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October 29, 2012

'Widening perceptions': 6-foot-8 tap dancer to perform in Marblehead

(Continued)

Dorrance, who teaches at the Broadway Dance Center and won a 2011 Bessie Award for her innovative work, saw potential in Casey and choreographed works for him.

“She was interested in creating work for a 6-foot-8 tap dancer. She’s created a vocabulary for me, and some pieces that were centered around me,” he said.

Those pieces collectively are called “A Petite Suite” and feature a narrative in which Casey evolves from “the odd one out, the really quirky one,” to a point where “I’ve become the normal one and the people around me are weirdos.”

“It’s like a mini-circus, it comes full circle,” he said. “She opened up for me what was possible in terms of what I could do artistically.”

Casey has performed sections from that suite in several venues and festivals, but the material in his upcoming show at Marblehead Little Theatre is all his own.

“It’s called ‘Transitions’ because I was looking at the work I had created during a time of upheaval in my life,” he said. “The first set is about my height, the initial self-consciousness, and self-acceptance of overcoming that and becoming confident about who I am.

“The second set is about my move to New York.”

In addition to changing people’s perceptions of what a dancer should look like, Casey wants to broaden the range of what tap dance can do.

In one piece, he will dance to a poem he wrote, in another to a piece of light verse by Shel Silverstein, matching his steps to the music in the language.

The show will also include a series of duets with Kelly Kaleta, who taught Casey tap dance when he lived in Lexington and now works with him as a partner.

The final part of the show will be a tribute to Fred Astaire and includes one dance with a prerecorded shadow and another with a cane.

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