PEMBROKE — Two friends, music teacher Timothy M. Altman and dancer Troy McLaughlin, were reunited as McLaughlin arrived Thursday at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke to begin a week-long residency.
McLaughlin will work with the school’s musical theatre students with the effort culminating in a dance and live music performance on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Moore Hall auditorium.
For the free public performance, Altman said that attendees can expect the evening to start off with some solo performances by McLaughlin, followed by some group numbers with the students, and finally he and McLaughlin will share the stage for a number of pieces. The evening will feature jazz, classical and musical theatre numbers.
“This is an opportunity for us to perform together for the first time in 30 years,” Altman said. “He has studied with some of the old school dancers, some really remarkable people … He and I used to be in marching band together. Things sure have changed.”
As teenagers, more than 30 years ago, growing up in Richmond, Va., Altman and McLaughlin were best friends who were as inseparable as music is to dance — until those very two things pulled them apart as Altman pursued a career in teaching instrumental music and McLaughlin’s tap shoes took him across the country, performing in Philadelphia and on Broadway.
“He and I have been talking about doing it for years and the stars just aligned finally,” said Altman, who currently serves as chair for the Music Department at the university, as well as the director of bands and trumpet. “The schedule just worked out. We have a lot of musical theatre students, yet no one here teaches tap, which as you know is frequently needed in musical theatre, so Hal Davis [head of the theatre department] suggested we bring in someone for a residency to give students that experience, and I contacted Troy … I am just very glad he is here.”
McLaughlin holds a bacherlor’s of Fine Arts in jazz dance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied with Judith Jamison, Lavaughn Robinson, members of the Martha Graham Dance Company, the New York City Ballet, as well as Jo Jo Smith’s Dance Factory.
Notable performances in McLaughlin’s career include performing in “Disney’s The Lion King” on Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Starlight Express,” “The Radio City Rockettes Show” and “The Siegfried and Roy Show,” among many others.
McLaughlin has taught at a number of universities, public schools and dance studios and recently served as choreographer for the 2010 film, “Gunless,” starring Paul Gross. Finally, McLaughlin both directed and choreographed for the Norwegian Cruise Line and was a featured tap dancer during the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic games.