Going round again on Carousel
MUSIC theatre choreographer Cameron Mitchell feels the same buzz watching other people dance his steps as when he used to receive applause after his own performance.
Raised in Adelaide, a fouryear-old Mitchell began dance classes after bopping around his grandmother’s living room to The Best of Abba.
“I taught myself how to put the record on and they realised I liked to dance,” Mitchell said.
“My dad always wanted to be a tap dancer when he was a kid but was never given the opportunity, so it was a combination of those two things.”
At nine he was bitten by the music theatre bug when his mum took him to see his first professional musical, The Sound of Music.
“I was absolutely agog by it,” he said.
“I read an article in the paper that said The Sound of Music producers were putting on Oliver. I took it to my parents and said I was going to be in that. I heard my mother ask ‘Can he even sing?’ and I said ‘I beg your pardon’.
“So we went to the cattle call audition and I got in. And then I was hooked by the whole world of music theatre.”
Since then he has performed in Chicago, West Side Story and Hot Shoe Shuffle, choreographed for Caroline O’Connor and girl groups including
Bardot and his work was featured on TV show So You Think You Can Dance.
Now living in Sydney, Mitchell has been invited as guest choreographer through the McCusker Charitable Foundation to work on WAAPA’s mid-year musical Carousel, directed by Jason Langley and starring second and third-year music students at Regal Theatre.
Langley has chosen to update the setting, changing it from the traditional 1870s to 1969.
“He has set it against the Vietnam War for a returned soldier in the lead role,” Mitchell said.
Taking place in the US fishing town of Maine, Carousel follows the story of a soldier returned from the Vietnam War and shunned like many Vietnam veterans were.
“He finds himself working in a fair as the barker of a carousel,” Mitchell said. “It has themes about domestic violence and how history repeats itself. He gets a second chance to right his wrongs.”
Choreographer Cameron Mitchell with dancers Alexandra Cornish and Jarrod Draper.