Seventy-five dancers, 20 numbers, three performances. And the whole time you'll be in awe or just saying "aww" because these dancers are just so darn cute — and good.

It's time for "Kick It Out … With Love," when professional contemporary dance company Of Moving Colors stages a show and brings in youngsters from the community to dance a few numbers.

The three performances are scheduled Jan. 26-27 at the Manship Theatre.

"We'll have about 20 numbers, but they're short numbers for the kids," says company dancer and choreographer Courtney Landry, who is in charge of this year's show. "They wouldn't be able to last through the longer numbers that the company dancers do."

In all, the youngsters will perform five numbers, and members of the dance company will dazzle (dare we say, awe) you with the rest.

When it comes to that many kids onstage, Renita Williams Thomas admits she had her doubts about it all coming together, but she's seen it happen.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Kay-Li "Sissy" Thomas, was in last year's show and is back for another turn on the stage.

"There were some days when things just weren't working, and I thought, 'This isn't going to work,' ” Renita Thomas says. "But then on opening night, it was like magic. The curtain opened, and every dance happened the way it was supposed to."

This year, Landry has made a few subtle changes to the show, including the addition of more contemporary dance steps. Her biggest job, though, is coordinating rehearsals for some 75 dancers between ages 4 and 20.

The cast has been rehearsing on Sundays since October, and Landry chose the music, giving choreographers free rein in creating the dances.

Renita Thomas says she didn't hesitate to sign up her daughter for a second year. Dancing, she says, has taught Kay-Li a different way of thinking.

"Kay-Li is dyslexic, which affects how she learns," Renita Thomas says. "Dyslexics are auditory — they hear, and they give back. Dancing with Of Moving Colors has helped her in her learning process."

It's also given Kay-Li a chance to dance with her 7-year-old nephew Kamrin. That's right, there's only a year's difference between her and her nephew.

"I adopted Kay-Li," Renita Thomas says, "and Kamrin is my grown daughter Kori's son."

"This is Kamrin's second year dancing in 'Kick It Out,' too," Kori Thomas adds. "And he and Kay-Li are best friends. He loves being a part of this group, and he looks forward to doing this with Kay-Li."

"Kick It Out" also is a family affair for company dancer and choreographer Bethany Jones McCullough and her daughters, 6-year-old Eleanor and 4-year-old Genevieve.

McCullough is in charge of the 4- to 6-year-old dancers this year, and both daughters are performing her choreography.

"Dancing has been my passion since I was was a child," she says. "Now, as a mom and a teacher, I feel that dance has come full circle for me."

Both daughters have danced in "Kick It Out," but this year's show is a little more special.

"They're in the same group, and they're dancing together," McCullough says. "Eleanor will move up to the next group next year, but this year, we're all together, and we're having so much fun."


Kick It Out … With Love

Of Moving Colors' annual community production

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27.

WHERE: Manship Theatre in the Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St.

TICKETS/INFO: $23.50-$35. (225) 344-0334 or manshiptheatre.org

Follow Robin Miller on Twitter, @rmillerbr.