Teen choreographers have big, Broadway dreams

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 3, 2010

NATCHEZ — Jessi Green and Sydney Eidt both have dreams of the big stage and have gotten a jump start in Natchez on a little stage.

The teenagers were co-choreographers of “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” dance in the Natchez Little Theatre’s production of “The King and I.”

Eidt, 14, plays the role of a royal princess and Topsy in the musical. She is the daughter of Art Eidt and Missi and Butch Johnson.

“I knew when I auditioned there would be choreography, but I didn’t know at that time I would be doing it,” Eidt said. “I guess I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.”

But she wasn’t unprepared. Eidt has been taking dance lessons since she was 2 years old from Natchez Ballet Academy.

For Green, choreographing the dance might be the first step to reaching her dream of being a Broadway dancer. Green is the daughter of Scott and Suzanne Green.

“My family is very musical, and we watch a lot of musicals,” she said. “When I watch them I pick up little things that I like, and that helped me to choreograph this dance.”

But getting the moves together was just the first part of the process. The girls then had to tackle teaching the dance to the rest of the dancers.

That for both girls was the biggest challenge. Eidt and Green worked together to choreograph the dance, but split the duties of teaching the dance to the other dancers.

“It is harder than I thought it would be to get other people to learn it,” Eidt said. “I guess I know it in my head, but it might not come as naturally to someone else.”

Both girls will be dancing in the dance as well.

Green said during rehearsals she has to stop herself from watching what the other cast members are doing.

“I know I know it so sometimes I catch myself watching out of the corner of my eye to see if they know it,” she said. “When we first started learning, it was frustrating when it wasn’t coming together.”

But now all the learning and teaching is behind them. The production opened Wednesday and continues through Sunday. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Both girls hope this is just the start of a career onstage.

“Being a Broadway dancer is my fantasy dream,” Green said. “My reality dream is to pursue photography, but if anyone gave me the chance to do dance, I’d jump at it.”

Eidt has her journey to the big stage all planned out.

She plans to complete her sophomore year at Cathedral High School before transferring to Mississippi School for the Arts in Brookhaven for her final two years of high school.

She then wants to attend the University of Southern Mississippi and UCLA to study performing arts and acting.

“This is my heart,” she said. “I love everything about it.”

Green agreed that to pursue a career or even a hobby in the performing arts you have to do it wholeheartedly.

“This is my happy place,” she said.