THE DANCE GOES ON
By:Hal de Becker
Photos: Sally Miller Photography
What began 16 years ago at Backstage Studios as a challenging, advanced-level dance class has become a mecca for retired professionals who refuse to hang up their dancing shoes.
Their instructor is master dancer, teacher and choreographer, Angelo Moio, whose credits span the country from Las Vegas to New York City and include, among others, the “Siegfried and Roy” show and “Legends in Concert”.
Angelo’s authorized re-staging of the original choreography of “A Chorus Line” is in constant demand by numerous regional theatre groups.His teaching engagements at University’s and dance conventions take him to every state in the Union.
Equally well traveled are his demonstration classes on DVD which are distributed nationwide by Cathy Roe Products to teachers and schools.
Of the scores of dancers who regularly attend Angelo’s classes not all are retired.Some are students, while many, like Marissa Paul of the Venetian’s ‘Phantom’, are working pros who welcome the example set by the experience, skill and boundless energy of their retired peers.
Angelo’s classes begin in the center with warm up exercises and stretches followed by traveling steps across the floor.He then demonstrates a polished, stage-ready dance routine which can incorporate jazz, ballet, musical theatre, hip hop and even 1940’s jitterbug styles.
Among the first to ‘get’ the number are usually the retired pros, accustomed as they are to picking up quickly from the countless auditions and rehearsals they’ve ‘survived’.
Dancers like Lynn Martin Fouce, who worked for great choreographers including the one and only Ronnie Lewis, discovered early on that they appreciate and tend to hire fast learners.
Some of these former pro’s have overcome the challenges of injuries, illness or the loss of a loved one.All have overcome the challenge of change.Two of the most frequent transitions have been and probably always will be learning a new profession and raising a family.
Terri Ritter and her husband, Dusty, met while performing in the Folies-Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel.They have two sons.
Terri’s quintessential ‘show girl’ paintings adorn private collections and galleries and include a 50 foot long mural commissioned by McCarran Airport for its new international terminal.
Diana Saunders, performed in many Broadway shows and danced in Las Vegas for the legendary producer Donn Arden.Russell Plasko has the distinction of having danced in both the Paris and Las Vegas productions of “Lido de Paris”.
Mark Moschello first met Angelo when they both worked in ‘Legends’ and later for “Siegfried and Roy” at the Mirage.
All the dancers, although too many to name, have equally impressive credits.
It’s impossible not to feel uplifted watching Angelo’s dancers soar, spin and strut at Backstage Studios.Perhaps that’s due to the passion and joyous fulfillment they radiate while doing, still doing, what they love: DANCING!