On the Couch with Jacqui Green

Jacqui Green AAR On the CouchWho is Jacqui Green?
I am one of Australia’s leading choreographers, adjudicators, dancers and dance teachers. Most recently I choreographed the 2019 seasons of Les Misérables at the National Theatre and The Wizard of Oz at the Union Theatre, Wicked (2018) at the National Theatre and the 2017 seasons of Shrek JR at the Union Theatre and Honk! JR at the Lawler Theatre, Southbank Theatres, which also toured to the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

As a choreographer and dancer, my credits include The Don Lane Show, The Ronnie Corbett Show, The Midday Show, AFI Awards and Logie Awards. I played the leading role of Cassie in the national tour of A Chorus Line (Mo Award Nomination), and I also featured in productions of Funny Girl, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly and Cabaret. My directorial credits include a tour of Asia and New Zealand as the resident director of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the Really Useful Group.

I have toured internationally with numerous Stage School Australia productions including the 2015, 2016 and 2018 This Is Australia tours of the USA. I have choreographed sell-out seasons of Stage School Australia’s productions of Seussical TYA at the Malthouse, Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR and Disney’s Aladdin JR at the Union Theatre, Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and The Secret Garden (Spring Version) at Southbank Theatre.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I don’t think I would change anything really. Everything I’ve done had led me to now and I’ve still got lots things that I want to create. I just have to find the time! There are dance pieces I’d love to choreograph, a musical I would love to sit down and write, and other great ideas in my head that one day I look forward to getting down onto paper.

Who inspires you and why?
On a professional level dancers and performers who have to put themselves out there, on display, and on the line to practice their craft. It inspires me to see both young and more experienced performers completely embrace a role. The audience can sense it and it can move people deeply, but this takes energy and focus.

On a personal level it’s not entirely dissimilar. I’m inspired by people who may be having a run of bad luck or circumstance and they just get on with it. Whether that’s a single parent who has to get up every day and feed the kids, go to work and generally keep life in order; or at the moment all the people, farmers and communities affected by the fires that have been knocked down but so many are saying they are committed to rebuilding lives and homes.

And of course all the incredible firies and volunteers who are going above and beyond, putting their families and lives on hold to work so hard to put out the fires and save the lives of people and wildlife.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think the world could use a lot more compassion at the moment. I hope through my work with Stage School Australia that we create a safe place for kids to express themselves in a human way – a break from screen time so there’s no photos, no judgments, likes, emojis or whatever else kids do on social media. It’s my career, so forgive me if this sounds a bit grandiose, but I think music and dance are so important because they bring people together and break down barriers. Even if you don’t understand the words, song and dance are a universal language to convey emotion.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I don’t really have a favourite to be honest. Every holiday is first and foremost a holiday – with time to relax or adventure depending on the location – so what’s not to love!  There’s also a lot to be said for a stay-cation to unwind and just hang out with friends and family.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
A mix of city, country and sea. I love taking people through the Yarra Valley to enjoy the rolling countryside hills and the wineries, and also up along the Great Ocean Road for all the pounding surf and amazing beaches. Melbourne has so much great shopping that this is also a must. Gives me an excuse to pick up something new as well!

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading the T.S. Eliot poems that CATS is based on – so I can get a better understanding of the different characters, and if I could incorporate any of this into the choreography for the show.

What are you currently listening to?
The score to CATS – there’s not much time for anything else.

Happiness is?
Spending time with my four fabulous children.

What does the future hold for you?
I think I have a very positive outlook on life, but it’s uncomplicated. So far I don’t suffer from any dance arthritis, so as long as I can stay fit, health and keep dancing (even for my own enjoyment), beyond that – who knows!

Jacqui is the Choreographer of Young Australian Broadway Chorus’ production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS which will be presented at St Kilda’s National Theatre: 18 – 25 January 2020. For more information, visit: www.catsmusical.com.au for details.

Image: Jacqui Green (supplied)