Riviera Beach, Fla. – Vivian Blackmon-Taylor has dreamed of being on the hit TV show “Dancing With The Stars.”
Now, at age 70, her dream is nearing reality.
The Riviera Beach native is set to strut her stuff in what’s termed the Broadway Ballroom Battle, on April 14, 7:30 p.m. at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 1001 E. Indiantown Rd. The not-forproﬁt once was known as the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, where actors who performed included Eartha Kitt, Ossie Davis, Sally Field and the late Reynolds.
Blackmon-Taylor has a limited number of tickets available for fans and supporters in her special cheering section. The tickets are $50 and must be purchased by Dec. 30. Call Blackmon-Taylor at 561-601-7267.
The battle will feature a dozen couples competing for the title of outstanding male and female dancer. Blackmon-Taylor said she believes she has all it takes to walk away with top honors. “I know I’m going to do well!” The seven-year breast cancer survivor said she has danced her whole life, having previously owned her own dance company called Third World School, where she offered lessons in ballet, jazz, modern and African dance.
She was a founder of Olufemi Dance, a local African dance troupe, studied at Ballet Florida, also studied tap, and was a cheerleader at then-Tuskegee Institute where she received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work.
She went on to a career in social services and eventually got her master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Today she is retired.
“I’m excited about this,” she said, “because one of my dreams is to be on ‘Dancing with the Stars!’ I have no particular feelings about being the only Black, but I’m glad to have been asked,” she said. “This is in the realm of being an example.”
She said she hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams regardless of their age or what they have experienced in life. They can achieve their goals no matter what, she said, but it’s great to have role models who look like them.
“In football and basketball you’ll ﬁnd a lot of Black athletes but in dancing, particularly in South Florida, you don’t ﬁnd a lot of Black role models.”
That’s why she initially formulated her own dance company, she said. “I wanted to share my experience and give opportunities to children who looked like me.”
She was recruited for the competition for that reason: diversity. Barbara Cheives, founder and CEO of Converge and Associates Consulting, is a Maltz Jupiter Theatre consultant for diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I have an ongoing contract with them in terms of the whole theatre – onstage, behind the scenes, outreach to diverse communities … to enjoy the theatre and to see themselves in all aspects of the theatre,” said Cheives. Her outreach is to all ethnic groups, not just African Americans, she said.
Cheives said selecting BlackmonTaylor was a delight but there was one issue. “First of all, I had to ﬁnd someone who could dance!”
Blackmon-Taylor said her goal is to one day offer scholarships for children of color to study dance.
Proceeds from the performances go to the New Goldner Conservatory at Maltz, a 501c3 company that offers acting, dance, musical theatre, backstage skills, private lessons and camps.