s author, Linda Marcus of Lincoln, who supports us, did all the script writing pro bono.” As Grandma Dorothy unravels every riddle about the merry old land of Oz, characters such as Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion tap through her travels in holiday style. “Their costumes are great and the dancers are all in sync,” said Julie Romero of Rocklin. “It’s loud and clear and sounds really good. My younger daughter Marisa went to a show and after she saw that show she had to take tap. I signed her up for Hawkins Dance School and she was referred to the tap competition team and she’s going to be one of the elves in the show this year.” The Hawkins School of Performing Arts in Folsom has served the greater Sacramento area for 23 years and is home to Sound Out Tap Company. “Alyson has been teaching for 30 years and studying tap her entire life,” shared Sherry Melchers, Sound Out publicity director. “Her mother was a Rockette and owned her own dance studio, so Alyson has been around tap dance her entire life. I have heard audience members compare the Rhythms of Christmas shows to New York quality shows.” Rocklin High School student Rheanna Meador, 17, plays the character of Dorothy. Rheanna Meador recently joined other “Season of Oz” cast members in downtown Sacramento to perform for onlookers and a local television news crew. “My favorite part is dancing to ‘Ease on Down the Road,’” Rheanna Meador said. “All four of the main characters so easily relate to each other, let loose and have fun.” Alexis Taylan, 15, of El Dorado Hills plays a scarecrow that has to find balance between fighting off the Wicked Witch and finding a brain. “It’s really difficult to get the character down because you have to be able to tap while falling,” Taylan said. “It’s really interesting playing a scarecrow in tap shoes.” “A Season of Oz” includes 75 performers dancing to music least expected in the Emerald City, but warmly welcomed with holiday rhythm, revelry and rhyme. Four shows take place at Whitney High School on Dec. 10-12 with afternoon and evening performances. Tickets for “Rhythms of Christmas… a Season of Oz” are $18 for adults, $15 for children and students with ID, and available for purchase at www.stages-performingarts.org. Call (916) 355-8080 for more information. “The quality of tap is exceptional, the choreography is always fun and interesting with a little humor thrown in,” Melchers said. “Great props and set design both in the theater and in the lobby! It’s superb entertainment. It’s tap dance. What’s more fun than tap?” “Rhythms of Christmas… A Season of Oz” Where: Whitney High School, 701 Wildcat Blvd., Rocklin When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11; 2 p.m. Dec. 12 Cost: $18 for adults and $15 for children and students with ID Information: Stages-PerformingArts.org or call (916) 355-8080