JMArts receives grant for ‘Gotta Dance’ spring theater dance workshop

Siler City, NC – JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, plans to offer an after-school dance workshop for student actors this spring thanks to a Grassroots Grant announced last month by the Chatham Arts Council.

“Gotta Dance! Dancing for Musical Theatre” will be the first formal dance class offered at Jordan-Matthews High School for at least four decades. The six-hour class scheduled over two sessions will teach dance terminology and basic steps, help students understand what to expect at a dance audition and work through choreography.

Peggy Taphorn, Producing Artistic Director for Temple Theatre in Sanford, plans to teach an after-school dance workshop for student actors at Jordan-Matthews High School.

While the pandemic could still change any plans, the workshop was originally created as part of student actors’ preparation for the Broadway musical, “Oklahoma!,” in a local production scheduled for late March.
The grant will help fund a residency for Peggy Taphorn to teach classes. Taphorn has directed, choreographed and performed across the world, including numerous productions on Broadway, London’s West End, touring the United States, Canada, South America and Asia. She is in her 14th season as the Producing Artistic Director at Temple Theatre in Sanford.

“I’m excited to share knowledge of the theater and particularly dance and choreography with the Jordan-Matthews students in this upcoming collaboration,” Taphorn said. “After an introduction to dance, we hope the workshops will culminate in choreographing ‘Kansas City,’ a dynamic and classic number from ‘Oklahoma!’”

JMArts President Rose Pate said she’s still not sure how the workshop will need to be altered during the pandemic. “But we are very pleased to offer this new opportunity for arts education to Jordan-Matthews students, either this spring or soon after that,” she said. “We’re grateful to Peggy and the Chatham Arts Council for helping us offer such a wonderful experience for our students and community.”

The Grassroots Grant Program is made possible by individual contributions to the Chatham Arts Council’s general operating fund — and by the Grassroots Arts Program of the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

More information about JMArts, including a schedule of upcoming arts events and information on membership, is available online at