Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From HEIDI's young choreographer


People might think the life of a young theatre apprentice would be daunting and, at times, overwhelming. But at Imagination Stage, the apprentice life is far from that! I am one of the five awesome apprentices here. We are a tight group of recent college graduates who get to experience the theatre world on many levels.

My current project: choreographing my first professional children’s theatre show--the world premiere musical Heidi! This seems ridiculous considering I am “only an apprentice”, but that is the beauty of this program. If the staff sees you have a passion for something and you want to try your skills, they will try to provide the opportunity. I have a background in dance and choreography, so getting the chance to have my work seen by thousands over the course of Heidi’s 7-week run is invigorating!

The first rehearsal was nerve-wracking. I am NOT the type of person to get nervous in social situations. I am extremely outgoing, and love meeting new people… but I was scared out of my mind for this rehearsal. I would have to command the attention of 8 professional actors. This required a new perspective; this is the big time… we aren’t in Kansas anymore.

I realized I could shake the nerves when Janet, our Artistic Director at Imagination Stage and the Director of Heidi, began what I like to call “our cohesive creative process.” Choreography in a show that does not have huge dance numbers becomes an intriguing project to tackle. The choreographer must make the movement true to the director’s vision of a piece, or even of a specific actor. So that is where the cohesiveness comes into play. I teach the choreography, and then Janet and I work together to critique the movement based on the story and what needs to be told. A hug reads differently than a curtsy, a repeated rhythm can establish tranquility, and a girl in a wheelchair CAN dance, even if she can’t move her legs. During tech week, I finally got to see my work on the stage on which it was meant to be performed. We made adjustments, which is all part of the process. I can only hope the movement brings light to the play, and that the performance inspires people to look at life from all perspectives: a grandfather, a child--even an apprentice. If you would like to see my work, come see our new musical Heidi!

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