For nine years, Christian Community Theater has donned the stage with showing that talent never gets old. This success has lead to a 10th Anniversary Celebration “San Diego Follies: Best of the Best.” Paul Russel, the founder of CCT/CYT is returning as director for this landmark celebration. Known also as the Senior Follies San Diego, this has been an East County destination since its conception. It is currently looking for people 55 and older to audition, to sing, dance and perform.
For nine years, Christian Community Theater has donned the stage with showing that talent never gets old. This success has lead to a 10th Anniversary Celebration “San Diego Follies: Best of the Best.” Paul Russel, the founder of CCT/CYT is returning as director for this landmark celebration. Known also as the Senior Follies San Diego, this has been an East County destination since its conception. It is currently looking for people 55 and older to audition, to sing, dance and perform. The cast is normally 80 performers, but last year they only had 60 “stars” in the show and are encouraging people to come out and do what you have always wanted to do. Audition. Be a part of something fun and that you have always wanted to do.
Bonnie Deming knows this. The Follies have fulfilled one of her many dreams and goals in life. Dancing her way to 84 soon, Deming has been a showgirl for the Follies and said it is another wonderful stage in her life. Almost like starting over again, like a child.
Deming was born with the “energy gene” and dancing has been the love of her life since she was 8-years-old when Maria Fielding from the San Diego County Parks & Recreation came to her school. She danced her way to Wilson Middle School after spending the summer with the San Diego Ballet Company, and then joined the choir. Her teacher thought she would be better off in a band or orchestra.
“I couldn’t carry a tune,” she said. “So I joined the orchestra, learned the violin, played it and got no satisfaction from it. None. I didn’t like it. So she suggested playing the drums in the band.”
So she did for two years. In high school, she was involved in drama and she loved to dance. Deming met her husband going into her senior year, joined cheerleading and stopped dancing. She knew she was going to be a teacher and life was too busy. But when she began to teach, every class she taught in her 40 year career, she taught them dance. When she went to Encanto to be an auxiliary teacher for the first Magnet school in the county, she had 500 children K-6. She began a program based on what countries the teachers were teaching in Social Studies and taught them the folk dance that went with their country. Then she took it further working with children that did not possess the discipline of study. Deming took them in, taught them dance, and their studies improved. Even when money for arts was cut, she continued.
“I was involved in drama and dance all my life,” she said. “But it wasn’t just me, when I got out of college and started teaching it was with the children. Anything that I could do to get the children involved and be like me. Enjoy life, everything you do, and have a passion for performing.”
Retired and plenty of “energy” for her next stage in life, her husband and she travelled all over the world two times, visiting 101 countries. At 80, they gave up travelling, golf and wondered what was next in life. One day she was approached by two women that told her she needed to get involved with the Follies. She had seen them in Palm Springs, loved them, went to the audition with “Tiny Bubbles” and became a showgirl.
Deming said this year they are taking the best acts from the last nine years, so the possibilities of this year’s performances are limitless. She said the Follies are looking for people to perform. They do not have to be professionals, but she encourages them to come out and audition.
“The whole thing of my life has been is that I have energy that doesn’t stop,” she said. “I’m looking at my life and going, ‘Wow. What am I going to do next?’ I’ll be 84 this year There are a lot of older people out there that have been in church choirs, have always wanted to dance, always wanted to perform, but they hit retirement age and are afraid to try it. Personally I want people like me who have that ambition and desire to do something with their lives. Something they’ve always wanted to do. You have to take risk. You have to follow your dreams. Stay active at this age. Your Golden Years should be golden. I have a personal desire to reach people 55 and older to push them to do their dreams.”
March 3, 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church
445 Church Way, El Cajon
Tap Dance and Ballroom Swing Auditions
Tap Dance 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Ballroom/Swing 5 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
2650 Truxton Road, San Diego
Rehearsals are three times a week, beginning in April. There will be seven performances. For more information visit www.cytsandiego.org/programs/CCT-7.
“San Diego Follies 10th Anniversary Best of the Best!”
June 22-June 25
Helix Mainstage Theater
4200 Lowell Street, La Mesa
Tickets go on sale March 15 at www.cytsandiego.org/shows/