Concordia dance studio brings the Grinch to life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

FERRIDAY — This weekend, audience members will be seeing green at Ferriday’s Arcade Theater.

After months of weekend practices and continued weekly dance lessons, Concordia Parish Dance Studio students will be presenting Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” to holiday crowds.

And according to Director Leslie Keahey, this production is like nothing the studio has ever done before.

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“We’ve taken the basic story line and the music from the Jim Carrey Grinch and choreographed the dances, and it’s telling the story,” Keahey said.

Keahey, who has taught dance for 28 years, said this performance is different from those in years past because of the incorporation of dialogue, sound clips and different forms of dance.

“I think its more theatrical,” Keahey said. “There is more acting in it. The Grinch has a lot of dialogue, and she’s had to practice miming.

“It’s a variety of dancing. It’s not just ballet, it’s not just jazz. It’s like lyrical jazz. And it’s entertaining — I’ll guarantee you that.”

The staging and the choreography within the show was done by Keahey and her daughter, Brittney, 23, who is a second-generation Twin City Ballet Company dancer.

Keahey said this performance is not one all of her students will participate in.

“It’s the performing group for the studio. These girls come in the summer and they learn all their dances and practice on the weekends to do the party scenes and acting,” Keahey said.

For dancer Victoria Kirby, 16, the summer rehearsals are what makes this production special for her.

“It’s something I had to work hard for,” Kirby said. “You had to come in the summer and if you didn’t you couldn’t be in (the production).”

Kirby, who is a home-schooled student, has a full schedule between her academic and dancing careers.

Every day, she has morning classes, and at 2 or 3 p.m., goes to teach dance — jazz, ballet and hip hop classes — with Keahey at the studio.

During Wednesday night’s dress rehearsal, Keahey and 34 other dancers put their costumes on for one final run through of the performance.

Haylee Clark, 18, donned all green and took the stage as the Grinch for her last practice before the weekend’s performances.

Clark, a senior at Vidalia High School, has been dancing for 10 years, and Sunday night’s performance not only marks her first time as a leading role, but also her last Christmas performance with the studio.

“It really is sad that this is my last year to dance because I really love it,” Clark said.

Clark said this year has been a challenge with her senior workload at school and juggling her dancing career.

“This year, academically, it’s been kind of hard because we’re always having to write papers and take exams,” Clark said. “I’m nonstop busy. I’m always doing something.”

Clark said she is planning on going to LSU and hopes to dance on either the Tiger Girl or Golden Girl dance team.

“I could never imagine not dancing. I’ve been doing it so long that it would be crazy not to have it to do every week,” Clark said.

Keahey said she was proud of Clark and her portrayal of the Grinch, and hopes to see the senior dancer on a dance team at LSU.

“She’s a beautiful dancer, but she’s really shy. She’s really had to come out of her shell for this performance. We’re really proud of her,” Keahey said.

With all the hours of dancing her students have put into the show, Keahey said she hopes to see the Arcade packed this weekend.

“The girls have worked diligently since the summer, and it’s going to be a very entertaining show,” Keahey said. “I’m sure (audience members) won’t be disappointed for coming and that they will be thoroughly entertained.”

“The Grinch” will be presented at the Arcade Theater at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets cost $5 at the door.