InBocca choreographers and challenging dancers
We’ve had several choreographers over the years and they’ve been very important to our process.
For almost 13 years, Mariann Metzner was our choreographer from the time we were in the back yard up through Into The Woods. Her kids were in the shows and that was a very important relationship.
As a director, I work collaboratively pretty much 100% of the time. I always want other people’s eyes on what I’m doing because I’m pretty sure that there’s always more that I’m missing that could be part of the bigger picture and the aesthetic image that we’re putting on stage.
My point being, when I talk about the choreographer as somebody who is really important, it’s because in many ways they’re like another form of the director. Their outside eye is very important. For years, Mariann was one of those outside eyes.
The past two years, we’ve worked with Jessica Hughes as our choreographer. She teaches dance locally. She has pushed our dancers to do some challenging, yet exciting dance. To me, that is actually the draw for some of our dancers to working with us.
Some area dance companies work the kids harder than others. We tend to attract kids who want to do more. They may not being fed or pushed in the way they want to be fed or pushed right now, whether that’s from their drama teacher, math teacher, dance instructor, parents, or whatever.
What Jessica does, in many ways, helps push those girls who really want to be pushed hard, and challenges them to their limit. Jessica comes in and answers that call for them. That’s important because that’s how we want to work as well. I think that’s why a lot of our performers want to do theater with us. We ask them to do things that are a little scary and, for that reason, very exciting.
For example, we have one girl who is in numerous photos and you’ll see her face over and over again: dancer Emily Kemp. She loves doing theater, but she comes to us because no one is kicking her butt like that until she comes and works with us. She’s 14 and that makes her so happy to have somebody be willing to say, “No, you can do acro-dance. You’re mad because this is too easy or because this is too hard and you need to be pushed into that place more.”