High school students learned a Broadway dance number from a Broadway star Monday.
Sasha Hutchings spent the afternoon at Central High School, where she graduated as valedictorian in 2007. She was in the ensemble for the original cast of “Hamilton,” which debuted on Broadway in 2015. The show won 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, in 2016.
She taught Central dance students the choreography to “My Shot” from “Hamilton.” She also did a workshop with theater students and met with Fine Arts, International Baccalaureate and pre-diploma program students.
“(Hamilton) was an incredible experience, and I think it’s one that really showed me the impact that theater can have across all difference spheres of life and all different walks of life,” said Hutchings, a 2011 graduate of Oklahoma City University with a dance performance degree. “It really is a powerful tool to bring people together, telling and sharing stories. I’m glad to be home in Macon and sharing my very close experience with (‘Hamilton’) with people here.”
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Hutchings has also been in Broadway productions of “Motown The Musical,” “Rocky” and “Memphis.” Last year, she performed in the off-Broadway production “Sweet Charity” and “Singin’ in the Rain” in Austin, Texas, and she’s been teaching and auditioning for new shows in New York City.
Central dance teacher Mary Mattman arranged for Hutchings to come to Central and said it was a year in the making. Hutchings was able to share her experiences with the students and talk to them about what opportunities are available after high school.
“I just think she’s such an inspiration to our students,” Mattman said. “Because she came from (Central), she’s going to be able to give some wisdom on how to get from here to the big leagues.”
Hutchings showed students what they can aim for and how they can do something they love for a career, theater teacher Jennifer Bedwell said. They also saw that what they learn today can apply to their future.
“I always wanted a chance to come back to my high school really because I think it’s such a special program, the mix between the fine arts and the IB program, both of which I was able to be a part of while I was here,” Hutchings said. “With all that I’ve been able to do with my career over the past couple years in New York, it’s really nice to be able to come back and sort of feed that to the students here, that’s it’s not something that’s so intangible.”
She hoped students would learn from her that theater is very accessible and their success can begin with their high school education.
Central students Zarea Bland, Mikara Brown and Jayla Harris said they had practiced jazz and hip-hop styles in their dance class before, but this was their first time learning a Broadway music number.
“We’ve never done Broadway before, and I’m really enjoying it,” said Brown, a senior. “I can’t wait to tell everybody I got a Broadway teacher.”
All three want to pursue careers in dance, but now they’re interested in theater too. Harris, a senior, said she would like to combine acting and dancing together in her profession, then share what she’s learned with others.