The ultimate feel-good musical Mama Mia is running at the Bruce Mason Centre, and the students of Somerville Intermediate School have special bragging rights to it.
They take pride in the fact that their talented dance and drama teacher Destiny Anderson has choreographed all the 10 dance sequences of the universally-acclaimed musical.
Talking about the fun production that will run till April 14, Destiny says that it has been a huge privilege to work with an ensemble of 24, plus eight lead actors.
Destiny, 30, played the role of one of the lead characters–the feisty Lisa in Mama Mia five years ago–and couldn’t believe it when she was first asked to be the choreographer of the musical that has been popular with more than 60 million people all over the world.
She decided to do things differently this time.
“It was an amazing experience to take my Somerville Intermediate kids on an adventurous journey with me. My students have been studying the show and have been involved right from the conception.
“I would try out the steps on them first before showing them to the dancers of Mama Mia,” she says about the production that features Abba classics like Money, Money, Money, Dancing Queen, Voulez Vous and Mama Mia: how can I resist you?
“I also got my dance and drama students to see the music/dance rehearsal videos. We would discuss the audition process which gives them an understanding of the other side of how actors are interviewed for roles.
“I got great inputs from them,” she says.
Destiny, who started dancing when she was four-years-old, has a Bachelor in Performing and Screen Dance with a major in Contemporary Dance.
About working with the cast of Mama Mia she says it has been “both challenging and very rewarding– especially when all elements come together”.
“The musical directed by Russell Dixon is a great reflection of New Zealand culture. Everyone has a full time job. We have a cop by day and dancer by night,” she says.
Back at Somerville Intermediate, Principal David Ellery is so enthused by the passion and the quality of work done by the drama and dance class that the school is building a special dance and drama suite, to create the right platform for students to pursue performing arts.