FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For this week’s Positively Fort Wayne we take you to the rehearsal home of a group that’s been tapping their way into the hearts of fans for more than 40 years.
“I like to dance,” said tap dancer Doris Hoffman. “I’m not a good dancer but I have rhythm.” At the age of 95, Hoffman is one of the early members of the Alley Kats. The tap dancing troupe is made up of women age 55 and older. The group has been entertaining since 1980. Hoffman danced her way onto the scene in 1982.
“In my religion which was Lutheran, we didn’t dance, although I did,” Hoffman laughed. “It is just so much fun.”
The Alley Kats practice at the Fort Wayne Community Center downtown at 233 West Main Street. Linda Mullenhour has been part of the group since 2004 and its director and instructor for six years.
“It was originated by Mary Louise Stellhorn who was my dance teacher from the age of five,” said Mullenhour. “She started with a group of exercise ladies here at the Community Center and they wanted to learn to tap.”
The Alley Kats perform around the region and overseas. “We’ve gone to Germany and we entertained in Austria and Switzerland,” said Hoffman.
The group even had an audience with former First Lady Barbara Bush. “She was in town and she came here to the Community Center to see what we could do,” said Hoffman. “She was very nice and very personal.”
“When I joined in 2004, there were 25 of us and now we’re down to 13,” said Mullenhour. “So I’m always looking for new Alley Kats.”
Anyone 55 and older can join, no experience necessary. You’ll find more information on the Alley Kats by clicking here.