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Bearden theatre taps into talented student choreographers for ‘Anything Goes’

Aurora Silavong, News Editor

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All aboard the SS American: Bearden’s production of Anything Goes sets sail this week.

Much like last year’s Oklahoma!, Anything Goes features complex and extensive dance numbers. This time around, it’s tap dancing that’s tripping up the cast.

Tap dancing has presented a new set of challenges as many of the cast do not have formal dance training. Over the summer, a few students took it upon themselves to enroll in tap classes to prepare for their roles, but most of the training has come from two students: sophomores Natalie Duncan and Amilian Clemes.

Both girls boast backgrounds in dance. Duncan trains at the Tennessee Conservatory of Fine Arts, and Clemes studies at Knox Dance Worx.

Another asset they had was the fact they were part of the cast versus just being outside choreographers. Having roles in the musical allowed them to incorporate knowledge of the scenes and music into the choreography. It has also made them more accessible to their fellow actors, making it easier for them to answer questions and work closely on footwork.

“It’s good that they’re actually a part of the cast this year,” said senior Mallory McKinney, who plays the role of Reno Sweeney. “They know what each character wants and needs throughout the show and what to do in the dances to get that story across.”

Although it was a challenge, cast members believe that the dancing has brought them all closer together. The choreographers, especially, feel a sense of accomplishment. The cast has come a long way from stumbling through the easy steps.

“At the beginning, it was hard because there was a lot of people who hadn’t done shuffles before,” Clemes said. “But we just put on a whole musical with a lot of people who haven’t done dancing before.”

Added Duncan: “We were able to really know the cast and know their abilities. … We were really able to bounce off ideas with a lot of people, which was really great.”

Performances of Anything Goes are on Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday at 2:30. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $15 for reserved seating. Tickets can purchased in the cafeteria at lunch, at the door, or online at beardentheatre.com.

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Bearden theatre taps into talented student choreographers for ‘Anything Goes’