"5-6-7-8," called Tommie Demers on a cold winter night in 1944 as she led her young dance students on stage at City Auditorium. "Music up and 5-6-7-8 Dance!"

        And here we come again with a "5-6-7-8 Dance!" on the cold winter night of January 18, 2020 at 7pm as the "Rhythm of the Night" celebrates the 75th anniversary of Tommie's show -- the city's first dance recital and the start of Concord's special place as New Hampshire's "dancing town". Look what she started: today, the Audi is the home stage of 13 local dance companies, and over 2,000 students perform on its boards every season.

        Just one night a year, the Audi rocks again to Tommie's special beat, to the "Rhythm of the Night," as the capital area's Prima Dancers step into the spotlight to present the state's biggest and brightest community dance show. This year eight dance companies and 150 dancers have planned a festive 90 minutes with 21 acts, all presented by The Friends of The Audi.. Perhaps we should call it "Rhythms of the Night", said producer David Murdo, for it ranges from classical ballet and jazz to tap, hip hop, and production numbers.

        The dance school directors take turns directing the program, with Jamie Tisbert of Dancesteps Etc. in Epsom leading the show this year. Featured schools include Concord Dance Academy, Creative Dance Workshop of Bow, Eastern Ballet Institute, McKenna Dance Center, New Hampshire School of Ballet, Turning Pointe Center of Dance, and Gen's Dance Studio -- with Miss Gen celebrating her 51st dancing year!

        This year's production is sponsored by the MollyB Scholarship Fund in memory and honor of Molly Banzoff. Her family notes that "Molly loved dancing here at the Audi. She was very proud of her dance school and loved meeting dancers from other schools. She would want the community to see all the amazing dancers who learn and perform in Concord."

        The eight schools and their directors -- Cindy Flanagan, Bridget Edinger, Brandi Nylen Reed, Ana McKenna, Jennifer Rienert, Lisa Drouin Goff, Jamie Tisbert, and Gen Woodward, are an important part of the Friends of The Audi. All appear at the Audi during the regular season in programs ranging from the GALA Season Opener to special holiday performances and year-end recitals. With specialties ranging from classical ballet to hip hop, their competition teams regularly win regional and national honors.

        Since the Friends formed in 1991, the schools have danced together one night a year in one thrilling performance to benefit the Fund for the Audi, established on the theatre's 100th anniversary to celebrate its past and assure its future. All proceeds are earmarked for the next upgrade: completing the stage curtain project and renovating the gilded roscenium arch.

        Rhythm of the Night is a fun-filled way for families to start the New Year "on the right foot". Tickets are just $12 in advance at the UPS Store on South Main Street in Concord, at the dance studios, and the door.

        The show will last one and one-half hours with one intermission (refreshments!) and is suitable for all ages. Information and ticket reservations are available from producer David Murdo at 334-4747 or email to nhdm40@comcast.net