Stirling Times - - Lifestyle - Tanya MacNaughton

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 felt it was a good way to stay at the core of the story but bring­ing it to a dif­fer­ent time, set­ting it against the Viet­nam War for a re­turned sol­dier in the lead role,” Mitchell said.

“It’s been great do­ing it that way and get­ting into the gritty parts of the story. When it comes to the turn of the cen­tury, es­pe­cially in the movie, it’s al­ways so pris­tine and ev­ery­one is so well be­haved, whereas the story is a lot darker than that.”

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.

“He meets a young girl and it’s all about him be­ing un­able to con­nect with any­one, so­ci­ety and the demons he has.

“It has themes about do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, sins of the fa­ther and how his­tory re­peats it­self. He gets a sec­ond chance to right his wrongs.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d483085

Chore­og­ra­pher Cameron Mitchell with dancers Alexan­dra Cor­nish and Jar­rod Draper.

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