Alumna Shellee Frazee '00 returned this spring to choreograph Chicago as well as teach a Dance Fundamentals for the Stage class. Before she left to return to the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago, where she works as the Art, Dance, Fitness, and Theatre Coordinator, we took a minute to ask her a few questions. Here's how she answered!
What was your favorite experience here as a student?
I directed Death and the Maiden in the fall of 1999 in the Studio Theatre. It was a wonderful experience; I worked with three amazing students (Lou Hare, Beth Curley, and Erick Holloway).
What was your favorite Directorial/Choreographing experience here at SAU?
As far as musicals go, I'm caught between a couple. At the top of my list are Pippin and The Drowsy Chaperone - those shows will always have a special place in my heart. I was very proud of my work on those shows. It's hard to pick, though! I'd also have to say Urinetown. During the process of that musical, I learned a lot about myself as a choreographer.
What did you/will you miss most about teaching at SAU?
The contact with the students. They continue to inspire and motivate me. The students make me better because they force me to continue to grow - they don't allow me to be lazy. I swear they're smarter and quicker every time I turn around, which really keeps me on my toes. We have so much talent here at SAU.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
For people I don't know, I'd say a lot of dancers. Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, and Gwen Verdon have been huge influences on my choreographic style. In my personal life though, I'd have to say it's Cory Johnson, my mentor. While we are of the same generation, I met her at a time when I was still doing some searching, and she inspired me a great deal. She helped me and continues to help me become who I am.
What's next for you?
I'll continue to work at the Beverly Art Center. We have a professional production of They're Playing Our Song going up in June, and we'll also be putting on The Producers in August.
Will SAU see you again?
I hope I get asked back, because I'd certainly love to come back. This is home.
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