The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in ways we never thought possible, but Carlene Mehls Coleman, longtime owner of the Showtime Dance and Tumbling Studio in Perry, was determined to stage her 33rd annual spring recital.
“I decided I was going to have a recital even if I have to have it in my backyard,” Mehls Coleman said. “Showtime loves its students so much that something half-way normal has to happen for these students.”
When her original plan to rent the band shell in Pattee Park for the third week in May fell through because of the city’s virus-forced closures, Mehls Coleman turned to Heather Bruce, owner of the Osmundson Manufacturing plant west of Perry and a fan of Showtime Dance, and a plan was hatched.
Mehls Coleman said she rented a professional stage and two dressing rooms in order to produce three mini-shows of 50 students each Saturday, July 18. Shows were scheduled for 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on the grounds outside of Osmundson’s.
“People will bring their lawn chairs and sit in family clusters, social distancing at least six feet from the other families,” Mehls Coleman said. She said she has about 150 students this year, down from her usual troupe of about 200 due to the virus.
The 9 a.m. show was a big success, with the 50 young dancers and tumblers sporting in the shade in Saturday’s heat. The later shows promise to be equally entertaining.
“I have four seniors,” Mehls Coleman said. “One has danced for six years, and the other three have been with me for 15 years, and I was not going to not let them have a show. I wasn’t going to do it.”
One of Mehls Coleman’s oldest friends and fellow dancers, Becky Malevamko of Pleasant Hill, who has worked for more than 50 years as a dance instructor at the Becky Malevamko Dance and Tumbling Studio, was on hand with moral support at Saturday’s 33rd annual Showtime Dance and Tumbling spring recital. The friends are longtime members of Dance Masters of America Inc.
“I want people to see that Showtime cares,” Mehls Coleman said “We are a family. We’re not just a dance studio. We are a family.”