by Sue Webber
An Osseo High School graduate is appearing as the lead dancer in Collide’s Broadway-style dance musical Sept. 19 to 29 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis.
Jeff Quast, who grew up in Maple Grove and graduated from Osseo Senior High School in 1997, plays the part of Frank Dougherty in “The Belmont Hotel.”
One of the production’s ensemble dancers is Alannah Renstrom, a native of Maple Grove who graduated from Maple Grove Senior High School in 2008.
The story centers on hotel owner Dougherty’s determination to provide for his family during the 1920s Prohibition Era. When he is faced with the prospect of having to close the hotel, he is forced to make a decision that can put his life, and that of his family, in great danger.
Quast has been a professional performer, choreographer and teacher in the dance industry for more than 15 years. He has appeared in more than 30 professional productions worldwide. He also has performed at Tokyo Disneyland, aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 and several seasons in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Since returning from New York, Quast has been seen at the Ordway, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre and The Minnesota Opera. He currently is a member of Collide Theatrical Dance Company, and serves as assistant associate choreographer. Quast also serves as choreographer for local theatres and companies, as an adjudicator for dance competitions and teaches master classes at dance studios and schools.
“I grew up in the Metropolitan Boys Choir, but then I got into dance and decided to focus on dance,” Quast said.
While still in high school, he was at the Butterfield Gallery of Dance in Maple Grove. He received a bachelor’s degree in dance performance at Oklahoma City University, and then spent a year in Japan.
”It’s been an exciting career,” Quast said. “There are so many opportunities out there.”
Renstrom has been dancing for 18 years, including seven years at Larkin Dance Studio and seven years at The Dance Shoppe, now Summit Dance Shoppe.
She also was a varsity dancer on the Maple Grove Senior High dance team, and helped the team win the state championship in 2008.
She was named “Dancer of the Year” at the American Dance Awards in 2002.
During the past three years, Renstrom taught at Legacy Dance Studio in Oakdale. Having recently finished school, she now is working at Whole Foods in Maple Grove.
Renstrom said she hopes to keep performing and teaching.
Her work with Collide’s production of “The Belmont Hotel” has been “really fun,” she said.
Renstrom has a degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in counseling.
“I would like to eventually be a dance and movement therapist,” she said. “That would combine the best of both worlds, dance and counseling. It will take a lot more schooling to do that, but that’s my ultimate goal.”
Collide is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit theatrical dance company that collaborates with Twin Cities dancers, musicians, vocalists, actors, spoken words artists, playwrights, choreographers and directors to create original Broadway-style jazz dance musicals.
Tickets are available at collidetheatrical.org. Ticket prices include complimentary wine and beer to patrons over the age of 21.
All performances are at The Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave., Minneapolis. Information: [email protected] or 646-436-8853.
Contact Sue Webber at [email protected]