Meet Addison Toutant – Dance Student and Winner of Two Tickets to Billy Elliot The Musical!

Addison Toutant in the Fisher Theatre, ready for the show!

By a slightly crazy coincidence, the winners of Dancepanorama’s ticket contest for Billy Elliot The Musical at the Fisher Theatre were Heather Toutant and her son, Addison – who is a 13 year old…dance student! He even resembles some of the boys who play Billy, and someone in the lobby at intermission approached him to ask if he in fact is one of the Billys! You can’t make this stuff up! So we had to ask him a few questions…

dp: Where do you study dance, and what kinds of dance do you study? How many classes do you take in the average week?

AT: I take class at The Turning Point School for the Performing Arts in St. Clair Shores …. I have been going there for 7 or 8 years. We just started this week, I think I take 9 classes per week. I take jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet and now this year lyrical.

dp: Had you seen the film version of Billy Elliot, and so did you kind of know the story beforehand?

AT: No, I didn’t but my mother told me a bit about it.

dp: Can you pick out a favorite part of the show, or maybe two?

AT: I’ve got to say my favorite part of the show was the end of the 1st half — the Angry dance. I feel like I could understand what he was going through by the way he expressed himself in that dance … It sorta got to me because the emotions were conveyed very well.

dp: Do you have to deal with people at school or elsewhere who still think that dance is ‘for girls’?

AT: Not so much of that is what I deal with, more so that people don’t think it’s a sport. I guess they don’t think dance has any competitions to it so therefore it’s really not a sport. Little do they know dance has a lot of competitions! I even compete with my dance studio.

dp: It’s just a crazy coincidence that these tickets wound up going to a young boy whose story has some parallels with Billy’s story! Did it feel a little autobiographical to you at times?

AT: Actually yeah — it did!

dp: Anything else you want to say that I didn’t ask?

AT: Next time you see a young man dancing, you can think of the show. We all struggle with our own issues, but there is always somebody behind us — supporting us.

 

DETROIT METRO DROP-IN DANCE CLASSES

Detroiter Bianca Revels shows how it’s done.

We are happy to offer this continuously-updated list of ongoing class availability in Detroit Metro. If you would like your information included, send in the format shown below to julie at dancepanorama dot com.

 

 

 

 

BRIGHTON / MICHIGAN DANCE PROJECT / WWW.MICHIGANDANCEPROJECT.COM
WE OFFER: advanced contemporary jazz
CLASS COST: $10
WHEN: Sundays 1:00-2:30pm
WHO: ages 15+
CONTACT: michigandanceproject@yahoo.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? only concert weekends & holidays

Canton/PURE EXISTENCE DANCE COMPANY / WWW.PUREEXISTENCEDANCE.COM

WE OFFER: Open company classes
CLASS COST: $10
WHEN: Sundays
WHO: Pure Existence Dance
RECITAL CONFLICT? No

COMMERCE TOWNSHIP / DDC DANCES / WWW.DETROITDANCECOLLECTIVE.ORG
WE OFFER: open company class in advanced modern & ballet
CLASS COST: $15 OR $100 for a 10-class card
WHEN: M, W, F 10 – 11:30 a.m.
WHO: adults
CONTACT: 810-444-4553, barb@detroitdancecollective.org
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

DETROIT / 3D DANCE ACADEMY / WWW.3DSHARONFREED.COM
WE OFFER: ballet, hip-hop, Zumba, modern, African, tap, jazz / all levels
CLASS COST: $15
WHEN: Tuesday & Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons
WHO: Teens & adults
CONTACT: freedsharon3d@yahoo.com, 313-515-3549
RECITAL CONFLICT: no

DETROIT / ARTLABJ / WWW.ARTLABJ.COM

WE OFFER: Corporeal Movemennt, Ballet, Motion Study, Pilates, Afro Modern Fusion, J Contemporary, Modern, Dance Meditation, Tea & Yoga
CLASS COST: $18 drop in, $16 Detroit Dance Network members, discounts thru class card purchase
WHEN: Mon-Fri 10am-11:30am
WHO: adults / all level
CONTACT: info@artLabJ.com 313-638-2192

DETROIT / AWAKEN STUDIO

WE OFFER: Yoga/ Pilates
CLASS COST: $10/ class, $7 w/ college I.D OR $45 for the month
WHEN: M 5pm Pilates, M,T 6:30 Yoga, Th 12pm Yoga, 7pm Pilates Sat 12pm Yoga
WHO: Teens/adults
CONTACT: 313-258-4011, awakenstudio12@gmail.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

DETROIT / BALLET RENAISSANCE / WWW.BALLETREN.ORG
WE OFFER: ballet / beginner – intermediate
CLASS COST: $15
WHEN: Monday-Thursday evenings
WHO: Teens & adults
CONTACT: balletren@balletren.org, 313.469.0694
RECITAL CONFLICT: sometimes

DETROIT / DETROIT DANCE STUDIO / WWW.DETROITDANCESTUDIO.COM

WE OFFER: ballet, contemporary, street jazz, hip-hop / beginner-intermediate
CLASS COST: $14 single 1-hr class or $45 for 4-week session
WHEN: Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday evenings
WHO: adults mainly, teens welcome
CONTACT: 313-887-0656, info@detroitdancestudio.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? No

DETROIT/SOUTHWEST DANCE/WWW.LIVINGARTSDETROIT.ORG
WE OFFER: Zumba, Salsa, Pilates Fitness
CLASS COST: $45 for 10 week session/ $8 drop-in (first class free!)
WHEN: Salsa: Mon 7:30-8:30/ Zumba: Tues 6:00-7:00/ Pilates Fitness: Tues 7:30-8:15
WHO: adults
CONTACT: (313) 841-4765, maria@livingartsdetroit.org
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

FERNDALE / DETROIT INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCING  https://www.facebook.com/DetroitFolkDancing
WE OFFER: Easy to advanced international folk dancing
CLASS COST: First time free, then $7 per class
WHEN: Fridays 8:30-11:30pm
WHO: All Ages
CONTACT: detroitfolkdancing@gmail.com

 

RECITAL CONFLICT? No

FERNDALE: KRISTI FAULKNER DANCE / WWW.KRISTIFAULKNER.COM
WE OFFER: Modern – intermediate/advanced
CLASS COST: $5
WHEN: Monday evenings
WHO: Ages 16-50
CONTACT: Kristi@KristiFaulknerDance.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? No
FERNDALE & OAK PARK / ISISRAKS DANCE / WWW.FUTUREWAVEPRODUCTIONS.NET

WE OFFER: Bellydance for Fitness (Beginner), Mediterranean (Intermediate), Bellydance (Egyptian, Tribal Fusion, Cabaret, Forkloric)
CLASS COST: Drop-in $8.00 & $12.00
WHEN: M/T/W evenings, Saturday mornings
WHO: Teens & Adults
CONTACT: Dee (313) 303-7321 / email:stedee12001@yahoo.com / facebook: Dee of Futurewave Productions LLC
RECITAL CONFLICT? Yes, for community events, private events.

KEEGO HARBOR / CHRISTINA’S ADULT BALLET / WWW.CHRISTINASADULTBALLET.COM

WE OFFER: adult ballet / beginning thru advanced plus
CLASS COST: first class free, $17 per Class
WHEN: Sunday thru Friday mornings
WHO: Adults and teens
CONTACT: 248-977-8699
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

OAK PARK / LASHELLE’S SCHOOL OF DANCE / WWW.LSODANCE.COM
WE OFFER: yoga, ballet, tap, modern jazz, praise dance, hustle ballroom & bop
CLASS COST: $15
WHEN: After 5:30pm Monday – Friday
WHO: 18 & up
CONTACT: lashelles@hotmail.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

PLYMOUTH / TRIPLE THREAT DANCE & THEATRE COMPANY / WWW.TRIPLETHREATDTC.COM
WE OFFER: jazz, ballet, turns & jumps, stretch & conditioning / intermediate thru advanced
CLASS COST: $8 – $15 depends on class
WHEN: Wednesday & Thursday evenings, Saturday mornings
WHO: 9+ but minimum age varies by class
CONTACT: 734-335-7722, info@TripleThreatDTC.com
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

REDFORD / JAZZ & SPIRIT DANCE THEATRE OF DETROIT / WWW.JAZZSPIRITDANCE.ORG
WE OFFER: Horton, tap, Dunham, Zumba
CLASS COST: $15
WHEN: M,W,F evenings
WHO: Adults
CONTACT: 313-534-0301, jazzspiritdance@gmail.com
RECITAL CONFLICT: sometimes (Apr-June)

ROCHESTER / ROCHESTER SCHOOL OF DANCE / WWW.ROCHESTERSCHOOLOFDANCE.COM
WE OFFER: ballet / beg-intermediate
CLASS COST: $20 drop-in rate or $126 for 9 week session plus $25 registration fee
WHEN: Wednesday evenings
WHO: teens & adults
CONTACT: 248-652-3117, michballet22@aol.com
RECITAL CONFLICT: no

ST. CLAIR SHORES / MOREDANCES CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY
WE OFFER: ballet, contemporary / advanced
CLASS COST: $12
WHEN: Tuesdays & Wednesdays midday
WHO: teens and adults
CONTACT: 586-899-2629
RECITAL CONFLICT: No

STERLING HEIGHTS / GOTTA DANCE / WWW.SUZANNEHAWKINSBALLETWORKSHOP.COM
WE OFFER: ballet / intermediate – advanced + pointe
CLASS COST: $140 / 10 int. classes, $165 / 10 classes incl. Pointe
WHEN: Tuesday evenings, Wednesday mornings
WHO: 16 & up
CONTACT: 248-652-3003, shawkins248@comcast.net
RECITAL CONFLICT: No

UTICA / ARGENTINE TANGO DETROIT / WWW.ARGENTINETANGODETROIT.COM
WE OFFER: Argentine Tango, Zumba, salsa/latin, ballroom / beginner thru
COST: $15.00
WHEN: All evenings & weekends
WHO: All ages
CONTACT: lori@argentinetangodetroit.com, 586-254-0560
RECITAL CONFLICT? no

WESTLAND / THE DANCE ACADEMY / WWW.THEDANCEACADEMYGC.COM
WE OFFER: Zumba, yoga/Pilates mix / beginner-intermediate
CLASS COST: $7
WHEN: Tuesday & Wednesday evenings, Saturday mornings
WHO: 13+
CONTACT: 734-452-1478
RECITAL CONFLICT: no

WIXOM / ACADEMY OF RUSSIAN CLASSICAL BALLET / WWW.RUSSIANCLASSICALBALLET.COM
WE OFFER: ballet, character, pointe, variations, conditioning, men’s technique, pas de deux, adults / pre-ballet through advanced

BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL!

Billy Elliot: The Musical. Photo credit Kyle Froman

by Julie Gervais

What a bang of a kickoff for the fall theatre season in Detroit! Cheers to the Fisher Theatre for bringing a season opener that really is everything it’s cracked up to be.

The show cooks along at a rapid clip right from the start. Those who have seen the film might take a moment to adjust to the more fantastical take on the story, as the theatrical version sometimes puts the narrative in the backseat so that the music and dancing can drive the show. It works to great effect, as the ten Tony Awards might suggest it would.

There are really two stories, of course: that of Billy and his improbable dream, which ultimately succeeds, and that of the devastating 1984 mineworker’s strike in Northern England, which ultimately fails to achieve its goals. It’s really the shared current of emotion between these two stories that gives the show its extraordinary resonance.

And it does resonate, over and over again. There’s Billy taking perfunctory part in his weekly boxing class, and then suddenly he’s in the midst of a va-voom ballet school number that hints at the joy that will come to him in his life through dance. There he is a rank beginner in the local dancing school, and in the space of a few minutes, he’s standing up straight on one leg for an attitude tour lente, and ripping off piqué tours en manège. And it’s not only believable, it’s highly charged. Elton John’s music makes sure of that.

The big numbers often combine the mineworkers with the children, each magnifying the emotion of the other. The huge (and loud) finale of the first half of the show, after Billy misses his audition and the workers have bad news about their fate, is an extraordinary channeling of raw emotion through music, dance, and stagecraft.

The show is profane and hilarious, and has impeccable timing. The laughs, either from the words or the movement, are delightfully sneaky. It is also beautiful and awesome at times, either with the use of simple devices (Billy sits on his knees, asking his Dad if they can accept the community’s gifts) or by more technical means (Billy gets some extended stay up in the air).

Everyone expects top-notch talent from Broadway touring shows, and they will find it here. But prepare to be knocked out by the kids. Our Billy was Kylend Hetherington (from Auburn, MI), and he carries the show as though it’s a feather on his back. His sidekick Michael, played by Sam Poon on opening night, is an equally formidable talent. It’s not just that these kids can sing and dance at such a high level, but that they seem so casual about it that makes it so extraordinary.

Billy Elliot: The Musical will be at the Fisher Theater through September 16. You owe it to yourself (and to any kid you can find, especially a pre-teen boy) to see what the world is talking about!

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And here are some of the friendly audience members we met at this performance!

Corinne & Kristin, from the Detroit suburbs

 

Michelle, from Detroit

Ann, from the Detroit area

 

Bud

 

 

Nancy, Glen, and Justin, all of Birmingham

Felecia, from Detroit, and Ralph from Birmingham

Craig & Lynn of South Lyon
Rita (L), from Detroit via Ghana, and her friend