WINONA, Minn. — Celebrate legendary tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s birthday with the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts dancers. The talents of MCA tappers will be showcased in a free performance 7 p.m. Sunday, May 21, in Saint Mary’s University’s Figliulo Recital Hall.

Robison was an American tap dancer who overcame many racial barriers in the early 20th century. He is perhaps best remembered for dancing with Shirley Temple during a series of the films during the 1930s and for starring in Stormy Weather, which is loosely based on his life.

The showcase will highlight the talents of beginning- through advanced-level students who range from 6 years old through adults. Dancers will be performing rhythm tap pieces they learned in workshops this month and a revival of the tap piece from the spring Dance Repertory Company Concert. The evening will also include a special tap history presentation featuring the “Shim Sham Shimmy,” a dance known as the national anthem of tap. The showcase is open to the public, and free-will donations will be accepted.

Students performing in the Winona showcase will include: Ava Amann, Lilia Civettini, Coco Costello, Elias Fernandez Greene, Deja Foster, Nathan Graff, Viva Graff, Katherine Griggs, Mattie Kreisel, Kylee Indahl, Rachel Lepper, Justine Meinke, Isaac Meinke, Preston Meinke, Samuel O’Grady, Amy Remoticado, Lillianna Richardson, and Lucy Wilfahrt. The showcase is choreographed by MCA tap instructors Jessica Dienger and Christine Martin.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University, is a nonprofit organization offering programming in dance, music, visual art, and theatre. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered to youth ages 18 months and older through adults. The MCA is housed at the Valéncia Arts Center, located at the corner of 10th and Vila streets. For more information visit smumn.edu/mca, email MCA@smumn.edu, or call 507-453-5500.

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