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Hollywood Jade Brings Glamorous Choreography to Motown Soul

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Choreographing Stage Wests’ holiday musical, The Soul of Motown, marks a big comeback for Hollywood Jade.

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Calgary is where he was born 37 years ago as Jade Anderson and musical theater was his first love. Now based in Toronto, Jade is one of Canada’s foremost young dancers and choreographers and is a resident choreographer on Crave TVs Canadas Drag Race.

The Soul of Motown, an original musical by Gregg Ostrin, Howard Pechet and Shirley Washington, is the story of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland whose songs for bands such as The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops and The Isley Brothers defined the Motown sound of the 60s and 70s.

Dozier and the Holland wrote their last hit, I Just Cant Walk Away, for the Four Tops in 1983, the year before Jade was born, but he says he feels comfortable slipping into their world. because I have always been fascinated by the past. Growing up in the 2000s I was listening to old 70s music and when I was dancing in the movie Hairspray I learned something very important about this style of music.

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Jade was one of the featured dancers in the 2007 film version of the musical Hairspray and he remembers director / choreographer Adam Shankman explaining that this kind of dance is not a combination of steps but rather a feeling and a energy. That’s what I try to bring to the dance and movement in The Soul of Motown.

I’ve done so much research on how these singers move, but I want my choreography to be as appealing to people who don’t know this era as it is to those who know it. I tried to find a way to breathe new life into these famous signature moves mixing nostalgia with today’s nuances.

Jade says The Soul of Motown is not a concert musical but rather a real book musical. These are not just chained songs. It is a true story of the life and work of these men. It’s based on reality. It is not to pretend. It is their story from their mouths. The lyrics of the songs used in the musical help describe the journey of these men and my choreography is meant to move the story forward.

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The Soul of Motown, presented at Stage West from November 19 to February 6, is directed by longtime Stage West collaborator Tim French, and features a cast of 15 performers who Jade says are some of the best actors in musical theater. from Canada. This is my first time choreographing a musical on stage and they have all taught me so much. It has been an exciting journey for me to work on a musical again. It was my passion in high school.

After graduating from high school in Toronto, Jade applied to study musical theater, but admits the competition was very tough and I didn’t participate. It was fate because if I had been accepted, I would have been classified as a musical theater actor. I had to find other ways to express myself.

He struggled early as a black and queer dancer, but eventually found roles in music videos for artists such as Keshia Chante, Snoop Dogg, Bebe Rexha and Meghan Trainer, and shared the stage on tours or concerts. with Nelly Furtado, Divine Brown, Rihanna and Janelle Monae. He has also danced in films such as Save the Last Dance 2, Camp Rock 2 and Make Your Move.

The Soul of Motown begins a week of premieres November 19-25 with special prices. It officially opens for a period of 10 weeks on November 26. For more information on the show and tickets, visit stagewestcalgary.com.

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