Interview Conducted By: Jessica Hicks – Egyptian Theatre Intern
Beth Fowler is the artistic director at the Beth Fowler Dance Company. She established the Beth Fowler Dance Company, a dance company with a professional group of dancers, in 1994. The dance company will be preforming the Nutcracker at the Egyptian Theatre on December 2nd and 3rd at 7:00 PM and December 4th at 2:00 PM.
Jessica: Tell me about the Beth Fowler Dance Company?
Beth: The Beth Fowler Dance Company is made up of dancers that went through the training levels of the Beth Fowler School of Dance. They then must achieve a list of required skills that they are evaluated on through an audition process. The Beth Fowler School of Dance prepares all dancers to perform the required skills for the company to assure their acceptance when the time is right. All dancers from the School perform the children’s roles in the theatre productions while the company dancers perform the bigger company parts and solo roles. The School of Dance started 34 years ago and the Dance Company started 24 years ago.
Jessica: How did you get involved in dancing?
Beth: I started dancing with a local dance school in Genoa called the Hallahan Dancers. When they moved to Minnesota I started taking Jazz classes with NIU faculty member Jere Tulk. She insisted that I take Ballet because it is the foundation of all dance and she saw that I had a lot of potential. It is hard to believe that I was the child that showed no interest in Ballet and just wanted Jazz class. I will be forever grateful for her guidance to ballet class which formed my entire future career! At the age of 13 and after just one year of taking ballet, I was accepted as a full member with a ballet company, the Rockford Dance Company where I became a soloist.
Jessica: What is your favorite part about teaching dance and how long have you been teaching?
Beth: I started teaching when I was in 6th grade. When I reached 15 years-old I started my own dance school, the Beth Fowler School of Dance. My favorite part about teaching is watching the dancers progress from week to week, then from year to year as I watch many of our dancers progress from age 3 to young adults! I now enjoy teaching my students children! We are a long term dance family!!
Jessica: What is your favorite performance to teach and preform?
Beth: I love teaching and performing in the Nutcracker every year. It has become such a family holiday tradition for so many families in the community. I have performed as the Arabian Queen in the Nutcracker now for 24 years! It has been something that I have always done in hopes of inspiring my students by example. I plan to pass the role and tradition on to my dancing daughter Miss Brooke with this year being my last year. I hope to see many of my friends and relatives at the Nutcracker this year to celebrate my last year performing and 24 years of performing as the Arabian Queen!
Jessica: Why do you enjoy performing at the Egyptian Theatre?
Beth: I love presenting our dance productions at the Egyptian Theatre because it gives the performance and its audience members the complete theatrical experience! It is the atmosphere of going to the Ballet in Chicago without having to travel into the city. Many people have compared our productions to the ones that are in Chicago and they no longer feel a need to travel outside DeKalb for that magical experience!