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Still Strutting Their Stuff

These 'Seasoned' St. Louis Tap Dancers Deliver Up To 85 Shows Each Year

Article by Julie Brown Patton

Photography by Courtesy of The St. Louis Strutters

Originally published in Clayton City Lifestyle

One vivacious group of St. Louis women, from ages 60 through their 80s, keep themselves on their toes by enriching the lives of audiences through performing high-kicking, fast-tapping precision tap dance routines to all genres of music with style and glamour. And that's just within the first number that they deliver in their events.

The St. Louis Strutters troupe was founded in 1985 by former Vaudevillians and professional dancers Pat Bruder, Anita Davis and Delores Rehling, all St. Louis residents. 

Strutters' Co-Presidents Cathy Loyd and Donna Grasso share that when the group started, it consisted of five retired dancers, with solo and chorus line experience, who got together weekly for a tap workout. Now, a dozen Strutters exist, most of whom have performed professionally or have taught dance at some point in their lives.

The group typically performs more than 85 choreographed tap dance shows annually at conventions, health fairs, holiday events, corporate meetings, skilled nursing facilities and retirement centers or parties celebrating all occasions. Among their credits are appearances in Broadway-inspired productions at the Muny Opera in Forest Park and for the annual Ms. Senior America Pageant at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and Resorts International in Atlantic City. They also were invited to audition in Chicago for “America’s Got Talent” judges, Sharon Osborne, Pierce Morgan and Howie Mandel,  making it through two rounds of competition in St. Louis and Chicago.

Additionally, as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, The Strutters' performers contributed $180,000-plus to charities around the country, including local food pantries, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation Mid-America Chapter, National Children's Cancer Society, Our Little Haven, Ronald McDonald House, Camp Happy Days and the Alzheimer’s Association. They’ve also used proceeds from their performances to help victims of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

To book a Strutters' show, audition or request additional information from this group, emailstruttermar@aol.com.

At presstime, the group's 2022 remaining appearances were:  

May 15, 3 p.m.:  Garden Villas O'Fallon, 7092 S. Outer Road, O'Fallon, MO  

June 12, 2 p.m.:  Delmar Gardens of Creve Coeur, 850 County Manor Lane, St. Louis 

July 1, 2:30 p.m.:  Delmar Gardens South, 5300 Butler Hill Road, St. Louis  

Aug. 7, 2 p.m.:  Garden Villas South, 13457 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis  

Oct. 13, 2 p.m.:  Delmar Gardens West, 13550 S Outer 40 Rd., Chesterfield  

Nov. 30, 2 p.m.:  Cedarhurst of Tesson Heights, 12335 W Bend Dr., St. Louis  

Dec. 4, 2 p.m.:  Garden Villas South, 13457 Tesson Ferry Road, St. Louis  

Dec. 14, 2 p.m.:  Allegro, 1055 Belleview Avenue, Richmond Heights 

Dec. 16, 2:30 p.m.:  Delmar Gardens South, 5300 Butler Road, St. Louis  
 

“Life is a dance and the world is its stage. Live, Love and Dance.”

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