JEANNE DESILVA of The Golden Follies performance group gets help with her costume.
JEANNE DESILVA of The Golden Follies performance group gets help with her costume. (MIKE LUCIA Staff photos)
HAYWARD — Choreographer Susan Bostwick trims some beads from a dancer's headdress so it frames her face perfectly in preparation for one of the Golden Follies' final dress rehearsals.

A moment later, the dancer, Jeanne Desilva takes the floor with a half-dozen other ladies in two-foot-tall turquoise-blue boa hats. The Golden Follies — a fast-paced, high-energy Las Vegas-style revue featuring senior performers ages 55 to 83 — taps through the score of patriotic songs in high heels with sequins and sass.

Desilva of Manteca started taking tap dance lessons after she retired.

"I didn't want to sit at home, and felt I should do something active," she said.

Desilva joined The Golden Follies and happened to reunite with several fellow graduates from Oakland's Fremont High School class of 1947. Desilva, Natalie Vukmirovich-Conkel of San Lorenzo, Mary Jo Henninger of San Leandro and Pat Cosma of Hayward have been

dancing together in the revue for 18 years.

"Now we're big girls with tutus," Henninger said.

The 50 Golden Follies dancers are bringing their all-new original revue to Chabot College on Sunday. The show also features The Starr Steppers from Rossmoor in Walnut Creek, some 35 Red Hatters, a dance team in their 20s, and vocalists Paulette ReNee and Rick Ellis.

Henninger says choreographers Bostwick and her sister Diane Tembey-Stawicki "give us the rules at the beginning" so the show stays top of the line.

"We're trainable," she jokes.

Tembey-Stawicki and Bostwick have been producing dance shows their entire lives from Reno to Mexico, 10 years on Princess Cruises and with circuses internationally. They have danced with Wayne Newton, Robert Goulet, the Pointer Sisters, Jimmy Dean and the rock band KISS.

"We do all our own concepts and choreography," Bostwick said.

The sisters started dancing in the San Leandro and Oakland studios of their mother, Margo Tembey, who still manages the business side of The Golden Follies.

The upcoming show will feature four acts: 42nd Street, A Tribute to Women, Guys and Dolls, and, at the end, a salute to America.

With her fake eyelashes just starting to peel off after a half-dozen costume changes and two hours of rehearsals, 83-year-old Marie Mazza, said, "I love (The Golden Follies). It's the best thing that's ever happened to me."

The San Leandro resident and great-great-grandmother was retired three years before she started her first dance lesson.

"If you have a mom or aunt, get them out here," she added. "You can't help but move when you hear the music and smile."