When Lauren M. Squires moved to Columbus from North Carolina in 2012 to join the faculty at Ohio State University, she anticipated finding a thriving tap-dancing community.
She was wrong.
Disappointment turned to determination, and Squires, an assistant professor in the Department of English at OSU, went on to found Movement Afoot. The nonprofit performance ensemble of what is now seven adult tap dancers, including Squires, will hold its second full-length concert Friday and Saturday, May 26 and 27.
"Count Us In" will be performed at 7 p.m. both days in the Shedd Theatre at the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave.
Tickets, which cost $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children under 12, are available at movementafoottap.com/count-us-in.
The 90-minute concerts are being held in conjunction with National Tap Dance Day, which is May 25, the birthday of famed tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Movement Afoot member Janelle Maur of Clintonville said.
Tap is an American art form, Squires said.
Maur, 27, who works at COSI, said she's been tap dancing since she was 8 years old. She joined Movement Afoot shortly after it was formed by Squires and Janet Schroeder, a former professional tap dancer who is now working on her doctorate, comparing Appalachian clogging and tap dancing.
Maur choreographed some of the dances that will be performed on opening night for "Count Us In."
Schroeder said she not only likes being able to perform in Movement Afoot but also to show people tap dancing isn't just something they saw in movies or tried to master when they were children.
"We're demonstrating you don't have to stop dancing when you graduate from high school, or it's not just for little girls," she said.
Schroeder is the choreographer for a suite of three pieces to be performed at "Count Us In" to traditional jazz tunes.
"My brain is attracted to things that are simultaneously analytical and creative," Squires said. "For me, tap is a form of dance that is very appealing because of the precision, but it's also infinitely creative."
The May 26 and 27 performances will feature three distinct sections to highlight the stylistic breadth of tap dance and the artistic reach of Movement Afoot.
"With 'Count Us In,' we are providing something for everyone, with choreography to pop, jazz, and a cappella," Squires said. "We especially wanted to bring something a little more upbeat to the first part of our program, while maintaining the high level of artistry we strive for."
Guest dance artists Daniel "TrigNO" Turnbo and Mansee Singhi will appear at the May 26 performance, while the GOREE Drum and Dance traditional West African group will appear May 27. Columbus pianist Nate Shaw will provide live accompaniment on select numbers.
The other members of Movement Afoot include Rachel Cooke, Stephanie Gluck, Sharon Ross and Holly Honroth.