For David Rider, performing in the national touring company’s production of the Broadway hit "42nd Street" was the chance of a lifetime. But the 20-year-old hoofer from Hyde Park is not hanging his hopes on the kind of discovery that catapulted "42nd Street" ingenue character Peggy Sawyer to stardom.
He has a still higher calling in mind.
Last month, Rider enrolled in a seminary in Cheshire, Conn., to become a Catholic priest. He left behind a promising career as a professional tap dancer — Dance Spirit magazine recently named him one of its "20 Hot Tappers 20 and Under" — and David Rider’s World of Tap, the studio he founded (with his mom’s help) at the age of 16. It is a seemingly unlikely career twist, especially in an era when priestly ordinations continue to decline. After all, as Rider said, "The world I’m about to go into and the world I’m leaving are very different."
Still, he said, the decision was clear.
"I love the church, I love Catholicism," he said in an interview at his office. On his desk were a framed photograph of Gene Kelly, a small painting of Jesus and a plastic bottle of holy water. "I enjoy tap dancing."
…Growing up, he was a "lukewarm Catholic," Rider said. Masses were rare events and confessions even rarer. His parents, David and Kathy, a social worker and dietician, respectively, said they avoided doctrine.
"We’re children of the ’60s," Kathy Rider said. "We wanted to let them do their own thinking and draw their own conclusions."
The younger David said somehow he always sensed he would go on to become a priest. The turning point came in his junior year at Our Lady of Lourdes High School. He credits religion teacher Peter Lyons with helping him work through doubts that fogged his faith.
Then, "I was overcome by grace," he said.
Once he had fully committed to his faith, the priesthood seemed the only logical conclusion.
He kept his plans secret, enrolling at Fordham University in the Bronx to study theology. In November, he called his parents from the road to tell them he wanted to enroll in the seminary of the Legionaries of Christ as soon as he finished "42nd Street," after just one year of college. [Source]
Being that he is joining the Legionaries of Christ he will probably not be doing the theological tap dancing of dancing around theology so prevalent in the sixties and seventies and I doubt we will see the advent of liturgical tap dancing. Though the image of a priest tap dancing at the consecration for emphasis in lieu of having some chimes rung is pretty scary.