BroadwaySelect met with the vivacious KT Thomas to discuss the world of theatre both in NYC and across the pond.
Q: As an international performer what have you found to be the biggest difference between performing in the U.S Vs. the U.K ?
A: The biggest difference I have found here in the US over the past few years is the amount of new work that is being produced here in the States versus the UK. Whilst the UK is certainly now catching up there is such a big platform here which has such a supportive network in the developmental stages as well as moving projects onwards and upwards. Being here has enabled me to meet some incredible new and upcoming composers and writers of the next generation which certainly are ones to look out for in the near future. To have had the privilege of working on some projects which are already gaining momentum and starting new journeys is such a highlight in my career as you get to lay down the foundations and experiment truly with new characters and stories which in the most part have never been heard or seen before.
Q: What is your favorite style of dance and why?
A: Coming from a dance influenced family background Tap and Musical Theatre have always been my passion. However I love the ballet technique and try to take class as often as I can. I was lucky and fortunate to have all styles available to me as a child due to my mother being a dance teacher and my father being a musician. So living at home was always vibrant and full of shows, theatre and other mediums. Tap however holds a special place in my heart. My grandmother absolutely loved the rhythms one could create with your feet and she played the piano for all my tap classes so dance off’s were always fun especially as she had such a love for the subject despite never tapping herself.
Q: What would your advice be for people who love dance but have perhaps passed the recommended age to start training?
A: You are never too old to learn new tricks. Plus persevere!!!! Ballet certainly is the core of all the other subjects but find a subject that really makes you tick and your heart sing when you do it. I have trained with and trained many who have started later…… yes it takes time and patience and guys in particular I have found do pick it up later easier than women. However if you are determined and find the right teacher you can succeed and grow and push your boundaries and in some cases providing the work is put in, stand next to someone who has danced for years and no one know any different! Dance, Learn, Believe…….. this actually is my mother’s business catchphrase I helped come up with.
Everyone in their heart can dance and feel rhythm of some sort, Learn and educate yourself in it and then Believe you can do anything…… normally the hardest bit, but take a risk and if at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try try again! No one can stop you from expressing yourself…… only you can do that!
Q: How has your years of being a dance teacher and running a dance school influenced your own work as a performer?
A: I’ve been fortunate to have the arts at my fingertips and it has been a definite outlet for me. I was bullied as a kid because of it but whilst I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel then, it certainly has shaped me being more defiant in pursuing my dream and living 3600 miles away from family and friends. It also has allowed me to understand both sides of “the table” as well as come to appreciate how others work and create more. I tend to look deeper into reasons and also can read people really well having worked with lots of different people all over the globe. I also have the passion to really use my craft to encourage and educate the next generation………… art, music, dance, song really do bring out the best in people. They also bridge a lot of the gaps we have in society and create outlets for those who need an outlet to be seen and heard. A theatre or studio to me is a safe space, a home where everyone on every level is welcome…… hence the theatre community being a gigantic family.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about the project you are currently working on?
A: I’m in rehearsals for a new reading which is based on Thomas Middleton’s play “The Revenger’s Tragedy”. If you know the play you know it’s pretty dark and contains a lot of politics, social issues and death to say the least. At the moment it could really speak to a lot of people I feel and so when I was asked if I would like to help with its development into a musical I felt this was something that could voice some of the issues we are facing especially after the recent political changes in our world both in the US and in the UK. Being a new work it’s in early stages but the creative team and the cast I am currently working with have been a pleasure to explore with and despite my character being a little older than myself it’s been a great opportunity to really research and dive into the deep end with this piece.
Q: What are your hopes and plans as a performer for 2017.
A: 2017 is already looking encouraging as not only have I been asked back to repeat roles in two performances, one as an actress and the other as a choreographer I had the opportunity of working on this year, I have also started a new collaborative project to challenge barriers we face as performers from overseas and are looking forward to working with my creative and wonderful team in creating new work and personal projects with like minded people who also have a thirst to be proactive and share their talents in all mediums.
For more information on KT Thomas visit: www.k80ktt.com