Theatre New Brunswick is offering adult musical theatre dance classes to people 19 and older. Instructed and choreographed by Courtney Arsenault, the eight-week program began on Sept. 24 and was already fully booked before classes began and there’s even a waiting list.
“Musical theatre dance technique is a class that TNB already offers for students,” Arsenault said. “It’s something that we’ve wanted to do with adults [and] we did an adult musical theatre dance workshop last year.”
Rather than focusing on a large end-of-the-year project, students will tackle new techniques and dancing skills. Arsenault said students can expect a challenging workout with a Broadway twist.
“We’ll be focusing on our technique, footwork, flexibility training, stretching, cardio … but then also mixed in with a lot of Broadway musical theatre choreography,” she said.
Arsenault is no stranger to the theatre community in Fredericton. Coming from Saint John, she graduated from the commercial dance program at George Brown College in Toronto. After graduating, Arsenault worked in the arts for several years before returning to the Maritimes.
Arsenault has worked closely with St. Thomas University’s musical theatre program as the choreographer of numerous productions including Newsies in 2019. She also teaches several classes at TNB. Arsenault said she recognized several of the names registered for the class and was looking forward to seeing familiar faces again.
“I’m excited to meet everyone face to face … and spend time with people that like doing the same thing I like doing,” she said.
Naomi McGowan is a STU fine arts alumni and works at TNB. She has worked several times with Arsenault whether it was during her classes at STU or at workshops with TNB.
“When I was at STU, there were a lot of different people that took musical theatre,” McGowan said, adding that in her first year, there were a lot of people who were experienced performers, while others were trying for the first time.
“[Courtney] is really good at adapting to whoever is in the room and making sure she’s challenging those who need to be challenged, but not scaring away those who are new,” she said
McGowan said she signed up for the class to continue her artistic training and seize the opportunity of an in-person class.
“I’m excited to get some training and practice, but also have a good time and just exercise and smile,” she said.
“I’m most excited to meet the other people who are signed up. It will be nice to be in a [rehearsal] room again.”