Great theatre does not begin and end upon the stage. For every great performance, there are years of hard work and dedication. As any athlete will tell you, if you want to perform well, you must train. And, those of us who enjoy the challenge of performing in musicals train in three main areas: acting, singing, and dancing. That can be rather challenging when living in a rural community. Fortunately, for Middletown, we have Kim Green and Kim’s Dance Factory to cover the dance training.
Kim Green met Gene Kelly when she was two, sort of. Her Nana shoved her into his arms. Something must have rubbed off from that brief encounter as she has been dancing since she was three years old. She grew up dancing in the living room to movies like Cabaret, Easter Parade, Flower Drum Song, and Oklahoma! Eventually, her Nana got her into Encore Studio in El Sobrante under Jeannie Pounds, a former child star of Vaudeville. In the ’40s Pounds appeared on The Little Rascals as a dancer with Darla Hood.
Soon, Green was choreographing for the neighborhood kids, selling tickets, and putting on shows in her driveway. In high school, she moved on to choreographing school shows and the cheerleaders. She continued her training in Oakland and San Francisco with various popular teachers of the time studying ballet, tap, jazz, baton and even becoming a competitive ice skater. She also tap-danced across the bay with Rosie the Radiator, a big tap diva out of San Francisco, for the world record book.
She started her first dance studio in Crockett California in the mid-90s. She went on to join a local dance studio in Rodeo, California called Steps Dance Studio and became the top “comp” teacher there where she won comp awards at the national level in Las Vegas for choreography. (Comp is just short for competition). Over the years she has had many students go on to do amazing things. One student, Ashly, who trained with her for years is now a co-director of Fiscal Roots Dance Company in Oakland and is also teaching. Another student, Leah, went on to dance in Cirque du Soleil in Vegas. Two former dancers have become Raiderettes. Another student went on to become a dance teacher and has guest taught at her studio here in Middletown.
Green met her husband Darren at a dance club in the city. It turned out his daughter was a dancer at her studio, but Green had just never seen him. “He was an awful dancer, but I decided to give him a shot.” 19 years, 2 step-children, and 3 children later they are still together. All of her kids have danced. Her oldest Cody loved hip hop and tap. Her daughter Maddy went on to join comp dance teams, but stopped in high school to pursue cheerleading. Green who is currently “forcing” her youngest son, Dax, 15, to dance, says that secretly he enjoys it.
She and her husband decided to make the move to Hidden Valley Lake to raise Dax in a small town environment. When her local hairstylist, LaTrease Walker, found out that she used to teach dance, she insisted that Green start teaching again.
Green originally had a studio in Hidden Valley as part of Muscle Matrix, but moved it to Middletown in 2017. She’s grown her studio since the move. She’s added a mini team for comp dancers between the ages of 7-9 including one boy. They are her “Dynasty ” dancers. She has her “Galaxy” team which is comprised of her intermediate dancers ages 10-13. Her top “Legacy” dancers are ages 13-18 which also includes 2 more boys. Says Green, “We are growing in biz and getting more boys which is very exciting.”
Currently, students can take hula, hip hop, jazz, tumbling, contemporary, and tap. Another instructor, Jeanette Marchais teaches ballet. Green would like to add TAPfit to the lineup. TAPfit is a new program out of Australia where her family is from. It is a mix of Jazzercise with tap making tap easier to grasp to a bigger population. This summer she has plans to add drama classes two mornings a week with Stephanie Johnson of Center Stage Kids Children’s Theatre. (Johnson will be the subject of one of my columns in early 2020.)
Green periodically invites guest teachers to “expose her dancers to the big dance world outside of Lake County.” Recently, she invited a hip hop dancer out of L.A. named Jalen. Jalen was on “World of Dance ” with the dance crew “S-Rank” and he performed for the Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards in Mexico.
The studio has also started entering competitions and winning awards. Their most recent awards at the Rainbow Competition in Sacramento was a platinum performance which is a first place and judges’ choice for dancing with the most passion. And, this year they took home the Big Kahuna trophy for Middletown Days for their line dance to Old Town Road.
Upcoming performances for her students include the annual performance in front of the studio for Christmas in Middletown on Saturday, December 14th, bringing more pieces to the Lake County Spring Dance Festival in April, and holding their Annual recital at the Twin Pine Casino.
Through all of her endeavors, her contractor husband hates that her work makes for late-night dinners, but builds anything she can dream up. He actually built her studio in Middletown and laid her special flooring.
When asked what she enjoys the most about what she does, Green says, “I love to choreograph the most, but I do love my littles. And, seeing their love and talent grow in dance, I feel so lucky to do what I love.”
If you or your child are interested in training at Kim’s Dance Factory, Green can be reached via Facebook by searching Kim’s Dance Factory or by calling (707) 439-6610. There are classes available for all ages. The studio is located at 21037 Calistoga Road Suite 5, Middletown, California 95461
Final Weekend for Chicago
Chicago runs at the Soper Reese Theatre in Lakeport Friday, November 8 & Saturday, November 9 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 10 at 2:00 p.m. If you plan on seeing this “must-see” musical, you had better buy your tickets online and fast. Typically, the closing weekend for the Lake County Theatre Company musicals sells out. Full disclosure, yours truly plays the part of Mama Morton in this highly entertaining musical. For tickets go to LCTC.us or call 707-263-0577
Auditions for Alice in Pantoland:
The Lake County Theatre Company (LCTC) is looking for children and adults to audition for Alice and Pantoland Wednesday, November 13 at 6: 00 p.m and Saturday, November 16 at 2:00 p.m. Auditions will be held at the Kelseyville United Methodist Church at 3810 Main St., Kelseyville, CA 95451. Everyone ages 10 and up are encouraged to audition.
A Panto is an English farce play. There is gender-bending and it is meant to be a family program. It is very interactive between the audience and members of the cast. This particular play is a farce on the Alice in Wonderland theme. Most of the characters are according to the book., but of course, there are many twists and turns, especially comedic turns in the show. The show is meant for family audiences.
Performances will be February 28 through March 9 at the Upper Lake Middle School Theater at 725 Old Lucerne Rd, Upper Lake, CA 95485.
For more information call (707) 278-9628 or visit LCTC.us