At age fifteen, Beth Fowler opened up her own dance school to create a space for children to express themselves through dance. Some of the performances put on by the Beth Fowler School of Dance include A Storybook Ballet, Grease, Fame & More, and the annual performance of the Nutcracker. In response to COVID, the dance school found unique ways to keep their students involved in dance while putting safety first. The 27th annual performance of the Nutcracker was turned into a movie and was played at the Egyptian Theatre in January of 2021. With the success of the Nutcracker: The Movie, the school went forward with filming their next show “The Wizard of Oz & More.” Join us at the Egyptian Theatre July 9th, 10th, 11th, 30th, 31st, and August 1st to watch the cinematic masterpiece that showcases ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary hip hop and acrobatic performances.
*Interview with Beth Fowler, Founder and Artistic Director for the Beth Fowler School of Dance. Interview conducted by Marketing & Communications Intern Cass Kamp.
CASS: What sets your school of dance apart from other schools and studios?
BETH: We are the longest standing studio in the area, celebrating 38 successful years in business.
We also provide many performing opportunities with an annual Nutcracker Ballet in December, annual Rotating March Ballets, and a Rotating Dance Production in June featuring all dance styles including performances from our award winning competitive teams which have held national titles every year since we started competing in 2013. Our staff is 100% alumni of Beth Fowler Dance Company, so the programs and syllabus are consistently progressive from level to level with a dedicated staff that love their home studio where there is a very family friendly atmosphere established and long term friendships.
C: In a previous interview, you mentioned that you began professionally dancing at 13-years-old and opened your own dance school at 15-yold. Could you elaborate on your personal experiences?
B: I started dancing at age 4, started dancing serious Ballet at 12 and then when I was 13 I started dancing professionally with a Dance Company. Living in a small town this news traveled fast so many people asked me to teach their children. I found a passion for teaching children so put an ad in the paper to start the Beth Rood School of Dance at age 15. Word of mouth traveled quickly especially after putting on a show with my students. 6 years later, I married my high school sweetheart of 5 years, then it became the Beth Fowler School of Dance.
C: The title of the show is The Wizard of Oz & More. What is the “more” part of the show?
B: We are combining our March Ballet of The Wizard of Oz with our June show which includes our award winning competitive dances as well as our non-competitive dances from all of our classes. With COVID making live performances challenging, we decided to hire a movie producer to make 2 movies to be shown on the big movie screen! We converted both our Nutcracker and our Wizard of Oz Ballets into 2 separate movies to give our dancers the experience of being in a movie! This was exactly what our dancers needed to light their fires during a tough pandemic year.
C: What is unique about this show compared to others that your students have performed?
B: We converted our Nutcracker and our Wizard of Oz into a cinematic movie adding green screen, dialogue and an extended storyline. We are also giving the dancers movie star treatment with red carpet interviews when they arrive to in a stretch limousine.
C: What dance forms will be performed in this show?
B: The Wizard of Oz Movie is a fun musical theatre ballet finishing out our cinematic film.
Also included at the start of the movie is excerpts from the classical Spanish Ballet, “Piquita” then a variety of jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary hip hop and acrobatics. These are from both competitive and non-competitive dances.
C: COVID caused many studios to halt performances, but your students were able to continue dancing during the pandemic with recorded performances. What were the benefits of recording the performance instead of having a live performance?
B: We were determined to keep our dancers motivated and inspired! We weren’t going to let COVID kill their spirit as dancers and our youth. We knew it had to be an over the top experience to get them excited. We wanted to change a challenging time into a unique opportunity! So we made them movie stars!
Because this was filmed, we were able to safely film in small groups. It also allowed us to change up our sets, add dialogue, green screen and extend a cinematic storyline. Perhaps one of the dancers favorite parts, was that they were able to see the whole show from the front with their family and friends which they can never do during a live performance. For the first time they watched themselves perform and on the big movie screen was the perfect way to do it!
C: Are there other shows scheduled that we can look forward to?
B: Yes! We plan to perform our 28th annual performance of the Nutcracker live in December 2021.