April 23, 2018
That’s Entertainment Performing Arts Competition is very much a family affair. Founders RoseMary and Joel Pontuck owned StarMaker Dance and Gymnastics studios in the New York metro area for 35 years. Joel was a gymnast, a Bronze Medalist in the NY Junior Olympics. RoseMary and Joel served as stage managers for National Tap Dance Day with Savion Glover and the Nicolas Brothers in the early 90s and worked with Honi Coles, Milt Hinton, Gregory Hines, and many other luminaries in the world of dance. Together they have produced more than 1,000 shows throughout their careers.
It was no surprise that daughter RoseMary Pontuck, Jr. (aka Roe), grew up, studied and taught in the family studio. She also studied dance at Talent Unlimited Performing Arts High School in Manhattan. Roe joined That’s Entertainment starting at the merchandise table, and eventually worked her way through every aspect of the business.
That’s Entertainment has a somewhat unusual origin story: the Pontucks were plunged unexpectedly into the competitive dance world in 1999 when they were registered to compete at Performance Plus National Finals at Cape May, NJ. Just before the Finals, the competition’s owner, their friend Kathy Foley, succumbed to cancer. The Pontucks pitched in with others to make sure the show went on, forming a partnership known as Dance Arts Plus. In 2007, Dance Arts Plus Performing Arts Competition ended, and That’s Entertainment was born. (A side note: the butterfly floats above the That’s Entertainment logo in memory of Kathy Foley—her favorite symbol.)
Now all three Pontucks head the organization: RoseMary Sr. is the company’s President, Roe is CEO, and Joel serves as Executive Producer. Roe’s partner Darrel Williams is Company Manager.
In addition to dance, That’s Entertainment includes a range of other performing arts categories, including Acro, Character/Musical Theatre & Acting, Instrumentalist, Modeling, and Vocal. The company has a new internship program that focuses on helping young performers expand their professional networks, preparing them for careers in the field.
That’s Entertainment also has a newly formed partnership with Spark Evolution, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness of social issues (Anti-Bullying, Anti-Violence, Racial Unity, Living with Disability, etc.) The nonprofit brings social awareness to all TE events & sponsors a Top Vocalist Award at That’s Entertainment Nationals. Winners are awarded with an original song and music video which are all social-issue based. Dancers who make the TE Elite Team also get to participate in these music videos.
Why is it important to be a part of The ADCC? “It’s great to be able to share information and best practices across the industry,” Roe Pontuck says. “And to be with people who understand your field.”
Roe points out that life itself is a competition, and that performing arts competitions teach young people important lessons about winning and losing. “You learn to take all types of criticism, learn from it, and move forward.” Asked what inspires her, she says: “I’m inspired by the kids—the way they work together, learn, and grow.”
Her advice to young dancers coming up is simple: “Stay focused on what you’re doing, not what others are doing. What you’re offering is just as good. It’s all about your personal experience, and what you want to bring into the world.”
Read more about That’s Entertainment at www.thatsentertainmentpa.com.