Craze Dance will re-imagine the familiar tale of Pocahontas as they explore the native American’s spiritual journey and connection to the land in their most challenging production yet.
Around 100 dancers aged 6-18 will perform the much-loved tale, with another 120 aged 3-18 to take to the stage for the dance showcase.
Kaylee Harding grew up with a deep love for the Disney classic and was thrilled to be cast in the lead role.
“I might have screamed. I really wanted her as a role,” she said.
“You take on your character.” She said she tried to incorporate Pocahontas’ love for nature and the good things in life into her movements.
Alex Jeffery will bring her knowledge of traditional Aboriginal dancing to her role as Grandmother Willow.
“I like to put that into how I want to pursue my character,” she said.
“I was Pocahontas’ grandmother, and then my spirit comes back through the tree,” Alex explained. Her character shares her wisdom with the title character, acting as Pocahontas’ guide.
Although she was reluctant to label herself as wise, Alex said as the oldest dancer in the studio, she did relate to the tree spirit’s mothering role.
“I really like my role. I like being a spirit,” she said.
Both girls embraced the chance to take on a completely different production to last year’s Rise of the Guardians-inspired performance.
“I always choose my productions depending on my senior students,” teacher Laura King said.
“Having Kaylee as quite a princess and Alex as a very earthy dancer, it just fit the parts really well. I also love the story behind Pocahontas, and about saving the earth.”
Named ‘Earth Dreamer’ for its focus on Pocahontas’ connection to the land instead of the romantic tale more often told; Craze’s production will have no dialogue, relying completely on the dancers’ story-telling ability.
“You definitely have to tell a story through your movements, which is really interesting,” Kaylee said.
“As a dancer, I always aim to tell a story that the audience can connect with on stage.”
Laura said removing the dialogue helped the young dancers refine both their movements and their understanding of the characters they played.
“Instead of relying on the character words, they’ve got to use their dance and they’ve got to become that person more for the audience to understand it,” she said.
Laura said it was a big week for the youngsters, who were able to see to workload of professional dancers through the experience; and said they thrive. Along with “a handful of amazing parents”, Carol King is creating a variety of unique costumes for the performances.
Earth Dreamer will be held at the Town Hall from 6.30pm this Friday, August 10 and at 2pm and 6.30pm this Saturday, August 11.
The cost is $15 for adults, $12 for concession and $45 a family for the matinee and $20 for adults, $15 concession and $60 a family for the evening performances. Tickets are available at the Craze Dance Wear shop.