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Theatre question - choreography?

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We participate in our local children's theatre. I love theatre and am active in volunteering. Most of my volunteer work is short (typing stuff, locating extra props, food for three days for the cast).


I would really like to help with the choreography. I enjoy preparing my kids' audition material mainly because I love helping plan their movements and facial expressions. For the past two years, the judges have complimented the girls on these things and asked if they hired someone to choreograph their songs and monologue.


There is one lady who does all the choreography for our group. Last year, she almost quit (due to being busy) but relented when the directors begged her as they had nobody else. This year, she's doing it again, but has said that her time is very limited and she may not be able to do as much. (She wasn't harsh, she's really very sweet and runs a full-time business in addition to having small kids).


Would it be okay to ask her if I can sit in and watch how she structures the choreography? I'd love to learn more about it and it's possible that I could help her out. I'm on good terms with the directors and feel confident they wouldn't mind either. But, I have no training in choreography, so I wasn't sure.


Any thoughts?


Editing to add - nobody is paid for any of this, so I'm not asking for any type of compensation. From the directors on down is all volunteer work.

Edited by Slipper
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I guess it would depend on the culture of theatre in your particular area. Around here, theatre is generally a collaborative effort and most people are willing to mentor those who are truly interested in their craft. It's common for people in our area to gain experience in a particular niche of theatre by volunteering as an assistant for someone especially skilled in a particular area of interest.


The choreographer you know might welcome an assistant as long as your learning from her doesn't cost her more time. You never know until you ask. One can learn a lot by just sitting in/observing/listening in (i.e. not actively participating - leave that to the experts for now) on planning/decision making sessions.

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My only concern would be whether it's appropriate to get involved in ways that might be perceived as giving your kids an edge in casting and such.


Both of my kids are theatre types, and I've made it a point to stay out of their way whenever possible. I volunteer in ways that don't have me directly involved with the production. For example, I've spent more hours than I would like to count supervising backstage during performances. I've organized cast parties and run errands. But I would be very hesitant to make myself part of the process of actually putting up the show, because I want it to be crystal clear to others that my kids earn every part they get, that they have no leg up because of any kind of nepotism or favoritism. (I've heard too many gossipy comments in the theatre community about the directors who always cast their own kids and the kids who get parts because their parents make donations to ever want one of my kids to be the subject of that kind of speculation.)

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