Starting 7/19/24, 6:30:00 pm: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Erin Helm

From as early as I can remember I was watching old movie-musicals, most notably, the movie musicals of Gene Kelly. I dreamed about doing what he did so my parents enrolled me in studio dance classes at the tender age of three. They also enrolled me in theatre classes where I studied Viola Spolin’s theatre games. Throughout my 14 years of studio and private lessons I received intensive training in ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary.

After high school I began courses at the University of Iowa as a theatre and dance major. I was then given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to New York City and attend an invitation-only workshop with Tony-winning choreographer, Christopher Gattelli (Newsies, My Fair Lady 2018, The Cher Show, etc.). After this incredible experience learning the Broadway choreography and dancing alongside the Newsboys of the production, I got word I was accepted into The Performing Arts Project at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. There I studied choreography, dance, and theatre from an amazing staff of Broadway professionals, highlights below. The dance faculty included talents such as two-time Tony nominee and Olivier Award Winner, Gavin Creel, Tyler Hanes (Cats, On The Town, Hairspray, Sweet Charity, Choreographer – “Dancing with the Stars”), Ryan Kasprazak (Bandstand, Billy Elliot, Fosse, Choreographer – “So You Think You Can Dance,” NBC’s “Smash”), Andrew Palermo (OBC Wicked, Choreographer – Broadway production of Allegiance, co-founder with Taye Diggs of, Diedra Goodwin (Broadway – A Chorus Line 2006 Revival, Nine, Chicago, Funny Girl, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Movies – “Every Little Step,” Chicago), Susan Misner (Movies – “Chicago,” TV – “The Americans,” “Nashville,” “Gossip Girl”), as well as, many other notable artists.

Since returning to Iowa I have performed in numerous productions at TCR and elsewhere and have choreographed at TCR (Annie, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, My Fair Lady, The Full Monty, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Shakespeare in Love) and at Washington High School (The Addams Family). I have also served as assistant choreographer and/or dance captain on numerous productions.


If I had to put it into a few words I would say “collaborative storytelling.” My first concern is always the story, what does the audience need to learn and experience from this performance? Dance adds to the visual spectacle of musical theatre, but it should always serve the story. I believe the audience should see something progress in the plot and characters in each number. I work closely with the director and music director to create a cohesive show, all three elements working together. I love dance and helping others discover they too can dance. The volunteer experience is incredibly important to me. In my time performing at TCR I know people come here to enjoy friends, create art, and grow! As a choreographer I want to help performers grow and feel proud. We will have loads of fun and come out feeling accomplished when that curtain closes.