Kelli Barclay’s choreography career began at age four when she declared to her ballet teacher, “It feels better to the music like this!” From a very early age she studied a wide variety of dance techniques and styles. An avid lover of the movie musical, she spent many hours of her childhood watching Cyd Charisse, Ginger Rogers, Vera Ellen, Gwen Verdon, Ann Margaret, Shirley MacLaine and Juliet Prowse and striving to emmulate their every move!
Right out of high school she got her AEA union card and left Texas to follow her dreams as a performer. During the first National Tour of Singin in the Rain, choreographed by Peter Gennaro, she met Lee Theodore who encouraged her to come to NYC for further study. It was there that she met Randy Skinner, her mentor, and worked alongside him on many Broadway musicals including, Ain’t Broadway Grand, 42nd Street (Revival), Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (all earning Tony nominations for Best Choreography,) Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair and four City Centers Encore’s productions. Overseeing and maintaining Mr. Skinner’s shows has taken Kelli all over the world including Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Canada and even the high seas of the Caribbean.
In addition to her dancing on Broadway, she has done productions including Cabaret with George Chakiris, Pal Joey with Joel Gray, Girl Crazy with Lorna Luft, and Hello Dolly with Nell Carter and Nipsy Russell. She danced in a Broadway Revue on an exclusive world cruise for Royal Cruise Lines and also in two Vegas Revues in Montreal, Canada choreographed by the great Ron Lewis. Kelli was also among a very select few dancers who worked with Gwen Verdon on material that later became the hit Broadway show Fosse. You can hear Kelli’s feet tapping on three CD’s including the Gershwin’s Girl Crazy, Strike Up the Band and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
Kelli’s dance range is very wide. She has choreographed everything from hip hop and Irish step dancing pirates in a feature film Made for Each Other, to dancing “Bums” in City Centers Encore’s production of Pipe Dream. Most recently she created the movement for Jon Brielle’s innovative and provocative work, Himself and Nora which just released a CD that is now available on iTunes and Amazon. Himself and Nora is set to reopen at the American Theatre Group at Hamilton Stage this April. A true lover of the classic musicals as well, Kelli has choreographed everything from How To Succeed in Business.., to Beauty and the Beast, Best Foot Forward, and My One and Only which earned her the Connecticut Critics Circle Award for Best Choreography. She is very excited to announce she will be choreographing Hello Dolly for Goodspeed Opera House’s 50th anniversary season.
A great motivator, Kelli is known for her energy and exuberance as a teacher. Her credits include everything from teaching/choreographing for hundreds of dancers at Superstar (NCA affiliate) and Starmakers Drill Team Camps to teaching at American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in NYC. She has taught for many of the major National Dance Organizations and has also assisted on a Radio City Christmas Spectacular show. She is a popular choreographer among regional ballet companies and is known for her innovative and clever original ballets including “Angels Among Us” starring New York Times best selling author of “Ask Your Angels”, Alma Daniel. Kelli has also choreographed and done residencies and master works for many colleges and dance companies in Regional Dance America. She was also one of ten choreographers to study exclusively at their Choreographer’s Conference.
Kelli resides in NYC with her 11 year old Bichon “Ricky”. You can see her daily “trying out her steps” at Riverside Park while Ricky walks her!!!