NIU School of Theatre and Dance presents ‘Best of Broadway Dance’

Staff Report

DEKALB, Ill. — Some of Broadway’s most recognizable dance numbers take center stage at Northern Illinois University (NIU), opening Nov. 17 in the School of Theatre and Dance O’Connell Theatre.

The first of two dance performances scheduled for the 2011-2012 Mainstage production season, Best of Broadway Dance features a great variety of techniques and recognizable forms, from the sexy and slick tap moves of choreographer Bob Fosse to the can-can and cakewalk dances that were popular 100 to 150 years ago.

According to the show’s co-director and NIU faculty member, Judy Chitwood, the variety of dances are high-energy musical pieces. For instance, the can-can and cakewalk numbers are based on the original dances popular with the working class and their ballroom dances from the 1830s.

The dances are very audience appealing and are 5-10 minutes each, with very well-known and memorable music,” Chitwood said. “The whole show is being emceed by students from the acting side of the school, and they will be presenting history, trivia and gossip about each of the pieces.”

Although the production features well-known dance pieces such as “Cell Block Tango,” from the Broadway and movie hit, Chicago, “Steam Heat” from the The Pajama Game, and excerpts from Sweet Charity, Best of Broadway also includes dance medleys and excerpts from West Side Story, Grease, Anything Goes and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

All nine dance pieces have been restaged and choreographed by NIU School of Theatre and Dance faculty Autumn Eckman, Paula Frasz, Chitwood, and Brian Chung.

As the theme of the production is Broadway, each number is designed to look like the original Broadway productions, according to Chitwood.

Performances run Nov. 17-20. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m., weekdays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m., Sundays. Ticket prices are $16 for adults, $13 for seniors and $8 for students. Group rates are available. For more details, contact the School of Theatre and Dance box office at (815) 753-1600 or visit them on the web at

From the Nov. 16-22, 2011, issue

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