LIMELIGHT: Danny Austin
Danny Austin is the associate choreographer of 'Jersey Boys'.
Where were you born?
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
My mother’s grandparents were Syrian refugees who settled in Nova Scotia, Canada. They all loved to sing and dance. My grandmother and all my aunts and uncles were beautiful ballroom dancers. Throw in the Celtic community and they all had a love for step dancing too!
How did you first get into dance?
My mother put me into tap dancing when I was five. She really had no choice. I was living out every Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly film any chance I could.
What is your earliest memory of dancing?
My first memory dancing was mom teaching me an Irish jig and jiving in the kitchen. My parents were incredible jive dancers. I loved watching them dance together. They had this unique style and rhythm that only an intimate couple could own.
What was your first public performance?
My first public performance was singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” full voice on the top of the picnic table at a family gathering. I might have been four. I also used to tap dance while my grandad played the fiddle at local festivals.
What was the first show you worked on as a choreographer?
First show I choreographed was a nightclub revue in the eighties at the Diamond Club in Toronto. Sergio Trujillo [now choreographer of Jersey Boys] was one of the dancers.
What is the most challenging aspect of Sergio Trujillo's choreography?
Sergio’s style is so specific to him and his innate musicality. His work is incredibly detailed. Allowing the actors to live in his style and make it their own is the most wonderful challenge.
What has been your most challenging role to date?
The most challenging role to date Associate Choreographer for Jersey Boys. An absolute labour of love.
What is your pet hate?
Tardiness. I am always on “Broadway Time” early, prepared and, to quote my friend Jerry Mitchell, “Full Out” every time!
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Josephine Baker. Now that’s a life! I would say “Hey Girl, tell me EVERYTHING!!”
What occupation would be furthest from your true nature?
Anything underground. I love the sky too much.
What word(s) would you use to describe your feet?
Thelma and Louise. My feet are my renegade heroes.