One of Australia’s leading musical theatre stars has returned to her home town of Adelaide for a few months during the “Covid pause.” What a treat for the Adelaide dance community! Amy Berrisford is known for Chicago, We Will Rock You, Cats, King Kong Live, Boy from Oz….and the list goes on! She’s an inspiring and energetic instructor, and for Term 3 she will join the teaching team at Australian Company of Performing Arts (ACPA) in Thebarton, plus dancers all over Adelaide can join her for Open Broadway Sessions on Tuesday nights, starting July 21! If you love jazz and musical theatre, these dance classes are not to be missed.
Here, we speak with Berrisford to find out more.
Tell us the highlight of your career so far.
“The highlight of my career so far would be going on for Velma Kelly for the very first time in Brisbane during the 2019/20 tour of Chicago, playing alongside Natalie Basingthwaite, Casey Donovan and Tom Burlinson. It was a dream of mine since 1999, when I saw the production at The Festival Theatre in Adelaide with my high school dance class. The nerves were there, my adrenaline was pumping, but the dream was real, and I loved it!”
What are you most excited about teaching at ACPA?
“Firstly, I’m so excited to meet everyone and work with the students. I’m also excited to see what we can create and achieve in the room.”
Obviously, COVID has had an impact on your work right now. Are you happy that it’s given the opportunity for you to return home and share with the dance community here?
“It’s definitely unfortunate times for our industry, but we are all staying positive and hoping we’ll bounce back soon. But I am so thankful it has given me this incredible opportunity to teach at ACPA. Teaching at SA Dance Festival last year was truly amazing. It sparked a fire in me, and I knew I wanted to be back. Adelaide turns out some first class dancers. It’s the training, discipline and heart that really speaks to me, and I cannot wait to get started.”
When do you anticipate to be touring Australia again in your next musical?
“I was cast as Dance Captain in 9 to 5 The Dolly Parton Musical. Which was set to open in Sydney last April. We are all hoping for a 2021 season.”
What’s your hot tip for any performer growing up?
“Any advice I can give would be — love what you do, work and train hard, don’t be afraid to go for it, be open to always learning new skills, and, most importantly, enjoy the journey. We have many ups and downs in this industry, but it’s how we grow as a performer and individual that counts. “
Can you give some insight into the work you will doing with the students at ACPA?
“In my theatre classes, I work to really embody the style of the piece. Whether that’s musical theatre rep or my choreography. Acting through movement is like having a conversation, so it’s the dynamics and inflictions I look for. I also focus on technique, strength and control in progressions and combinations.
I also look forward to working in performance practice and preparing for auditions. Learning how to prepare, what happens in the room and what may happen afterward.”
In SA, its rare to have an open class available with a leading artist like yourself! Can you tell us more about your Broadway Sessions?
“Let’s come together SA and have a dance! I will be teaching an open Broadway dance class on Tuesday nights from 7:30-9:00pm at ACPA. What a great opportunity if you’re looking to have a dance, feel inspired and have a great time. Come and join me, bring your friends, and spread the word. Let’s do this, SA!”
For more information visit www.acpa.com.au.