George Mason University
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George Mason University

School of Dance Heritage Professor, Christopher D’Amboise, choreographing world premiere of new musical at Kennedy Center

October 30, 2017

Christopher d'Amboise

In addition to his teaching responsibilities this semester, School of Dance Heritage Professor Christopher D’Amboise is also choreographing the world premiere of a new musical to be presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts opening November 18.  Me…..Jane: The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall is the theatrical adaptation of a book for children by Patrick McDonnell. Based in part on the autobiography of noted humanitarian, conservationist, and animal activist Jane Goodall, this family friendly musical combines theater, music, and dance, to tell the story of a young Jane (and her toy chimpanzee, Jubilee) as she begins to discover the natural world and the many interesting creatures of all kinds that inhabit it.

Even with an extensive list of ballet choreography and musical theater credits on his resume, Professor D’Amboise said in a recent conversation that working with actors not particularly trained in dance can be a challenge. “You have to able to work with performers of varying abilities” D’Amboise said. “To find a movement vocabulary in which they shine but that also serves the piece”. Especially challenging in this work will be creating movement for actors portraying animal characters like chickens, dogs, and squirrels. He notes that he is enjoying collaborating with the show’s director, who also worked on the adaption of the book, Aaron Posner, and the rest of the design team. “It’s a creative environment in which the best idea wins without any bruised egos”, he said. The father of twin five year olds, Christopher also says it is difficult but especially rewarding to work on a piece that will appeal to children as well as to the adults that brought them to the theater.

We hope you will join the School of Dance faculty, staff, and students as we support Christopher’s efforts with this new and exciting venture. Me….Jane is scheduled to run in the Kennedy Center Family Theater November 18-December 10 and tickets are available at the K.C. Box Office or online at www.kennedy-center.org. We’ll see you, and your children or grand- children there!

—By Mason School of Dance

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