Quotidian’s PR assistant, Lauren Katz, chats with choreographer, Vanessa Bisbee.
What was your first theatrical experience? I was a “rotten little orphan” in a community theater production of Annie when I was 5, and I started taking ballet classes at 3. I’ve been dancing, choreographing and performing since then.
How did you begin performing/choreographing in DC? I acted in a couple short films and web series shortly after moving to DC. A year after moving to DC, I auditioned for a show at Silver Spring Stage – As Bees in Honey Drown. After that I choreographed several musicals for Kensington Arts Theatre. Since then I’ve choreographed for musicals and straight plays and worked with an educational dance company.
What’s your dream role/project? I’d love to choreograph the musical Contact or to perform in it. Choreographing A Chorus Line and Spring Awakening is also on on my list of dream projects.
What appeals to you about the DC theatre community? It’s a warm and welcoming crowd. I’ve been inspired by artistic collaborations, and I’ve had the chance to see people I’ve worked with go on to perform in New York. There are opportunities to grow professionally and to volunteer to teach young artists. That’s an impressive range of fascinating and fulfilling experiences.
How did you get involved with The Lady with the Little Dog? Several years ago, I choreographed Dancing at Lughnasa for Quotidian. Since then I’ve wanted to work with them again. When Stephanie asked if I would choreograph a waltz number, I was happy to say yes.
How has the process been so far? Relatively quick! Ian and Chelsea learned the dance in one rehearsal. It’s gratifying to work with performers who combine their dancing with strong acting and rich character experience. Ian and Chelsea did that immediately.
What’s different about this role/project for you? How does this rehearsal process differ from others? My last few choreography projects have been dance sequences for straight plays, so this has been similar to other projects.
What is most exciting about this play? What is most challenging? It’s always a challenge to combine dialogue and dance without losing one or the other. But I’m excited about using movement to tell the story of their turbulent affair.
Why should audiences come to see this play? The acting is superb. I’m a fan of Chekov, so I recommend seeing his work whenever possible.