Name: LaTrea Derome Rembert, East Liberty
Recent work: Dance captain, The Scottsboro Boys, The REP at Point Park University; choreographer, The Legend of Georgia McBride, barebones productions; assistant director, Coram Boy, Conservatory Theatre at Point Park University
Have you always been involved in dance?
I didn’t start training [at Point Park] until junior year. So I was 21. But I grew up dancing in church. If you turned music on, I could dance. But I didn’t seriously start training until Point Park.
What does a dance captain do?
The role is almost like the director’s right-hand man. Watch the show, know what’s going on, know what every person is doing at every moment. Specifically to the dancers, you know everyone’s choreography and are the go-to for questions about what a move is or where things are happening on the stage. The choreographer might not necessarily be in the rehearsal process the whole time — you’re an extra set of eyes.
And as the choreographer, you’re creating or implementing the movement, which is what you did with The Legend of Georgia McBride, for which the choreography was drag.
Being a performer and having been a dance captain, it was nice to come in and do the choreography, literally just do that — watch and enjoy the show while still a part of it. I don’t do drag, but I’ve done Wig Out as an actor, a play that was in the drag world, so I’m familiar with it.
You work with STAYCEE PEARL Dance Project. Do you contribute to the choreography?
The way she works is that we, as collaborative artists, get the chance to build into it. She’s creating the piece in general, using her ideas and her movement phrases, but often she’ll give us a prompt: “This is where I want you to work from. Give me these specific things. I want to see a swing and a jump and it travels.” We then develop that on our own. She may use it, and we teach it to each other, and it becomes choreography.
Are you looking to create choreography that you’ll perform?
I would love to create my own work, and I have a work that I want to get into the world soon. I would have to do that for myself. Running it all.
What do you like about viewing the stage as opposed to occupying it?
Watching a show come to life. Watching it go from the rehearsal room, in a private and intimate setting, then seeing it transition onto the stage with the technical aspects is incredible. An eye opener I enjoyed is getting to watch how lighting designers work, how sound designers work, how it all works together. I was used to being onstage and, during the technical part of the process, chitchatting and just waiting, versus seeing what and why everyone is writing. The tech people are working their butts off to light you, and you have no clue what you look like, but you look amazing because of their work.
What does it teach you as a performer?
I love sitting in on auditions. Most directors are literally rooting for everyone who walks into the room. I learn so much about how you present yourself. You walk in, and your energy is going to be read because they’re going to be on you, so what do you do with that?
Is there one side that you would choose over the others?
If I can do everything and own every hat that would be great. But I’m going to have to really own them.