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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oz Choreographer Leslie Kay

The following Microview is more for the readers and writers of steampunk and horror but I'm sure the crime writers among us will enjoy the interview as well. It probably came as no surprise that Oz the Great and Powerful had a smash opening and has been enjoying a successful run at the box office. Big name stars, a familiar story, and incredible production values. This month, choreographer Leslie Kay agreed to take part in a micro interview.
HARD-NOSED SLEUTH: You were tasked with creating a cinematic moment with one of the most iconic groups to ever appear in a movie. Talk a little about creating a new chapter in Munchkin lore.
LESLIE KAY: When I was first asked to recreate one of the most iconic scenes in movie history, The Munchkin Dance, by director Sam Raimi, I was a bit overwhelmed. We began with a few dance routines that Sam didn't think were big enough. I thought to myself, "How do you make little people big!?" It was then I decided to bring on the stunt crew and make it a stunt wire, acrobatic, high flying routine!
HNS: Writers sweat and struggle mentally putting words together to create story. Did you look at using choreography as a way to add to the story or were you more concerned with mood and characterization?
LK:  Movie choreography is very different from dance choreography, what I'm typically used to. The definition of choreography in Oz included not only dancing but blocking, marching and staging. There is a lot that can be told through body language and blocking. It definitely helps to convey the "feel" of a scene and helps to tell the story.
HNS:  Last question. I usually conclude by asking people when they knew they wanted to be writers. What was the moment for you about dance?
LK: I'm often asked at what age I decided to be a choreographer. Most dancers start off very young and grow into the instruction/choreography side of things in adulthood. I can honestly say, as much as I love to perform, I've always enjoyed creating the piece and leading the classroom. I recently found a school project from Kindergarden asking "What do you want to be when you grow up?" At age 5, I said choreographer. I didn't spell the word right but I knew that was what I wanted to do! Dreams can come true, if you have a goal and stick to it!
HNS: Thank you, Leslie!
Lesley Kay has been teaching dance for over 20 years. She is the Head Choreographer on Walt Disney Picture’s “Oz The Great and Powerful” out next Spring. Lesley is the director of The Detroit Dolls, former member of the Detroit Lion’s On Field Promotions Team and currently choreographs their nationally televised Thanksgiving Day Halftime Show. She specializes in Large Productions, Hip Hop, Jazz Technique and Musical Theatre. A former member of the Detroit Piston’s Dance Team, instructor at the prestigious Juliana’s Academy of Dance and has choreographed commercials in L.A. and Las Vegas for Little Caesars. She is currently on staff at Oakland University and teaches all over the Metro Detroit area. Her performance credits include Jay Sean, Gladys Knight, Enrique Iglasis, Jon Bon Jovi and Boyz II Men. Many of her student’s achievements include; So You Think You Can Dance/Top 3, Miss America Talent Award, NBA, NFL, Nutcracker Detroit Opera House, Julliard School NYC and The Virginia School of Arts.

BLATANT SELF PROMOTION CORNER: Untreed Reads has released my YA, dystopian horror, novel Running Red.  You can check it out by clicking on the title. Right now it is on sale! 30% off!
BLATANT SELF PROMOTION CORNER II: Mysterical-e is running my short story, The Mayor and the Murder.  This one is free!

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