If you Google the original Broadway production of "Camelot," which ran from 1960 to 1963, in addition to Julie Andrews and Richard Burton, you'll find the list of supporting dancers. About halfway through the list, is the name Gene GeBauer.
The Oregon-raised dancer took a chance around 1959 and left his small hometown for fame and fortune in the Big Apple. GeBauer found a measure of fame and fortune in New York; enough, he said, to live in a decent apartment and still pay for voice and acting lessons.
Today, at 76, GeBauer is still doing what he loves -- teaching tap dance lessons at Broomfield's Taps 'N Toes dance studio, reminiscing about his career on Broadway and looking toward a future that includes as much dancing as he can handle.
Jill Taga, owner of Taps 'N Toes, said GeBauer is a mentor to students.
"He is well-known in the dance world," she said. "He is such a gentleman. Everyone that's around him loves him."
Because of his solid career and gift for teaching, GeBauer this month will be honored at the St. Louis Tap Festival in St. Louis, Mo. According to the tap festival's Web site, the awards ceremony is a "means of preserving and documenting excellence in the field of tap."
GeBauer was a trained tap dancer as a child, but said the field lost popularity as he grew to be a teenager. His desire to perform on stage was powerful, however, so he began training in ballet.
"I became a ballet dancer at 18. I was about 10 years too late. I should have been polished at 18," he said.
But he was committed and worked "really, really hard," and made it to New York at age 24. At that time, many auditioning ballet dancers were as young as 16 and performing solos by 20.
Tap had lost its appeal. New choreographers, such as Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd and Gower Champion, were more interested in forms of jazz and modern dance.
"If you were well-trained in ballet, you could find work and learn more by being in shows," GeBauer said.
So, he turned his attention to Broadway and found work. His first job was as a replacement in "Once Upon a Mattress" starring Carol Burnett. It was Burnett's big break he said, but it also was a great opportunity for him.
Next, he danced in "Camelot." While it was a huge thrill, he said it was also frightening because he wasn't sure what was expected of him.
He acted anywhere someone would hire him, but a friend and choreographer asked him to audition for a dancing role in "Sugar," the musical remake of Marilyn Monroe's "Some Like it Hot."
"That was 1973. That was my last musical," he said.
At age 57, GeBauer started teaching tap dancing, and eventually found himself in Broomfield at Taps 'N Toes, teaching older teens and adults the activity he loves so much.
"Ballet and jazz were too hard on my body. But you can tap for a long time if you're careful," he said. "I miss ballet. I was able to fly around the room, and it's sad that I can't anymore."
As for his future, GeBauer said he is going to teach until he can't get to the studio anymore.
"I'm still shy and have fear," he said. "But I'm not so neurotic anymore, and I'm not so dumb."