At 94, Cindy Trinder still gets her kicks on stage.
She is one of over 35 members of the nonprofit New Florida Follies, a Broadway-style extravaganza of song and dance performed by a “forever young” ensemble.
The group is back this season with a new show — “2023 – Magic, Music & Mysterium!” — produced by Emily Adams, and directed and choreographed by Cheryl Steinthal, who was a Rockette in the 1970s and a choreographer for nearly 50 years.
They are ready to showcase their talents to audiences in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and new this year, Coconut Creek.
“I thought I was going to die young,” said Trinder, of Tamarac, who began dancing professionally at 16 as an exotic acrobatic contortionist appearing in major nightclubs and cabarets across the country. – It feels great to still perform. It’s like feeding your body, you feel happy and satisfied.
“It’s hard to explain how I feel; I’ve been performing in park shows since I was a little kid, about 9 years old,” she said. “I guess I don’t remember exactly and will perform until I die, and I think I’ll live to be 100 or so.”
She even does a split in the show.
Cindy Trinder, 94, shows off her split skills as a member of the New Florida Follies. (Courtesy Cheryl Steinthal)
“A lot of people can do a split,” Trinder said. “I guess not at 94, so that’s the impressive part.”
She also sews. She wants to buy a garment and then redesign it.
“I change it, sometimes drastically,” Trinder said. “I like to design; this is fun. Sometimes I go to the gym and do yoga.”
The group ranges in age from 56 to 94, and donates their time and talent to help children in need. Each year, proceeds from ticket sales are donated to South Florida children’s charities. Since their inception (including when they were known as the original Florida Follies), they have raised over $825,000.
Hailing from Lake Worth to Miami, the cast includes former professional dancers such as the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, June Taylor dancers, NFL cheerleaders, Las Vegas and Latin Quarter showgirls, among others, and four men. Also featured in the 2023 show are the singing talents of Don Stansfield and Carolyn Smylie, and the illusions of magician Ian Michael.
The group practices Tuesday and Friday mornings at a dance studio in Coral Springs.
“Dancing keeps us young,” said Steinthal of Boynton Beach, who recently turned 68. “Everyone comes from very diverse backgrounds. People in their 80s slow down a little bit, but that’s why we ask people every year to join us.”
The group originated as Cathy Dooley’s Original Florida Follies in 2001 with a dozen dancers and one show, and the group disbanded when she left. Steinthal waited until she turned 60 to try out for the group and later became the New Florida Follies’ artistic director and choreographer.
“I wasn’t dancing anymore, but I thought it would be best to go back and start dancing again,” she said. “In 2015 I did my original show with the Original Florida Follies and Cathy announced she was retiring and in 2018 within a week we had a meeting and all the performers said they didn’t want to stop so we became New Florida Follies. The only year we haven’t done it was in 2020 when the pandemic hit.”
Their charities include Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center of Fort Lauderdale, Make-A-Wish South Florida and The Ukulele Kids Club, an organization that brings ukulele and music therapy to children in hospitals.
The New Florida Follies will play matinees in Boca Raton, Coconut Creek and Fort Lauderdale. (Courtesy Cheryl Steinthal)
“We want to help kids here in our area,” Steinthal said. “That is our main goal. We are a charity that gives back to our community to children in need, but at the same time we bring great joy and happiness to all our audience and inspire them to keep moving.
“We are the older generation taking care of the younger generation,” she said. “We are fully dancing and we continue to do this every year.”
Upcoming matinee performances are 2 p.m. at the Countess de Hoernle Theater at Spanish River Community High School, 5100 Jog Road, Boca Raton on Jan. 15, Feb. 5, March 19 and 26; Township Center for the Performing Arts, 2452 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, Jan. 29 and Feb. 26; and Lillian S. Wells Hall at The Parker, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 19.
Reserved seats are $35 at newfloridafollies.yapsody.com or 305-596-7394. Discounts are offered to groups of 25 or more.