Dancing Outside DK
DK dancers Phillip Crawshaw, Jillian Godwin and Stuart Coleman are appearing in performances with other companies this summer. We wanted to catch up with them to hear how their expereinces there are going.
Artistic Director David Hochoy says, "DK dancers are known for their versatility and their ability to seem at home in a number of different styles of dance. Audience members are constantly saying to me, 'I didn't know they were such good actors!' It's healthy for our dancers to venture into new explorations of their talent and artistry, so I encourage them to pursue these opportunities. There is indeed no limit to the ever-expanding well of creativity and expression that dwells in all of us."
Phillip Crawshaw can be found playing a fork (and several other roles) in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Beef & Boards Dinner Theater.
Q: What has you experience been like, performing in Beauty and the Beast at B&B?
Phillip: Having eight shows a week is very different than what I am used to with DK, but getting a chance to perfect every detail and develop my character and performance is a challenge. At Beef and Boards, the audience is very close and intimate, so pulling them in is crucial. I've also enjoyed sharing the experience with my dance students - I love how their eyes grow when they see that their teacher can sing as well as dance.
Q: How/why is it good for DK dancers to perform elsewhere from time to time?
Phillip: I think it is great for any dancer to get out of the normal and try something completely different. David encouraged me to explore my artistic horizons and grow as a performer, and I'm glad I did! Sometimes we get stuck in our artistry and what we want out of our own career. I am grateful that I was able to be with Beef and Boards for a few shows and to grow from them. I never want to grow old and say "I wonder if..."
"What a bonus to have a proficient concert dancer as well as a musical theatre performer," said Ron Morgan, choreographer for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. "It's great to have versatile local performers that we can share with other professional companies."
See Phillip in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at Beef & Boards, now through July 10.
Jillian performs with Angel Burlesque throughout the season.
Q: Why do you dance burlesque/what does performing with them give you?
Jillian: Well I know that I'd never thought about burlesque until I saw some really amazing performances by Michelle L'amore and Ray Gunn out of Chicago. They were so sensual and sophisticated with their bodies and movements. I thought "Hey, I have a dance background. Let's see if I can do this." I'm so happy I did. It's such a different medium from classical dance and I get to set my own terms: what music, what moves, what I'm wearing. It allows me to be creative and crafty. It's not just about the big reveal at the end. It's about empowering woman and men of all shapes and sizes. Tearing down the media's view of what beauty is and redefining the human form.
Q: Do you have any upcoming burlesque gigs?
Jillian: My next burlesque gig will be for the 2016 IndyFringe Festival in August. We're doing our annual Nerdgasm for the festival this year so we can have a longer run. I will hopefully be creating a Yoda routine. Still on the fence about music choice.
Stuart is currently rehearsing Billy Elliott the Musical with BOBDIREX.
Q: What has you experience been like, working on Billy Elliott?
Stuart: I started performing at the age of six when I did every musical and play I could. It wasn't until my very early teens that I started taking dance lessons for the sole purpose of getting a "leg up" at musical theatre auditions, so this opportunity to get back to my theatrical roots has been very special. There is nothing like being in a musical, and anyone who has performed in one can attest to that fact. I wanted a chance to reconnect with that part of myself that I haven't gotten to express since 2010.
Q: How does dancing in this show differ from dancing with DK?
Stuart: Much of the DK repertoire is abstract (iconoGlass, Carmina Burana and COLE! to name a few). David Hochoy has taken ideas/themes and turned them into incredible dances on stage. Well, in Billy Elliot the Musical, there's nothing abstract about it. I know exactly who my character is and I have a responsibility as an actor in that scene or dance to keep the story moving forward. Not to mention I have to sing on top of the dancing that is required. David hasn't demanded that of me . . . yet.
Director/Producer Bob Harbin has this to say about Stuart: "Having Stu Coleman join the troupe of Billy Clubbers for Billy Elliot the Musical has been magical. Not only is he an excellent professional dancer with DK but also a great energy to have on stage. I certainly look to the future when more professional theatre groups share talent with each to elevate show quality."
See Stuart in Billy Elliott the Musical, June 24 - July 10 at Marian University.