Ingrid Oslund is changing up musical dance numbers with her unique flair and infectious energy. See what actors have learned from her in the Upper School production of The Addams Family, set to premier March 1. Purchase tickets by visiting the online box office here.
Q: Could you tell me about your dance background?
A: I have been dancing since I was about four. I started off in musicals and had a strong ballet focus. I also competed in ballroom in middle and high school, with a focus in tango. In high school, I became more interested in contemporary and hip-hop movement, which is how my aesthetic as a choreographer is inspired today.
Q: How did you become interested in dance?
A: I was a high energy child and dance was a way to focus that energy into something productive. I was performing professionally from a very young age, and these skills were necessary to continue working. I also lived and breathed old movie musicals and taped ballet performances. I always wanted to strive for that level of perfection.
Q: Where have you studied dance?
A: I am originally from Minneapolis, MN, which is the nation’s capitol of children’s theater. The majority of my dance education was connected there to companies such as Stages Company, Children’s Theater Company and Main Street School of Performing Arts, where I attended high school.
Q: Could you talk about your past experiences in education in terms of teaching?
A: I have been teaching dance about seven years. I was the lead dance instructor and choreographer at the Nazzaro Center in the North End and am now the Drama-Dance Instructor for Boston Community Collaborative, where I choreograph about five shows a year. I have also been the drama specialist at Brimmer and May’s summer camp for two years, where we have incorporated musical theater dance into the curriculum.
Q: How did you choose Brimmer and May to choreograph for the musical?
A: I had worked at the Brimmer and May Summer Camp and when I saw the job was available, I jumped on it. I have so enjoyed working with this community and wanted to continue that collaboration.
Q: What has been your experience so far?
A: Mr. Jacob and Mr. Van Atta have been so welcoming, and I have had a fantastic time. It’s been awesome to come into a super collaborative environment. The students have also been great. I am asking them to really push themselves and do difficult things. Everyone has been surprisingly game, and I am very grateful for that.
Q: What are your goals for the choreography in the musical?
A: Something very cool about this piece is that it pays homage to so many of the classic musical theater styles that have shaped me as a dancer. It has hints from Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, and classic vaudvillian flair. It also has an extended tango sequence, which I want to ensure is precise and accurate.
At the same time, I want to infuse my own style into the piece, such as the use of contemporary movement and a touch of hip-hop. I want the audience to walk away satisfied, excited and surprised by something unexpected.
Q: What else do you do, and what do you see yourself doing in the future?
A: I am currently a unit writer at Company One in Boston, and look forward to continuing work with them. I also have some upcoming productions with The Player Theatre in New York City, the HerStory festival in New Haven, CT., and am about to start auditions for a production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Boston Community Collaborative. The production will have a southern gothic aesthetic and incorporates professional actors along with youth performers. Auditions are absolutely open to Brimmer students.
Finally, I will be running a drama-based summer camp at Brimmer and May called the Gator Players. Enrollment is open for ages 6-15 and we will be performing an original adaptation of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” incorporating dance, movement and puppetry.