In early November, guest choreographer Kim Schafer visited SBS for Beauty and the Beast choreography week. Ms. Schafer works in New York City and has performed and choreographed shows at all levels across the country. Students who performed in Oklahoma! remembered her from when she choreographed that show two years ago. They recalled her decisive direction and warm spirit. Caroline Bolling ‘21 described how helpful Ms. Schafer’s guidance was, “Kim was an amazing teacher! She encouraged us to ask questions and answered them without hesitation. She taught the hardest parts of the show first, so we ended on the easier parts, which helped us memorize better. Since she works on Broadway, she had so many new ideas and impressive dances for us.”
Kim worked with students on all the major numbers of the show, including “Be Our Guest,” “Gaston,” and “Human Again,” giving individualized instruction and planning out staging. Her expertise really showed as she helped students bring their character personalities to their dancing, and helped them think through how their elaborate costumes will affect the choreography.
Zack Decker ‘21, who will play the role of Lumiere, was especially appreciative saying, “Kim is very passionate about what she does, which helped us enjoy the process of learning the choreography. She also helped us create unique ensemble moments where the cast was able to add their own characterization to their dancing.”
The energy during rehearsals was fast-paced, as she had students run pieces over and over, helping them memorize all the intricacies of each scene. She handed out encouragement and instructions left and right, keeping the students engaged and keeping attitudes positive.
Director of Arts Cindy Blades explained how important this visit was saying, “Giving our theatre students an opportunity to learn from a nationally recognized choreographer helps broaden their horizons and perspectives, and it helps them push themselves to be better. The bar is set by someone who does this for a living, and that forces students to try even harder to accomplish all that they are able.”
As opening night in February draws near, these hard-working students will be busy memorizing lines and perfecting their dances, and Ms. Schafer’s special touch is sure to make it an unforgettable show!