Grover Dale

Donna McKechnie

Randy Skinner

Steps Beyond Artists Talk—Hear it From the Pros:
A Conversation with Broadway Insiders Grover Dale,
Donna McKechnie, and Randy Skinner

Moderated by Patricia R. Klausner

Steps on Broadway. 2121 Broadway
Saturday, January 24

A Review

This program designed by Steps to help dancers and performers connect with profes­sionals for guidance, advice and sharing of experience lived up to its billing with the talk given on Saturday night.

All three speakers are seasoned professionals with a wealth of information to share about their own experiences, what worked well and poorly for them, and what they’ve seen of other performers both on stage and behind the scenes. Patricia Klausner did an excellent job of keeping the speakers on topic and making sure the important points were covered.

Each of the speakers started by describing their own beginnings as performers and how they broke into musical theater. All had their own perspective, some following a natural progression and others having to take more aggressive steps to achieve their goals. This included not only their artistic struggles, but financial ones as well. Since financial chal­lenges are a common issue with performers, practical advice (never invest in your own show) is always a good idea to share with those wanting to build a career in dance or musical theater.

Practical pointers were shared such as get strong foundations in ballet to use for other dance forms, it will help you be more versatile. And if you want to get into stage per­forming make sure you invest in your work—take classes in acting and voice to improve and make connections with your peers. Every audition is a chance to learn and show what you can do. Another suggestion was to find things that you love to do in between jobs or auditions to keep fresh and not get beaten down by the rejection of trying out for shows on an ongoing basis. Randy shared that going to tap class was such a joy for him, that it was his go-to for remaining happy with his dance and choreography career.

During Q & A all three were asked about a scary or embarrassing moment and did not disappoint. From horribly slippery floors to a dress several sizes too small, they shared what went wrong and how they got through it.

A wonderful program for those already in, or considering joining the performing arts—I would highly recommend this series and the resources that go with it in terms of hand­outs, links and ideas of places to go for more information. Randy, Grover and Donna were generous in their sharing and were a delight to listen to. They even included a few moments of dance to illustrate a point, which is always a special treat.

—Laura Rime, January 24, 2015