The Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Neck’s (BGCNN) signature gala event, Reach for the Stars, will be held from 6-9 p.m. October 17 at Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club, 362 Club Drive, Kilmarnock.
The community is invited to participate in a “Night at the Theater,” an evening of music, dance and drama featuring Maureen Henighan Booker as keynote speaker, said Tina Hagen.
Booker is an actor, dancer, choreographer and director. She is the founder and director of Ballet and Beyond . . . A Comprehensive Arts Education Curriculum. In the summer of 2017, she conducted a dance clinic at the club and returned in the summer of 2019 to train two talented BGCNN members, Nimiyah Williams and Alexis Franklin.
At this event, they will dance and sing “Titanium.” Booker also has collaborated with and coached teen director Ulysses Turner, who will sing “History Has its Eyes on You,” from the Broadway hit musical “Hamilton.”
Booker trained at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.
She has taught dance and theater for 25 years, said Hagen. She taught at the Freedom Theatre of Philadelphia, The Eleone Dance Theatre, The University of the Arts, The Walt Whitman Theater in Camden, N.J., and The Evolutionary Arts Repertory Company in Miami, Fla.
Her concert dance career began with the Philadelphia Dance Company and her acting career began at the Freedom Theatre Repertory Company in Philadelphia. She has performed both nationally and internationally in musical theater, drama and concert dance.
Booker is both a teacher and a mentor of Leslie Odom Jr., a star of stage, screen and music who won a Tony Award in 2016 for his role as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton.” Since he walked into her studio at the age of 14 their relationship has evolved from student and teacher to mentor and fellow performer. Of relevance to club youth is her teaching about the fundamentals of performance and the importance of honing the crafts of acting, dancing and singing. She also has lectured about the demands and requirements of the arts and the business savvy excellence that is required to be a professional.
At “Reach for the Stars,” Booker will illuminate the importance of program funding for the development of artists, as well as the necessity of consistent, disciplined training.
Booker received formal education at Hampton University, where she studied speech communication and theatre arts, and Goucher College where she graduated with a bachelor’s in dance performance and choreography. She continues to train and perform professionally. Her most treasured advice to her students is “Hone your Craft!”
Tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased at bgcnn.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.