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Bethany Kovarik in Chicago

Bethany Kovarik, bob fosse, dance, ChicagoIn 2014 dancer Bethany Kovarik was the ensemble swing in the Stratford Festival production of “Crazy For You.”

She’s currently an ensemble member, and plays Mona, in Drayton Entertainment’s “Chicago.” The show closes Sat. July 18th, with a matinée and evening performance.

“Chicago” is my favourite musical, I was lucky to have seen two-time Tony Award nominee Charlotte d’Amboise play Roxie Hart and I love the dance, the music, the playful and occasionally subversive book.

Originally staged in 1975, the 1996 revival holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

I asked Bethany about her work on Bob Fosse’s most celebrated musical.

1) When was the first time you saw “Chicago?”

The first time I saw Chicago was on Broadway when I was 12. I won a dance scholarship that summer to dance at an intensive and being my first time in NYC I went to a Broadway show every night I was there.

Chicago was one of them! I remembered specifically thinking to myself “I want to do and be that”.

2) What is it that you like most about Bob Fosse’s choreography?

The thing I value about Bob Fosse’s work is how well stylized and specific it is. You must have a strong knowledge and foundation of his work to be able to paint the right picture on stage.

I love how you need a trained eye to create Fosse’s images & feelings. He was very clear on how his choreography is supposed to look on one’s body. The shapes and vocabulary of the moves are very tight, clear and focused. The moves might look easy to the average person and yet the flex and placement of the body is so particular.

3) Fosse once said: “The time to sing is when your emotional level is too high to just speak anymore, and the time to dance is when your emotions are just too strong to only sing about how you “feel”.

How do you feel each night after such an emotionally charged performance?

This show resonates with me on a deep level, and I can definitely say that this show has been a transforming experience.

With the right warm up, focus, intention and clarity the show remains yours, and you get to share it with the audience. I feel a fire cracker under me that propels me through the show. It feels so right being able to create such magic with the cast for 2 and a half hours.

We all hit a high together at the final number knowing we accomplished many things for ourselves and the audience.

Every show I walk off the stage feeling like I completed something.

4) Mike Jackson who directed and choreographed “Chicago” for Drayton Entertainment appeared in a Broadway production of “Chicago”. What did his experience on Broadway bring to the production?

Mike Jackson was such a gift to work with.

With only two and a half weeks to put this show together, you knew you were in good hands.

Mike performed for the Broadway production as well as the tour. He had much experience and knowledge about the show and threw as much information he could at us in such a short time. The beauty of Mike’s work was that he encouraged us to continue exploring the show, to go further with our acting choices…that’s a brilliant man…never stop the learning.

When an actor stops the work then it just becomes boring for us and the viewers. We were so fortunate to get encouragement with that.

Mike’s knowledge and experience performing on the Broadway production drove and inspired us, making this a successful Canadian show.

5) Where will you be dancing next?

ummmmmm… In my room with music on.

Oh professionally…LOL. Well, my next contract for theatre will be “Return to Grace” playing at the Fallsview Casino Resort in September. And then the company travels to Bangkok, Thailand to perform at The Thai Cultural Centre which is so very exciting. Other seeds have been planted as well. So follow me on instagram @bethanykovarik to keep up with the life of a performer and other passions I have that match the lifestyle of a healthy performer.

Either / Or
Pick one of the pair & add a brief description explaining why.

a) Tommy Tune or Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins because I LOVE West Side Story. I am also a big fan of his quotes and I usually share them with kids when I teach dance “I told you to sell it, not give it away.”

b) John Fluevog or Salvatore Ferragamo?
Or can I pick La Duca’s? I love waking up knowing I have rehearsal for a show and to put on my dance clothes and my 3 inch La Duca dance shoes.

c) Sand at the beach or a sprung floor?
Sand at the beach while dancing with my ear phones in and grooving to the sunshine and waves in the summer. A sprung floor in the cold winter weather…back to the ballet bar for me.

Visit Drayton Entertainment for tickets and info.
Call the box office: 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866)

Don’t miss my podcast with Bethany.

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Bethany Kovarik in Chicago

Keith Tomasek
17 July 2015
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