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Tippi Toes dancers perform at Harlem Globetrotters game

Fri, Apr 19th, 2013
Posted in All Arts & Culture

First Row L to R: Corrine Cloft of Rochester, Ian Cunningham of Stewartville, Victoria Vargas of Rochester, Julia Clark of Kasson, Sophie Allen of Kasson, Dorothy Glaser of Rochester, Chelsea Hansing of Kasson, Aliena Spitzer of Fillmore Central, Kyla Hellickson of Fillmore Central, and Jeweleanna Lidke of Lanesboro. 2nd Row L to R: Morgan Phillips of Kingsland, Reilly Lawson of Kingsland, Kareena Kloek of Rochester, Annika Bartucz of Rochester, Becky Zheng of Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Skylar Lentz of Fillmore Central, Malea Diehn of Rochester, Tessa Duncan of Rochester, Jorja Fishbaugher of Chatfield, Tylar Wenthold of North Winneshiek, Delanie Schwein of Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Elianna Cassmann of Fillmore Central, Vivienne Hoeltzle of Fillmore Central, Sasha Bicknese of Kingsland, Sari Rein of Lanesboro, Ashtyn Schibursky of Fillmore Central, Tori Raaen of Fillmore Central, and Brooklyn Carpenter of Kingsland. 3rd Row L to R: Mia Books of Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Alivya Luhman of Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Abby Larson of Stewartville, Brea Covey of Lanesboro, Ava Olerude of Spring Grove, Olivia Gleason of Spring Grove, Kayla Olevson of Lanesboro, Kendel Slavin of Lime Springs, Kayden Shaw of Fillmore Central, Abby Northrup of North Winneshiek, Alexandria Johnson of Lime Springs, Jane Hamilton of Rochester, Emily Wetzel of Rochester, and Destiny Kramer of Plainview-Elgin-Millville. 4th Row L to R: Teachers Morganne Goff, Andrea White, Tara Cassmann, and Kayla Gregg. Photo by Jade Sexton

By Jade Sexton

Tippi Toes Dance Company has grown and expanded in southeast Minnesota in the last few years. Tara Cassmann of Harmony has been a dance instructor for Tippi Toes for three years now, and she recently had the pleasure of taking the dancers to Rochester to perform at the Harlem Globetrotters’s halftime show.

According to Cassmann, there are 225 students in Tippi Toes, as far south as Decorah, Iowa, all the way up to Lakeville, Minnesota. The dancers range in age from 18 months to 12.

“I had a great friend in Oklahoma that reached out to the Harlem Globetrotters, and they invited her dance crew to perform,” explained Cassmann. “She passed along our name to the corporate office, and they called me and asked if we were interested.”

Obviously, they were very interested in performing. They have done many performances in many places, but never an event this big.

Cassmann said they needed to sell 100 tickets in order to perform. They ended up selling 325 tickets to family members and friends. Those family members and friends took up three sections of the Mayo Civic Center arena.

Forty-five dancers danced the “Tippi Tippi Jam” on Sunday, April 14. The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters brought a large crowd to Rochester. During halftime, they were treated to the routine the children have been practicing for the last month.

The students come from Preston, Lanesboro, Harmony, Chatfield, Spring Valley, Plainview, Rochester, Kasson, Spring Grove, Lime Springs, North Winneshiek, and Stewartville.

“We had to come up with a routine that crosses all age barriers,” said Cassmann. “Our youngest dancer is two, and the oldest is eleven.”

They decided on the “Tippi Tippi Jam.” According to Cassmann, it is a song that is on the Tippi Toes CD. “It’s a very fun, interactive song,” she said. “We get the crowd into it, too.”

Harlem Globetrotters games are a great family event, and the kids were ecstatic to be a part of it. They had fun watching the first half of the show before their performance. Afterward, as they gathered for a group photo, they were joined by members of the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Tippi Toes Dance Company does a lot of performances in the area. They have danced at Art in the Park in Lanesboro, and at Rochester Honkers baseball games. This year they will be dancing at the opening of the Thursdays on First in downtown Rochester on June 6.

“We have an hour of time to perform,” said Cassmann of the Thursdays on First routine. “We also encourage all the other kids in the crowd to come up and join us.”

Tippi Toes is getting more and more students and expanding to more and more locations. “We have had schools contact us to run the program through Community Ed.,” shared Cassmann. “We also have an after school program with the Rochester Montessori School, as well as our regular studio space in Rochester and Lanesboro.”

Cassmann said the Tippi Toes journey has been a lot of fun. “Once people see it, they think it’s very cool,” she said. “We are very family oriented.”

For dancers, there are summer camps in August; a Mini Princess Camp for ages 2-3, a Princess Camp for 3-7 year olds, and a Hip Hop Camp for 7-12 year olds. Fall classes run from September through May, and there are summer classes in June and July. Enrollment is open all year and can be done on the website, www.TippiToesDance.com/Minnesota.cfm

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