Charlotte is a 21 year-old, living in a city that has totally stolen her heart.
A senior Performing Arts and Social Justice major at the University of San Francisco, she has chosen emphasis in dance and theater. In addition to her classes, she is the Executive Producer of the College Players, the longest lasting student-run theater company west of the Mississippi River. She is working on creating her senior thesis performance while also choreographing the College Players’ production of Love’s Labour’s Lost that they will be putting up at the end of February.
She grew up in many towns across Arizona, Colorado, and southern California, and when asked where her love for dance began, she answered, “like everyone else: alone, in my room, to the soundtrack of CATS the musical.” Her training in dance however, did not start as early as one might expect based on her talent now. “I never took dance classes due to moving around so frequently,” she told us. Most of her training came as a result from her long career in gymnastics. She began gymnastics in 2004, and was a competitive gymnast from 2006-2010.
“Choreographing gymnastics floor routines was actually how I began choreographing in the first place. It wasn’t until 2014 that I choreographed my first musical, Little Shop of Horrors, for the College Players as USF. It was then that I realized what I wanted to do. Choreographing musical theater is silly and fun and is probably my favorite form of creating. While some may feel limited by the music or intimidated by previous choreographers, I find it thrilling to get to create something new out of something that someone has already done. The most recent musical I choreographed, Rent, for the players in 2015, was what I would consider my most creative work. I have to give credit to the director obviously, for giving me the space to make some major choices in terms of dance but together we created a show that I will forever be proud of.”
We also spoke with her about the struggles that come from pursuing a creative path in life. “Not being a classically trained dancer is something that I struggle with constantly. And it’s a very personal thing,” she confessed. “I feel like I am constantly trying to (mentally and physically) keep up and catch up so I can be a ‘successful artist.’ Whatever that means.” While she knows that only she can define her own success, she still spends a lot of time trying to make up for the years she wasn’t learning.
Throught the ups and downs, her biggest inspiration will always remain her mom. “She’s my number one fan, always. So even in tough times, I have that going for me,” she joked. Other inspirations include movement from Gene Kelley and Sonya Tayeh, two choreographers whose style are pretty different, but when combined “it’s like classic musical theatre movement with a flare of cheekiness” as well as Michael Jenkinson who she describes as “not a household name, but definitely the first choreographer whose work made me want to do what I do.” Michael directs and choreographs musical theater at the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts on the central coast, and she considers him to be her personal hometown hero.
She is hoping to take her passion for dance “out of town.” She would love to move to New York or some place on the east coast to work with musical theater in all aspects, not limiting herself to just choreography.
“I’d like to tap into the creation of musicals so I can contribute some new ideas that I think would be great.”
She also hopes to eventually make it to Israel to dance her favorite style, Gaga, in Tel Aviv where it originated. She is even learning Hebrew in hopes that she could speak with the locals. For the grand future however, her biggest hope is simply to continue to make her own art- about topics that she cares about and with the people she loves.
Charlotte uses social media to show her work and to stay connected and updated with other artists, dancers, directors, actors, especially “to see what sort of work is being created in the cities I live in.” If you are interested in the arts, and particularly dance, join Boomcast to see more of Charlotte’s choreography, as well as art from creative people around the world.
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