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Tap! Play! Stay! Planning a family vacation or simply opting to visit sites close to home for a “staycation” might not be easy to coordinate, especially if family members have different likes that range from swimming, boating, fishing - and more to festivals, music, and dance. But although we have long been told that we can’t please all of the people all of the time; Kayla Cowart, “The Tap Girl of Florida” believes Dunedin, Florida might offer every family member the best solution to such a dilemma.
Florida native Kayla Cowart, a skilled tap dancer, highly creative choreographer, and passionate performer in the Off-Broadway musical “STOMP,” grew up in Clearwater and spent much of her time from the ages of 2-16 in Dunedin’s Patricia Ann Dance Studio where she was schooled in classical ballet, Pointe, jazz, hip hop, and tap dance under the tutelage of the dance studio’s founder, the late Ms. Elaine Forestier.
Minutes from St. Petersburg and Clearwater and only about 26 miles away from Tampa, the city of Dunedin provides access to all the big city amenities. But this small town with its artsy vibe never misses a beat to reach out and win the hearts of its residents and visitors. Nestled within a wooded and subtropical setting with almost four miles of breathtaking waterfront, Dunedin boasts a relaxed lifestyle and offers activities for all likes and ages. Popular with the sun-and-sand crowd, families, and hipster types who will love its eclectic array of attractions, Dunedin is truly a delightful place to visit.
Located just off the coast of Dunedin, beach-goers and water-lovers can surely enjoy the unspoiled beauty and beaches of Honeymoon Island State Park, appreciate Caladesi Island State Park, which is one of the last undeveloped barrier islands in the country, and avail themselves of watercraft activities near the city’s Marina District. Dunedin and its active downtown area are steeped in art, culture, history, and a myriad of educational opportunities. The city also touts an assortment of unique stores for your shopping pleasure and offers some of the best restaurants and dining experiences in the Tampa Bay area.
“If you are looking for a town that vibrates with rhythm and energy, Dunedin with its year-round special events and many festivals like OktoBEERfest, Taste of Dunedin, and its Old Fashioned Christmas & Holiday Parade, might just be the best place for you,” said seasoned performer and entrepreneur Kayla Cowart.
Cowart’s love of music and dance, especially tap dancing, and her Dunedin “dance roots,” had led her in 2018 to produce the Dunedin Tap Dance Festival, which is now an annual Dunedin event. The Dunedin Tap Dance Festival, a two-day spectacular held in downtown Dunedin’s John R. Lawrence Pioneer Park on the second weekend in September, continues to draw larger crowds each year. This Festival takes place during Florida’s off-tourist season so travel costs and hotel rates tend to be very affordable. In addition, the Dunedin Tap Dance Festival is one of the, if not the, most affordable Tap Dance Festival in the United States because all of its events and activities are completely FREE. This is not an elitist event but one for all ages and abilities of tap dancers and those spectators who enjoy being immersed into the world of tap dance.
On Friday night the program features a “tap-on-tap” dancers’ networking experience at a local pub that encourages tap dancers in the crowd to perform impromptu dance routines. FREE Tap Dance Workshops on Saturday morning at Patricia Ann Dance Studios sets the pace for the day and a FREE-TO-THE-PUBLIC musical extravaganza in Pioneer Park on Saturday evening showcases the performances of the Festival’s tap dance ambassadors and tap participants.
“Florida enjoys a thriving tap dance industry and the Tampa Bay area pulsates at the heart of it,” said tap dancer Kayla Cowart. “So if you love dance and are even remotely interested in tap dancing, you’ll want to ‘tap out a vacation plan’ to visit the Dunedin Tap Dance Festival.”
Tap! Play! Stay! Tap at the Dunedin Tap Dance Festival! Play in the vibrant art and music scene of Dunedin! Stay for the perfect TAPcation™. Life’s a beach in Florida and the picturesque city of Dunedin with its boatload of rhythm and hometown feel is sure to dance its way into your heart.
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