‘An American in Paris’ with a new twist

MARQUETTE-COAn American classic is being brought to life with a twist at Northern Michigan University’s Forest Roberts Theatre.

An American in Paris will be performed in a tribute dance extravaganza.

Alycia Heckathorn, a senior dance major at NMU, loved the spectacular dancing Gene Kelly brought to the story in the film.

For her senior capstone project, she decided to highlight some of the moves that made An American in Paris an Oscar-winning musical.

She said turning this famed musical into a dance feature was no easy task.

“I spent a lot of time actually watching the movie An American in Paris and watching Gene Kelly dance,” Heckathorn said.  “I watched a lot of other ballet video and drawing on ballet that I already knew and really thinking about the music and the story and putting steps in that would help tell that story.”

Jazz dance is also intertwined into this version.

The dancers say performing to Gershwin’s music is an honor in itself.

“My favorite scene is at the very end because it is a lot of partnering work and I think it is just going to be really beautiful,” Heckathorn said.

“I don’t dance in it, but the Moulin Rouge is kind of risque and it’s fun to watch, I like doing it, I learned it on the side,” Jacob DeLons said.  “I love the partner work, this is the most partner work we have done on the FRT stage.”

An American in Paris will be performed Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.  The dance rendition is less than 30 minutes, and it costs only $5.