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Alexis Spangler, Scene Editor

 

In the words of Jack Kelly, “there is change coming once and for all.” This spring, Hoover will be performing the award-winning show “Newsies” with the help of a new choreographer Molly Weidig.

Last year, several Hoover students performed in “Newsies” at the Player’s Guild Theatre and mentioned Weidig to Hoover choir director Mrs. Mindy Whitesmith, and she was intrigued. After seeing the show, she knew Weidig’s choreography was exactly what she was looking for.

When Whitesmith reached out to her, Weidig was thrilled to be a part of the show and to work with the students.

“I was ecstatic,” she said. “I love the show and can’t wait to work with everyone.”

Weidig has been dancing for 25 years and choreographing ever since she can remember. It had always been a dream of hers to open her own dance studio. Three years ago, with the help of a few friends, she opened Inspire Performing Arts Center. She opened the dance studio to help empower herself and other students.

“[Inspire] came at a time when I was feeling a bit defeated by the theater and dance industry,” Weidig said. “I had just returned from New York, and after reflecting upon my time as a student and performer, wasn’t entirely happy with the teaching techniques and environments I had been exposed to over the years. I wanted to create a place where students could feel safe, supported and empowered.”

At Inspire, Weidig teaches a wide variety of classes. It is clear dance and performing is where her passion lies.

“I tend to live mostly in the jazz/tap/musical theater world, but also enjoy contemporary and lyrical,” Weidig said. “Ultimately, I love using dance to tell a story or convey emotion when words just aren’t enough.”

Choreographing musicals is different than teaching regular classes. In most dance classes, Weidig has an entire year to teach and grow her students, while creating a relationship with each dancer. In a musical, you do not always get that.

“A regular dance class has the luxury of time,” she said. “We study an entire year to perform one recital routine, which allows us to spend a significant amount of time on fundamentals and technique. When choreographing a show, we have a lot to accomplish in an abbreviated amount of time, so the focus needs to be on the choreography at hand and working together as a team to tell the audience a story.”

Creating choreography for a musical is different for every choreographer. Some go into a show with most of the dances done, while some go in blind, Weidig has her own creative process.

“After watching the show and reading the script, I sit down and make a road map of the entire show deciding how to use choreography to effectively tell the story and which scenes will require the most rehearsal time,” Weidig said. “I choreograph in order of the most challenging dance numbers to the least. That way we can complete the most dance-heavy scenes in ample time to clean and get everything performance ready.”

After choreographing “Newsies” at the Players Guild last year, Weidig has an idea of what she wants, but what it comes down to is the cast. During auditions, she watches the students to find out what the cast is strongest in and tries to display their strengths.

“When I choreograph, I always try to capture the personality and dynamic of the cast,” she said. “I will try my best to create something that will best serve the story and highlight the talents of the cast.”

Each school Weidig choreographs is different, but one thing that stays the same is the joy that comes along with music, dance, and theater. With each school she works with, new memories and new relationships are formed.

“It is incredibly rewarding to watch students learn and grow as performers and people throughout the course of the rehearsal process,” Weidig said. “Seeing all of the hard work, determination and dedication pay off during the final curtain call is something so special.”

Weidig is eager to begin on the show and can’t wait to work with the students. After working with a few Hoover kids previously, she is excited to see the enthusiasm and dedication that she knows Hoover can bring.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with Hoover students in past productions and at my studio,” she said. “Their hard work, determination, focus and passion never ceases to amaze me.”

Hoover junior Mary Kreidler takes tap with Weidig and loves her teaching style. Kreidler finds her bright and positive attitude calming while dancing.

“She is so positive,” Kreidler said. “In her class, we aren’t allowed to be negative. She just makes me feel good.”

With her positive and empowering approach and her commitment to excellence, Molly Weidig’s passion for performing will shine through to Hoover’s stage this spring. One thing is for certain: great things are coming. Be sure to “Watch What Happens.”