Ambassadors Of Goodwill: The Mesquite-Toes Tap Team

Apr 24, 2014

Kerry and her mother, Kathy, discuss the Mesquite-toes tap group.
Credit StoryCorps

UPR's Kerry Bringhurst talks with her mom, Kathy Lyne Jones about being a dance ambassador for the city of Mesquite, Nevada.

Kathy: I belong to a senior dance team called The Mesquite-Toes. Our average age is 69 1/2. I have only danced with them for three years but they celebrated their 10th year anniversary this year. It started as an exercise class at the rec center. Out of the ten beginners five of them are still dancing. We took a trip this year to Palm Springs and to Knott's Berry Farm in California and then next year we are going to Alaska on another cruise. We do about 26 different dances. We have tap classes, jazz classes and clogging classes. I do like the clogging the best. I think it's the fact that you can take out all of your frustrations...stomping your feet that loud.

Kerry: Tell me about the groups favorite color.

Kathy: Well, their costumes are all pink. That's their traveling attire. The costumes come in a variety of colors but whenever we go anywhere the director says "where your pinks." So we all don our pink traveling suits or our pinks shirts and cowboys and off we go to represent The Mesquite-Toes. The mayor of Mesquite at the time they started doing their spectacular which was three years into their beginning he dubbed them the "The Goodwill Ambassadors of Mesquite." Wherever we go that's our motto and we are the goodwill ambassadors so we try to represent Mesquite, Nevada.  

Kerry: One of my favorite experiences this past year was being able to go with you and your friends, your Mesquite-Toes, on a cruise of the Mediterranean and you guys performed on the cruise ship and you were the hit of the cruise ship so I think you are being a little modest when you say you don't know how to dance. And especially you. You're a very good dancer.

Kathy: No better than I think I am but we do, we just really have a lot of fun. I thinks its like playing dress up every time put on a performance.  Its just like "oh, we get to put glitter on our cheeks and we get to wear all this make-up."

Kerry: And you guys are, you're just girly-girls...all your glitter and all your bling.

Kathy: And it's kind-of like being in high school all over again. There's little clicks and there's little clashes and there's people's feelings get hurt and stories to tell. Some of my favorite memories in The Mesquite-Toes are just the performances and the back stage. And it looks like you just get up there and you shuffle. But if they could just see behind the scenes of throwing outfits on and off. And we have dressers that give us their time to help us get ready for the next number.

Kerry: How many hours a day would you say you practice?

Kathy: Couple three hours everyday that we're not having classes. And there are some days that we would be in class for four or five hours just because it's show time and you really have to crank it up when it gets close to the deadline. Let's talk about your high school experiences and your drill team adventures.

Kerry: Oh goodness.  All I'm going to say about that is that having you be a Mesquite-Toe does feel a little bit like payback. I remember coming to you and saying " and so did this and oh, can you believe this, and oh, I don't want to practice again." So now I'm getting the phone calls "oh, you would not believe what so and so did today and this costume is not going to look good." Now I'm on the opposite side of things where I just want to say "really? grow up." 

Kathy: Couple more years, you'll get to join a senior dance group and there you go!

Kerry: Oh, thank you for that. Can't wait! Problem is I don't know how to dance.

Kathy: Now wait a minute I remember specifically taking every back road in Vernal to take you to a dance class in a lady's trailer and do you remember the name of the song?

Kerry: "I am a dancing poodle."

Kathy: That's right! What do you mean you don't dance. I'll bet you could still do it.

Kerry: Let me just close by letting you know how much I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your dancing. I know that's filled an important role in your life.   So, thanks mom.

Kathy: Thank you.