Bringing dance to life 

Tenacious teen brings Moulin Rouge to MY Place

What: Moulin Rouge, a dance production

Where: My Place

When: Dec. 19 & 20, 7:30 p.m.

I always wanted to be a dancer. Ever since I saw that beautiful girl in the ’80s hit Flashdance, with her big hair held down by a pink headband, her off the shoulder tracksuit and leg warmers. By day she was a poor welder in filthy overalls but by night she strutted her sequined stuff on stage, fighting a pack of bitches to get to the top.

Life in the Whistler Dance Academy isn’t like that though, said Moulin Rouge’s director and choreographer, Kathleen Duggan.

"We all really get along and have such a laugh together. The only down-side is that we can’t stop talking during rehearsals," she said.

Considering there’s 50 girls in this production, that’s a scary concept. But the tiresome team led by this tenacious teenager, has pulled off one almighty show.

Eighteen-year-old Kathleen finished school last year and decided to take some time off before going to university. That break has involved countless voluntary hours managing, arranging and training her fellow dancers in the academy in their very own production of the movie musical Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

Kidman’s character, Satine, is brought to life on stage by Duggan’s sister, Britney. Mcgregor’s character Christian, is performed by Jeff Waters. Kathleen’s dad, Mike, plays the role of nightclub owner Harold Ziddler, who narrates the story as it unfolds. Kathleen also has two other younger sisters in her cast of 40 dancers.

The girls will dance and lip-synch to the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge, something they have all been preparing for since August. Three to five hours a week they’ve been sweating away in the Meadow Park Sports Centre, practising their moves. For director Kathleen, it’s been a stressful process until this week.

"It’s been such a big job for me. When I started out I hadn’t really considered all the little things. I’d been freaking out a bit but I’m good now," she said.

"I’ve seen the show the whole way through now and the girls know their routines completely, I know they’re going to pull it off. I’m so excited."

Kathleen said ticket sales were strong for the local production but she hoped to have a full house by opening night.

"I’m hoping to break even on the cost of renting MY Place and Meadow Park but any extra would be icing on the cake and I’ll split it among all of us."

Catch the girls in their finest hour next Wednesday and Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9.75 for adults, $8 for teens and seniors and $5 for kids. Call the MY Place box office: 604-905-8306.

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