"There was a great deal of fight choreography, by the talented Alison Dornheggen, and it was organic in a way that stage violence often isn't,"
- Angela Allen, ChicagoStageStandard.com
The pandemic inspired a lot of positive changes in the professional theater industry, raising internal standards for the quality of work environments it asks its artists to create within. One of those developments is including an Intimacy Designer / Choreographer on the production team. Though the concept of Intimacy design and choreography began as early as 2016, creating equitable work environments required producing entities to take greater care and develop an awareness of what exactly we ask actors to do, especially when it comes to physical intimacy on any level.
I have spent time researching the teaching of Chelsea Pace, the leader behind the Intimacy Design / Choreography movement, and what I have realized is how the concepts and approaches being taught are valuable tools throughout all production elements. I have been incorporating the ID principles into my work as a Fight Choreographer as well as my base knowledge of trauma. Combining these approaches has changed the way I work with actors, and I am excited to say it has changed for the better. Being able to protect actors while they maintain their artistic integrity as well as doing justice to the story makes all the difference.
Fight Choreography Credits
CLUE* (Opens 10/22, adapted from screenplay) Sandy Rustin Mercury Theatre Chicago PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT* Stephan Elliot & Allan Scott Mercury Theatre Chicago SKATES A New Musical* Christine Rae & Rick Briskin HHWTS Productions MACBETH William Shakespeare Chicago Academy for the Arts JULIUS CAESAR William Shakespeare Chicago Academy for the Arts SHE KILLS MONSTERS Qui Nguyen Chicago Academy for the Arts MACBETH William Shakespeare Chicago Academy for the Arts SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE Tom Stoppard and Lee Hall Maine South High School FOOTLOOSE Dean Pitchford Wilmette Center for the Arts GUYS AND DOLLS Frank Loesser Wilmette Center for the Arts AS YOU LIKE IT William Shakespeare Chicago Academy for the Arts OLIVER! Lionel Bart Wilmette Center for the Arts ROMEO & JULIET William Shakespeare Chicago Academy for the Arts L'IMBECILE Aaron Adair Babes With Blades Theatre Company PETER PAN JM Barrie Wilmette Children's Theatre THE NUTCRACKER Pytor Tchaikovsky Wilmette Center for the Arts LYSISTRATA Aristophanes American University MACBETH William Shakespeare National Cathedral School THE ODYSSEY Gregory A. Falls and National Cathedral School Kurt Beattie ‘NIGHT MOTHER Marsha Norman 20% Theatre Company Chicago DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE Christopher Marlowe Camenae Ensemble Theatre BABES WITH BLADES: Various Babes With Blades Theatre Company CLIFFHANGERS§ THE LONESOME WEST Martin McDonough Buffalo Theatre Ensemble BABES WITH BLADES: THE Various Babes With Blades Theatre Company MUSIC VIDEOS§ MARISOL Jose Rivera greasy joan & co. DAVID & LISA James Reach College of DuPage THE COMEDY OF ERRORS William Shakespeare greasy joan & co. * Denotes Fight and Intimacy Choreography § Co-Fight Choreographer (within ensemble)
Assistant Fight Choreography and Fight Consultant Credits
ALL MY SONS Arthur Miller Oak Park Festival Theatre DEATHTRAP Ira Levin Buffalo Theatre Ensemble ACCOMPLICE Rupert Holmes Buffalo Theatre Ensemble
Education Masters of the Arts Candidate and Graduate Fellow, American University Bachelor of the Arts in Directing and Acting, Columbia College Chicago Instructor: David Woolley, Fight Master, S.A.F.D. S.A.F.D. National Actor’s Ensemble Workshop, Celebration Barn Instructors: J. Allen Suddeth, K. Jenny Jones, David Woolley
Related Experience - SAFD trained in unarmed, rapier & dagger, Small Sword, Broadsword, Sword and Shield, Knife, Quarterstaff, and Single Sword - Teaching Assistant to John McFarland at Columbia College Chicago - Ensemble member, Babes With Blades Theatre Company - greasy joan & co emeritus member (active company member, 2001-2003) - Recipient of the Saints Morton M. Friedman Award for excellence in the Arts
References available upon request
Photo credit: BWBTC's production of Girl in the Iron Mask, photo by Johnny Knight