The choreographer behind the upcoming Chicago show at Levin Performing Arts Society has had to swap hip-hop shoes for high heels.
Caitlin Sanson has her roots firmly in hip-hop dancing, but the 20-year-old didn't hesitate to take on the challenge of transitioning to the musical theatre vibe of Chicago, a show that is all about the jazz.
Sanson first began hip-hop dancing at the age of 7 and had been teaching popular genre since the age of 14.
As a dancer and teacher, she was excited by the prospect of choreographing a classic show like Chicago and came up with the routines herself, sourcing ideas from other shows and from the internet.
"It's exciting. I am a hip-hop teacher and don't normally teach the jazzy stuff," she said.
"It's quite a big job, but I like to create my own stuff and go for it. Some songs I have prepped before rehearsal, but other times you play the music and see what comes to mind," she said.
The cast and crew of Chicago had been practising three nights a week since the August auditions ahead of opening night on November 27. Already two of the shows were sold out.
"Everyone's really excited. It's a very good show," she said.
Sanson knows how to squeeze the most out of a 24-hour day. She was currently studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science on her way to a postgraduate teaching degree next year leading to a career as a secondary school teacher.
And if she wasn't busy enough with study, and theatre and dance commitments, she also played rugby and football.
In rugby she played on the wing for the Levin College Old Boys in the Horowhenua-Kāpiti women's rugby competition, finishing second in the final to Rahui, and also played midfielder for the Levin AFC Women's football team.
"I like to squeeze in as much as I can. It doesn't leave much time for anything else but I love getting involved," she said.
She also taught hip-hop for the last six years, holding classes each week for dancers as young as 5 years old.
Like all dancers, she got a kick out of performing and being surrounded by people of like mind. She said it was a real family atmosphere at LPAS.
Following on from Chicago, Sanson was looking forward to choreographing more shows, including one involving younger dancers when LAPS takes on Moana Jr next year.
Working with youngsters on a show as big as Moana Jr was a huge commitment, but Sanson said she wouldn't have it any other way.
"I do it for the of love it. I just do it because I love it," she said.
She had competed in multiple dance competitions around the Wellington region, most recently the National Hip Hop Unite competition where her Mega Crew team from Palmerston North placed second.