While most of us follow the path life presents us, a few of us see a clear, personal vision and point our toes in that direction. At the age of 17, entering his senior year at Granada High School in Livermore, Braden Sweeney set out to make a name for himself in dance and theatre.
In the upcoming production of Hairspray performed by the STARS 2000 Teen Theatre Company, part of Diablo Theatre Company, Braden is taking some early steps in his career by co-choreographing the company's production of Hairspray, July 20-29, 2012, at Diablo Valley College.
STARS 2000 founder, Diane Kamrin, who is serving as Braden's co-choreographer and mentor for the show said, "I saw an opportunity to develop an unusually talented and motivated young man, someone who is definitely going places in this business."
"I also saw the opportunity to bring some fresh ideas to Hairspray. This is a familiar show to many people and I wanted some new inspiration. What first excited me was Braden's youthful interpretation of dance moves from the 1960's."
Fundamental to Braden's talent has been his training in ballet and jazz dance at the Livermore School of Dance under Amy Danya. He also brings his current interests in contemporary lyrical dance and hip-hop to the floor.
"I spent time learning popular 60's moves, from dances such as the Twist and the Monkey. All these ideas come together in our choreography for the show", Braden said. "I've gone all out for over-the-top, animated, big fun in the 4-5 main dance numbers in the show. I wanted everything to be explosive, bubbly and highly theatrical."
Braden's rare combination of initiative and determination, combined with sparkling talent, gives his colleagues reason to be confident he has a great future in front of him in the performing arts. Readers of local news may recognize his name as the creator and producer of a show benefiting the Invisible Children Protection Plan, an idea that came to him from a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Acting as producer, Braden organized the entire event, soliciting help from dozens of people behind the scenes and as contributing performers.
"There are few things more thrilling to me than giving our talented young people the chance to dazzle an audience," Kamrin said. "I guarantee that Hairspray audiences will be smiling and clapping and tapping their feet. Patrons will have the opportunity to see the artistry of someone representing a new generation of choreographers work his youthful magic on a popular musical."
STARS 2000's Teen Theatre's Hairspray runs according to the following schedule: 8PM on July 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 and 2:30PM on July 22, 28 & 29. Diablo Valley College Performing Arts Center is located at 321 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill. Running time is approximately 2 hours 20 minutes with one intermission. For tickets, $13-$18, call (925) 324-7359 or go to www.diablotheatre.org.