Last fall, “Backstage Pass” with behind-the-scenes video by Tom Ramont, gave readers an inside look at The Dance Project’s “Cascade Christmas,” from auditions to performance. “Off Stage” is a chance to meet the cast and crew of the Dance Project without the costumes, choreography or stage make-up. Each profile offers a peek inside their lives, a glimpse of what inspires them to perform and an appreciation for making a living in the arts in the North State.
Dance lessons in the first grade at Redding Dance Center, several dance competitions, a junior high school production of Music in Motion, four years in Enterprise Starship and 13 years as teacher and choreographer for Kids Unlimited led Tiffany Hurley to her role as Company Manager for The Dance Project. But before returning to the North State from Sacramento, she was hired as choreographer for the Runaway Stage Productions theater company, choreographed MTV dance and fitness instructor, Pepper Von in “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and taught tap and jazz with other teachers in the Jabbawockeez hip hop group. I talked to Tiffany about her role with the Dance Project and juggling life’s roles.
I don’t think it’s a secret anymore that you’re expecting a baby. Congratulations! What are you most nervous about? What are you most excited about?
I am most nervous about, gosh!, Time management. Between being a school teacher during the day, choreographer for Starship, Company Manager for The Dance Project, Dance Director of Kids Unlimited, Assistant Director of Music in Motion, a wife and mother… it’s gonna take some juggling. I’m most excited about having a kid! I have always imagined my life with kids, and it’s hard to believe that part of my life is actually starting!
Do you think you’ll end up being a crazy stage mom?
Doubt it. It’s a major pet peeve. I think there are so many talented people out there, there is no reason to be pushy or rude about your kid. My kid could end up playing sports or something else. (I’m a nervous wreck when I watch kids I love play sports).
Was your family supportive of your decision to dance professionally?
Totally! I’ve always had dance in my life, so it was a no-brainer. Plus, when I moved away, I really focused on school and teaching dance, which fulfills a different part of me than dancing and performing. My family was excited to see me on stage again.
In a way, you’re a crazy stage mom to a group of dancers. What is the role of Dance Captain?
As Dance Captain, I’m required to keep everything in my brain. When James (Santos) makes changes to a dance, I have to remember it, in case it comes into question. I answer questions that I can, and am there for a lot of the time that James choreographs. I help with positions, morale, and anything else he needs me for.
What is your most embarrassing stage moment?
Probably the year I got really sick during “A Cascade Christmas.” I was throwing up on the side of the stage in a bucket and then going on stage and performing. James was filming from the side. In one part of the video you can watch me smile and dance when I’m facing the audience and then turn around and dry heave. Everybody got a good laugh at that video.
What is your most memorable Dance Project moment?
There are too many to count. I loved getting to sing and dance in “Once On This Island.” “Cascade Christmas” is part of my Christmas tradition. That will always be in my heart because it kicks off the holidays for me just as much as it does for the audience members.
What is your favorite piece in the Dance Project’s Spring show?
I love watching Jana Parker’s ” I’m Here” from the Color Purple. I have a fun part in “Step in Time” from “Mary Poppins,” so that is fun for me. And I’ve always wanted to dance to “Hot Lunch Jam” from “Fame,” so that is up there on the list too.
If you had to choose another path in life, what would it be?
Chef. I love to cook. I have watched way too many hours of the Food Network and always pick my friends’ brains who have gone to culinary school. I love to bake and decorate what comes out of the oven. In college I’d host “Monday Night Dinners” where about 20 friends would come over and eat whatever big meal I prepared. It made Mondays bearable.
What’s your most show-off dance move?
I don’t know about dance moves, but people talk about my legs a lot. I’m 5’9″, so that gets me noticed. Also, I’ve heard you can see my smile from far away. My parents spent a lot of money on braces.
See Tiffany perform with the Dance Project in the new show, Steppin Out, March 19-27 at the Cascade Theater. For more information, visit thedanceprojectredding.com. For tickets, call the Cascade Theater Box Office at (530) 243-8877 or visit cascadetheater.org.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your Norths State events to firstname.lastname@example.org.