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Hats off!

by: photo by DAVID STROUP, Hats Off to Broadawy is Clackamette Youth Ballet's big review for 2006.

This year's Clackamette Youth Ballet review will be the biggest yet - but wait 'til next year.

'The total cast number - I think we're at about 44 to 46,' instructor Keith Walls said. 'We have some kids coming from Idaho too.'

'I think they're really excited - this is the third time we've done it. The first time was in 2001, and it was a much smaller cast - I think I had 12 girls… and then a cast of adults of eight.

'Last year we did it - in 2005 - that cast was 32. And now we're increasing - it's growing.'

The review is now in rehearsals at the Barclay theater in Oregon City, on 12th Street.

'We just started putting it together in May,' Walls said. 'I have musical theater classes I teach - and then I take those kids and start working on them on numbers. We have an open audition in May, and that's when we pull in more people and add them to each number, and add some more numbers.'

The performance will include dancers now working with Jaqueie Kunzman's Senior Camp (see story page A9), where they're training under guest instructor Jian-Min Hao. 'They finish out their two weeks here with an actual performance.'

The performance itself includes more than just ballet - it's all over the musical map.

'It incorporates ballet with other types of musical theater,' Walls said.

'I've taken a lot of numbers from different musicals,' he said. 'Big, pretty well-known shows. I've also additional creative things - we've done some stuff with the character of Madeline and the 12 little girls from that story book, and brought our little musical dance to that - which includes a little ballet.

'We've taken some liberties with some other well-known numbers, incorporating them into the show in different areas. I have a narration that runs the show - a storyline with a grandpa character - an older theater director and an old actor, and his two sons are in an old storage area, and they're looking for something.

'At first the audience doesn't know what - then we discover they're looking for a hat. That's why the show is called 'Hats Off to Broadway' - they're digging through old hats from his shows, which end up being the numbers that we're talking about.'

For years CYB has been bringing ballet performances to Oregon City.

'Jacquie [Kunzman] has been in the area her entire life,'Walls said. 'She started teaching - in this building - in the '80s, and she's almost been in this building for 20 years. She founded the Clackamette Youth Ballet 10 years ago - we're celebrating out 10th anniversary this year, so we'll have a big 10-year-anniversary Nutcracker this year.'