Theatre department ‘moves forward’ with production

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Clarion University’s theatre department will present “Moving Forward: A Dance Theatre Production” this Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 at 8 p.m. in the Marwick Boyd Auditorium. Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for children 12 and under and free for Clarion University students with a valid student ID.

The company rehearses the opening number of "Moving Forward: A Dance Theatre Production.:
The company rehearses the opening number of “Moving Forward: A Dance Theatre Production.:

Dance instructor Drew Leigh Williams is the creator, director and choreographer of this week’s theatre production. Williams graduated from Clarion University in 2008 with a BFA in Musical Theatre. She began working as a professor at Clarion last August.
“I bring the base of being a professional actor to my dance teachings, because in the real world, while a grand battement to the sky is gorgeous, what’s more important is the believability of the character and their ability to communicate through the steps and body,” Williams said.
Williams got the idea for “Moving Forward” after listening to the Hans Zimmer instrumental, “Time.” The production looks at how a city’s residents respond after a major catastrophe strikes.
“’Moving Forward: A Dance Theatre Production,’ depicts characters, their stories and struggles, but tells it all solely through movement and dance. We’ve incorporated technology like film and photography to assist in telling the story, and our amazing lighting and costume teams support the characters and their journeys throughout the piece,” Williams said.
Williams began developing the production in November after hearing “Time.” Rehearsals began in late January, and the cast and crew have been constantly working on it ever since. The theme of the production is “The End is the Beginning.”
“People can expect to see a production, a little over an hour, run nonstop with no intermission. They can expect to see a cast of 19, sharing with us their obstacles and triumphs….We have over 30 students involved—a mix of majors and non-majors, and of course, theatre faculty supervises and mentors the processes in the lighting design and costume designs,” Williams said.
Numerous considerations went into “Moving Forward,” including costuming.
“The costumes have been designed and some even built, by two students, Payge Crock and David Matthews, with supervision by Myra Bullington. I wanted to keep the costumes as realistic as possible, showing different status and occupation within a city while clearly identifying the play’s protagonist and antagonists,” Williams said.
Williams wanted to create her production in order to bring something new to the theatre scene.
“A production like this has never been done before, which is why I had the itch to create something new. I did it because I wanted the students to experience what happens when we can no longer express ourselves through text or a song.”
Williams’ dedication to her craft has touched her students and inspired them to get to the root of their characters.
Senior Jack O’Keeffe plays the role of “He” in the production. As part of Williams’ class, Musical Theatre Dance Technique I, O’Keeffe and his classmates elected to take part in “Moving Forward.”
“There’s a number I have halfway through the show with the actress who plays “She,” just the two of us. She does most of the dancing, but it’s such a moving and beautiful piece and to be a part of a piece that is truly beautiful is an absolutely wonderful, unforgettable experience,” O’Keeffe said.
Senior Hayley Bowders plays the part of a young woman in “Moving Forward.” Bowders took the same class as O’Keeffe and auditioned as well.
“My favorite [moment] has been working…on the smaller numbers, and understanding the motives behind each character.  It’s not just learning the moves, it’s about telling the story through dance,” Bowders said.
For more information on “Moving Forward: A Dance Theatre Production,” call (814)-393-2787 or visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_facebook type=”standard”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_tweetmeme type=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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