The Dancing Empress
by NancyLee Honey Marsh
Photography by Christian Lee
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” —Martha Graham
Lovely and willowy in a red blouse, black slacks and matching slender heels, Patti Maurer (size 2, maybe!) and her shadow, Chanel, a Cavachon (bichon/Cavalier mix), whirled about in a graceful greeting at their front door. Stepping into the beautiful entrance hall of this fabulous home, the urge to twirl around with them was inspirational. With a stunning marsh view inspiring us, Patti, excitedly related, “I've been dancing since I was 3 years old and love it more every day! When I announced to my dad my passion to major in dance at the University of Colorado, he insisted on a backup, so I graduated with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Psychology.”
Florida born Patti literally danced her way around the world and into the hearts of thousands. She captured young David Maurer's heart in college, and they tied the knot in 1989. With David's busy schedule as practicing ENT physician and Patti's teaching and touring company demands, there was hardly time to breathe. Eventually, Patti tucked her dancing passion in a quiet place in her heart while she and David raised their three children, David, Katie and Cassie.
“Our move to Hilton Head in 2000 was to be a full blown retirement for me, but guess what? It didn't work!” Patti's face was alive with enthusiasm, as she related how she eased back into the magnetic world of dance. “At first it was just subbing in Bluffton, where a dance teacher was needed. Certification is required, so I obtained the K-12 Advanced Fine Arts Teaching Certificate. It was important to me students learn the many benefits of dance. Organizing “Fantastic Fridays” I taught the entire school to dance.” A Patti fast-forward pace and a chance meeting with Director/Choreographer/ Actor Casey Colgan at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina led Patti to try out for A Chorus Line. “When I told David what I intended to do, he informed me I was too old!” Patti showed everyone she was an exciting addition to the Arts Center, and after more than a dozen performances, she firmly exhibited her strength and vitality required for these sustained physical and mental activities.
Patti's career spanned a multitude of talents. In 2013 while in New York with daughter Katie for a ballet intensive, she reconnected with an old high school friend. “It was ironic, as Michael Jackowitz, a Broadway producer had just finished “How to Succeed In Business,” and I had recently done the show here. After listening to all my involvement, he felt I was basically producing, and asked if I'd be interested in trying it on a larger scale. The reading of Natalie Babbitt's “Tuck Everlasting,” to which Michael invited me, touched and filled my heart with a great range of emotions. Because this has been termed a classic of modern children's literature, and he knew of all my work with students, Michael asked me to be co-producer for this production!”
With David's loving support, Patti traveled often to New York and Atlanta as the show evolved. “I have gained so much experience by listening and observing the Broadway veterans involved in this production. I've gathered a fabulous group of friends and colleagues from Hilton Head and Colorado, and we are heading to New York City on April 26 for the Broadway opening of “Tuck Everlasting” at the Broadhurst Theatre.”
Her great tide of talent has carried Patti to amazing heights. As the stage lights lower and the music swells for "Tuck Everlasting," we will not hear the fluttering of Patti's heart, but her smile over her contribution to such an amazing accomplishment will shine all over Broadway.
Go to foods: Cheez-its and M&Ms
Relax Much: I don't really. Any downtime I am always choreographing something in my head!
Inspirations: "Reach for the Stars" and then, of course, "Don't Think, Just Dance."
Future wishes: After Broadway, I definitely plan on spending more time enjoying my family, and I want to finally go through all of my piles of photos and make albums.
Most Memorable: Mary Poppins was an especially memorable show for Patti, as her girls, Katie and Cassie joined her in this outstanding performance.