There was some rhythmic toe tapping and hand clapping on Free Stage 2 at the North Dakota State Fair Thursday afternoon during one of the performances given by Powerhouse, a dance troupe that mixes tap, clog, Irish step and stomp dancing. The group of four will be amazing fair-goers today and Saturday at 12, 2, 6 and 10 p.m.
Powerhouse, whose director Brian Bon refers to as percussive dance, consists of dancers who are selected from the very best competitive dancers in the country. Performing at the shows during the North Dakota State Fair are Bon, Tanya Pennington, Felicity Pennington and Megan Williams. The group bills itself as appealing to a wide-ranging span of ages.
During the show, there was barely a time when any of the dancers were not tapping a foot or clapping their hands. As part of an introduction, Bon said people might be wondering why the troupe members had neon-colored duct tape covering the toes of their tap shoes. Instead of offering an answer, though, he joked, "Because our jokes are so funny that they're all on tape," to the sound of good-natured chuckles.
A nine-year-old girl was selected from the audience as a volunteer to prove how easy it is to tap. "Just move your feet to the beat," Bon instructed, as the other Powerhouse dancers clapped and the girl stomped her feet in time.
Bon said if anyone is interested in learning how to dance like the Powerhouse dancers, they can send him a message on the Powerhouse website at (www.PowerHouseDance.net) and he will find instruction for them in their area.
Powerhouse has been on the TV show "America's Got Talent," "FX's Justified" and several other shows, Bon said. As a piece of trivia, he added that he started as a clogger on "Hee Haw" in the 1980s and was on the variety show for five seasons. Bon said he met Johnny Cash and other classic country legends on his first day on the set of that show, too.
"We do about 400 shows every summer," Bon continued before he and Williams did a dance-off to the "Dueling Banjos" tune. "And this is our first time in North Dakota."
As the finale, Bon invited all of the children in the audience to join him and the other dancers on the stage and dance as a group. Looking at all of the smiles and tapping feet of the participants, there may soon be a lot of messages sent to Bon for his help in finding tap dance instructors.