Curtain Call: Audrey Flint brings the joy of dancing to seniors – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
Audrey Flint of Talent teaches a class of students in what she calls her Boomers and Beyond program. She teaches for both Ashland Parks and Rec and OLLI. Photo submitted
Audrey Flint never planned a career in dance. It just evolved organically.
She started taking ballet, modern dance and tap lessons when she was 7 years old. She performed in dance productions and musicals in high school and began choreographing dance in college.
“My mom ran a dance studio in Berkley, so I ended up teaching there,” she said. “After he passed away, I took over the business for a while before moving to Oregon.”
Flint, 63, has kept busy on the dance scene since arriving in Rogue Valley in 1992. She created a full theater and dance program for the Willow Wind Community Learning Center shortly after her arrival.
She put on major dance productions twice a year with her students at the Mountain Theater at Ashland High School. Also early on, she choreographed for many local shows and was one of the resident choreographers at the Camelot Theater under the direction of Livia Genise.
Today, she teaches dance classes for Ashland Parks and Recreation and for OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute). Additionally, she works with seniors through her Broadway Dance for Boomers and Beyond program.
“I especially love teaching jazz and Broadway-style dance,” she said. “Although I also do a dance class called Funk It Up, based on old Motown tunes and music.”
On the journey that eventually led her to Rogue Valley, she had a multi-faceted career.
Teaching began early, during her college years at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she majored in theater arts.
“I taught a tap class to some students and teachers,” she said. “One of my students was Tom Lehrer, the songwriter who also taught college part-time.”
This led to her teaching tap dancing at her mother’s studio and leading dance programs at area high schools.
She had many gigs as a professional dancer in her early years, including doing musical theater for several years while living on the east coast in her twenties.
One of those jobs had an interesting twist. She was hired as a dancer for a New England theater company but ended up as a choreographer.
“I was playing at a summer theater in Massachusetts,” she said. “At the start of the season, the choreographer quit, so I took over and choreographed six major musicals that summer.”
She also had interesting jobs abroad. She spent time in Albania where she taught dance to students aged 3 to 18 in an international school. And while living in London, she was cast in a film for a non-dancing role.
She was born in New York and raised from the age of 2 in Berkeley, growing up in a family of alternative school educators.
“The school I attended was full of dance, drama and the arts,” she said.
This kind of environment and exposure to the arts surely encouraged his creativity. But she probably also has the dance gene in her DNA. His mother was a tap dancer for the USO in the 1940s.
When she and her then-husband moved to southern Oregon, they had a young child and were looking for a change.
“We were ready to move to beautiful Rogue Valley,” she said. “I had no intention of starting dance programs at the time. I was in early mom mode.
The baby has grown and Flint is back, waving his heels and teaching others how to do it.
“My main goal is for people to enjoy dancing and moving their bodies safely — and to feel fulfilled,” she said. “Music is a big part of my teaching. It’s familiar and evocative, so it’s also inspiring.
Does she have side gigs to help pay the bills?
“Absolutely,” she said. “I am getting into real estate investments. And even though I taught for many years in the school district, I was still part-time, so I needed other income to support my creative teaching and choreography work.
Without regret? Not really, but she had one of those “what could have been” moments.
“When I was living in London I was in the middle of call-back auditions and it looked like I was going to be hired for a big West End musical, ’42nd Street.’ But I had to suddenly return to the United States for family reasons. I always wonder what it would have been like to spend time doing West End musicals.
Meanwhile, she continues to spread the joy of dancing in her many classes throughout the year. For more information and to register for Ashland Parks and Rec courses, go to ashland.or.us and click on the department link. To sign up for her OLLI classes (she’s teaching this fall), Google OLLI at SOU, or contact her by email at [email protected]
Contact freelance writer Jim Flint at [email protected]