Dance journey moves on

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By Mick Jensen

Aspiring dance school owner Jessie Thomson is loving her involvement in Ashburton Variety Theatre’s production of The Addams Family and is learning some new moves along the way.

The talented dancer is the show’s choreographer and is working alongside director Regan Jackson and musical director Ella Thomas to ensure that the moves on stage match the script, set, costumes and props.

Jessie is just 19-years old and is a former Ashburton College student.

She began dancing with local teacher Charmaine Quaid at age three and is currently studying to be a dance teacher herself.

She also teaches at Dance Worx Ashburton and works part-time as a nanny.

“I dream of being like Charmaine, if I’m honest. I’d love to run my own dance studio one day,” she said.

Being involved with Variety Theatre was another step in the right direction and a great way to meet talented directors and performers and also to learn new things.

“I was the choreographer on Oliver last year, and I’ve performed in three shows myself – Joseph, Salute To Broadway and Not Just The Boys – and I just love being involved.

“I’ve already learnt to dance the tango for this show by watching You Tube videos and practising and now I’m helping performers master the moves.”

Jessie will work mostly with the 10 “ancestors” in the show, two men and eight women.

She describes the production as “hilarious, quirky and very entertaining”.

Performers were developing their moves well and rehearsals were fun, she said.

“I do crack the whip when I need to and I’ve even been told that I do have a grumpy voice at times, but that’s OK.”

With six weeks to go until the first show, actors still had a lot of work to do, said Jessie.

“I do miss the performance side a bit, and I still get nervous before shows, but I’m loving this whole production experience.”

Seven shows of The Addams Family will be performed at Ashburton Trust Event Centre between May 20-27.