Kristen Norris, of Berlin, was recently named Resident Choreographer for Connecticut Theatre Company, now in its second season in residence at the historic Repertory Theatre in New Britain. CTC has quickly built a reputation for producing high-quality shows using local talent. The company typically does one play and four musicals each season. These musicals are packed with wonderful singing and dancing, so the organization had great need of a highly skilled choreographer to come in and take the reins teaching all the volunteer actors. Norris states, “CTC is such a welcoming place. I come through the doors and feel loved. The entire staff is open to new ideas and suggestions, bringing about truly collaborative and creative shows.”
Norris trained and danced competitively for thirteen years and has served as Dance Captain for many competitive routines and musicals. Most recently she worked on choreography for The Wizard of Oz, The Christmas Schooner, and Gypsy, all with Connecticut Theatre Company. Norris is currently choreographing Hairspray, her first full show, at CTC. Hairspray, opening on May 15th, has 24 different dance numbers in it, so it has been a big undertaking.
Norris shared that her success with choreography for musicals is due partly to understanding how to read music. When she sits down to put a dance together, she always has her libretto turned to the sheet music for that song. This helps her match movements with the rhythms that the dancers will be singing, and aids her in creating movement that highlights interesting bits of the score.
When asked what plans she has for the upcoming season with Connecticut Theatre Company, Norris states, “I would love to do some dance workshops with CTC this season; a Beginner Tap class, an Intermediate Tap class, and an audition workshop for White Christmas. I am also looking forward to working on the Kids Camp we’re doing this summer. I have several years of professional experience working with children in various settings, so I’m very excited to bring two of my passions together at CTC.”
Executive Director Duane Campbell advised, “It was a unanimous vote from the board to appoint Kristen to this position. She has a great dedication to the arts and to the communities of Central Connecticut and we are so happy to have her on board.” Connecticut Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray runs from May 15th to May 31st. Tickets are available online at www.ConnecticutTheatreCompany.org.