Monday, June 6, 2016

Three high school seniors reprise the role of ‘Dreamgirls’ at The Kroc Center

Three seniors from Memphis-area high schools are creating a scene in Ballet On Wheels (BOW) Dance School & Company’s dance production of “Dreamgirls” at The Kroc Center on Saturday, June 4. Two shows are scheduled – a matinee at 2:30 p.m. and an evening show at 7 p.m.
 Kaiah Amira Warr (White Station High), Rheya Amani Traylor (Overton High), and Simone Alexandria Yates (Central High) are reprising the role of the fictional Detroit, Mich., girl group known as the Dream, which is based on the 1981 Broadway musical “Dreamgirls” and the 2006 film version starring Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé Knowles.
 “They are three young ambitious ladies who fit the role,” said Chauniece R. Thompson, BOW’s founder and executive artistic director, Memphis’ first non-profit, professional African-American ballet school and dance company.
Rheya Traylor (left) and Simone Yates are two of three high
school seniors reprising the role of 'Dreamgirls' at The Kroc
Center. (Courtesy photos)
“We want to make sure we are true to the theme and the dance styles in the movie and Broadway (version),” said Thompson. “The dance styles include ballet, modern dance, jazz, juking and hip-hop. And all the dancers are Memphians.”
 “You should come see Dreamgirls. It’s a great adaption of the old play and we’re just telling a great story,” said Warr, one of two lead dancers touting the production via video on the dance company’s website –
Warr has danced since the age of five and started with BOW when she was six. She has studied ballet, hip-hop, modern, improv, contemporary, character and pointe. Her career highlights include performing as “Dorothy” in “The Wiz” in 2012, as the “Scarecrow” in 2013, and played the firefly character “Ray” in the “Princess and the Frog.” Her parents are Kevin and Shelah Warr.
Yates, the second lead dancer, said, “The music is great. The dancing is great. Everything is great about Dreamgirls.” She has danced with BOW since she was 16 years old and studied ballet, African, hip-hop, modern, improv, contemporary and pointe.
Yates is a member of BOW’s Senior Company. Her dance credits include a role in “Charlotte” in the 2014 version of “The Princess & the Frog.” Her parents are Stephen and Lydia Yates.
Performances include several
dance styles such as ballet, modern
dance, jazz, juking and hip-hop.
Traylor has been dancing for 10 years. She enjoys modern dance, but ballet is her favorite genre of dance. She played “Aunt Em” in “The Wiz” in 2013 and “Louis” in “Princess and the Frog” in 2014.
Thompson is one of six choreographers who created dance steps for the production. “It’s a phenomenal show,” she said, noting that period-based costumes will be worn by the dancers to add flavor and authenticity.  
“It’s a never-before-seen dance production,” said Thompson, who worked on the production for about 3 ½ months. “It’s a show the Memphis community will definitely want to experience.”
“Dreamgirls” is BOW’s end-season production. The class schedule starts in September and ends June 2017. Summer dance camp for beginners is now underway. Children 3 – 18 can join.
 For more information about “Dreamgirls,” or to purchase tickets online, contact Ballet On Wheels at (901) 870-4348 or visit:

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