The International Thespian Festival (ITF) showcases the best high school theatre every year AND offers amazing workshops for students and teachers/adults. A huge benefit of being at ITF is honing your theatre-making skills in almost every area. So, whether you’re a teacher or a student, no matter what you’re interested in learning, there’s likely a workshop dedicated to it! From technical theatre and design to acting, singing, and dance, to marketing and producing, ITF has got you covered. Explore a new aspect of the theatre industry or sharpen the skills you already have! 

ITF’s Broadway dance workshops are always packed, and Broadway veteran Paul Canaan’s offerings in 2022 won’t be any different! We hope you’re registered so you don’t miss the fun! (Deadline for regular pricing ends May 11, 2022 and late registration stays open until June 1, 2022.)

The Benefits of Broadway Dance Workshops

White man in black shirt with black backgroundPaul Canaan, instructor of three of ITF 2022’s must-take Broadway dance workshops, shares his passion this year. He says, “Life is unscripted and passion can shape our choices and can create change for us and the world.”
For example, in his “Raise You Up” workshop (which spotlights choreographer Jerry Mitchell’s Kinky Boots moves), students will learn fun Tony Award®-winning Broadway choreography from the finale of the show (5-inch heels optional … whew!). Paul also talks about the themes of the show: inclusion, not underestimating others, being true to ourselves, and celebrating ALL of our true colors.
Then, in the workshop titled “Broadway to MTV: The Bend and Snap Works Every Time,” students learn how a Broadway show journeys from the reading-and-workshop phase to opening night. Paul told us, “This was one of my all-time favorite shows to originate.” Alongside teaching some sassy “Bend and Snap” choreography, Paul shares first-hand, backstage, insider stories from Legally Blonde: The Musical, The Search for Elle Woods, the MTV reality show and more.
Paul’s third workshop is called “Hammerstein to Hamilton” and explores the history of dance in musical theatre. Students will explore the most influential choreographers of our time from Agnes de Mille (Oklahoma!, Carousel, Brigadoon) to Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights, Bring It On: The Musical). There’s also an exploration of how to approach story-driven movement.

More Than Just a Dance Instructor

Before Paul was in Kinky Boots, he was in the first Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles doing even more flips and splits than he did in Kinky Boots. Paul says, “It’s always fun to play larger than life characters on stage!”
Paul Canaan in costume as one of the Angels in Kinky Boots on Broadway

Photo by Matthew Murphy

He explained that the difference in the heels for Kinky Boots was that Cyndi Lauper really wanted the stiletto look for the Angels, who are meant to be the embodiment of “fierce,” both in their performances and their costumes. “Which is all good and fine, until you have to do a back handspring in 5-inch skinny heels! So that was tricky to navigate at first, but with practice, I made it work.”
Paul’s passion goes beyond helping his students (of all ages!) understand dance steps. He explained, “I think the business side of theatre is so important to learn. Whether you’re an actor, dancer, teacher, director, choreographer, stage manager, etc., a good sense of all the different elements that go into a production will make you that much better at your job. That understanding also tends to make you more respectful toward everyone else on your team by knowing the tasks they’re doing for the good of the show.”  ♦ 
Patty Craft is Content Manager for and cannot even walk, much less do back handsprings in 5-inch heels.
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