Casey catches Saturday Night Fever
CASEY Davis is singing, dancing and living proof that through determination and self-belief you can accomplish your dreams.
But recalling her younger years singing along to her parents' Bee Gees CDs and dancing under the guise of her older sister, Alex, Casey never envisioned these were the beginnings of a career that would have her leap from Emerald to centre stage in her first professional production.
After years of study with the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, the recent graduate of Jason Coleman's Ministry of Dance has landed a role in the StageArt West End revival of Saturday Night Fever - based on the 1977 film starring John Travolta.
"It (auditioning) was a big process, it's exciting to get a contract," Casey said of her role alongside industry professionals, in the production opening tomorrow night at Melbourne's Chapel off Chapel theatre.
"I secured it two months before I graduated - that was my goal before my last course of study in Melbourne."
Trained by her sister and visiting teachers from a young age at the Emerald Academy of Dance, the rising star first encountered musical theatre when she moved to Melbourne in pursuit of her performing passion.
Now, whether in character as one of the Latino women, playing the saxophone in the band or busting a move in a dance battle, Casey is constantly on stage throughout the musical - losing herself in the performance.
"You always tell a story and get to be someone else," she said.
Casey said the biggest challenge was to shake the comfort of growing up in a small town to walk, talk and interact like a woman in downtown Brooklyn during the 1970s."You have to think what it was like for women then - you couldn't walk down the street without feeling unsafe," Casey explained. "It's hard when you come from a good family in a small-town community, always feeling safe and knowing everyone."
In her downtime, Casey's dedication to dance does not waver, working at a theatre restaurant and teaching on mornings and weekends between rehearsals five days a week.
Despite her busy schedule, Casey often returns to her roots in Emerald, following in the elegant footsteps of those teachers who inspired and mentored her growing up.
"My sister was my main teacher, and I picked things up from visiting teachers," Casey said of her time at the Emerald Academy of Dance.
"I still come down and teach workshops and stuff like that, commercial dance and musical theatre, things that aren't as big in Central Queensland."
Casey said while she loved her students in Melbourne, she had a "soft spot" for small-town kids, and hoped she could instil some of the confidence that has lead to her own success.
"I have helped them grow up a bit. I love to see how much they have improved since I was there," Casey said of the Emerald Academy of Dance students.
Determined to help the next generation of young dancers land their dream roles, on top of teaching students the original choreography from productions such as Chicago and Hairspray, Casey has a strong message for budding dancers.
"I think dance is always going to be around and it's so much more than just a hobby for me and my sister," Casey said.
"It's good to be passionate about something and go for something. There's that mentality that dance is not a sustainable career or something you do after school.
"I just to use to play the saxophone and dance with my sister after school and now I am in a professional show. It's important to teach kids you can do anything you want, and important with this generation to build up their confidence."