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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

December 10, 2008

Choreographing Christmas Carol by Resident Actors Michael Lasris and Sarah Claire Smith

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 5:22 pm

When we learned that we were to choreograph A Christmas Carol, we were thrilled! Having both worked previously as choreographers and co-choreographers, we knew that the first step in choreographing was to…. well….  actually, we just kind of jumped right into it. Having worked together closely over the past few months, we were comfortable and confident with each other as dancers and we were ready to conquer the world of joint-choreography. The music Wendell Smith so brilliantly constructed really made the process easy for us as ideas flooded our minds just from listening to the songs. In order to make the 2 main dances (“Dancing Day” and “Three Ships”) different, we chose to follow the patterns of circles and lines, respectively. Also taking into account the time period and costuming, we tried to re-create “period” dances accurately.

Perhaps our biggest inspiration came from an experience earlier in our contract: contra dancing. Contra dancing, which is a mixture of line dancing, square dancing, and folk dancing, may not seem like fun, but trust us—it’s GREAT time! We went to a local contra dancing event in August and loved our time there! When we found out we were choreographing some large group numbers, we knew that our experience with contra dancing, although limited, was incredibly helpful.

We were very lucky to have such a delightful and easy-to-work-with group of dancers. Sometimes the choreography can be great, but the execution is lacking. But, for this show, we were very happy with the dancers’ performances and were glad to see all of our choreographic ideas come to life with no struggle or problems. Also, we enjoyed teaching the dances and dancing them ourselves.

We hope you enjoy the show and leave with a revived sense of Christmas spirit and a new found jolly spring in your step!


(The cast of Christmas Carol dancing at Fred and Caroline’s house)


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