by Beth Obermeyer
“And it just goes to show you—thousands, millions of people have a warm spot in their heart—their tap shoes hanging back behind the old tennis racket somewhere.” So said Garrison Keillor to author Beth Obermeyer on a Prairie Home Companion evening.
His evidence? The 1,801 tap dancers who shuffled and clicked down Hennepin Avenue to open their arts center—the first flash mob, decades before the Internet—set a Guinness World Record.
The Big Tap was no stunt, and most certainly not a wine and cheese. Beth, who organized the event, insisted everyone should dance, from church ladies to ladies of the street, downtown workers families and lovers, dance schools. The police abandoned their corners and danced onto Good Morning America, all the way to Japan’s Asahi Evening News.
The miracle? When they all pulled together—a giant Little Engine That Could—they found they were more alike than different. And that is quite possibly the biggest dance of all.
The book is inspirational to anyone who ever had a crazy idea. Beth brings to the page all the energy and joy she brings to the stage. “Act on intuition, from the gut, and never lose the big picture,” she says.
Several became legendary but only a helicopter could capture the 1,801 tap dancers who opened an arts center; or the marching band, 2,512 strong, that took the town when an 80-year-old Meredith Willson guest-conducted his 76 Trombones.
They whirled round the world, Today to UPI and AP; Asahi News, Japan back home to Good Morning America. Her news releases generated national stories, Washington Post to Baltimore Sun, with Beth herself profiled in US Magazine. She and three events won her city’s Committee for Urban Environment award for improving the quality of life.
On the faculty of the Minnesota Dance Theatre, the largest center for dance in the Midwest, Beth appeared solo on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and opposite Christopher Plummer and Gregory Hines.
Beth has done seminars to business and professional groups, including Public Relations Society of America. Her journalism degree is from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. She has three books published with North Star Press of St. Cloud in the year 5/2011-5/2012.
OTHER PUBLISHED WORKS
- Big! Released September 2011
- The Days of Song and Lilacs, Coming May 2012
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and North Star Press of St. Cloud
North Star Press of St. Cloud