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They want to live forever on video

An untitled documentary followed two dozen dancers at a Falls dance company as they prepared for a potential career.
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An untitled documentary followed two dozen dancers at a Falls dance company as they prepared for a potential career.

This is the true story +. of 24 entertainers+picked to perform in a musical showcase+

Work together and have their lives taped +To find out what happens +.

When things start getting "reel."

And it doesn't get more "reel" than a filmmaker documenting your quest for immortality - or at least your first real shot at immortality.

But Step II Productions founder Pat Krzywonos - "Miss Pat" - wanted to do something different with the annual summer showcase, an event where local talent agents scout potential future superstars.

So she approached Bristol Township filmmaker John Woods about creating a documentary that showed the behind-the-scene process of building a potential career-starting production.

Woods, who owns a production company, used Step II students as extras in one of his independent movie projects and he has worked previously with the dance company.

Capturing the personal sacrifices involved in the quest for fame and fortune intrigued him.

"I come from a big family. I've been to a lot of recitals with my sisters," he said.

Also intriguing for Woods is the Falls dance company itself, which focuses more on achieving potential than perfection. "For them, it's like a family," he said. "They put on a good show."

Filming started in May with the open casting call that attracted preschoolers to post-retired, professionals, amateurs and less-than-talented. Woods described the audition footage as similar to what you see on reality TV shows like "American Idol" or "So You Think You Can Dance."

Woods continued following performers through the weeks of rehearsals leading up to Saturday's performances at the Bucks County Technical High School in Bristol Township.

He captured the good, the bad and the off-key. Everything from wrong steps danced to star-making performances and the elation and frustrated of cast and crew as they strive for perfection.

"Some days I'd come out of rehearsal going, 'What was I thinking," Krzywonos said. "It's a lot of blood and sweat and tears, but it's so true."

At age 69, Philadelphia resident Jerry Carrier is the oldest cast member. Cameras don't faze the retired newspaper copy editor turned professional actor.

Carrier has since appeared in national tours, TV commercials, even a highway billboard in Lancaster.

Others like Keith Grose were making their first big stage appearance. The 17 year-old Middletown resident's only previous experience involved school-related productions.

Now, he is among the featured performers in Woods' documentary.

The stage has become almost a second home for Keith, who has slight cerebral palsy, a chronic disability affecting body movement. But knowing he is being filmed has been a little nerve wracking.

"It adds a little more pressure to be better," he said.

Especially since it potentially could be seen by, oh say, millions of people.

Woods has collected at least eight hours of footage for the as-yet-untitled documentary. After he finishes editing and creating a 5-minute promo, he will shop it around. Already MiND, a local public TV station, has expressed interest, he said.

Imani Marshall, who secured a chorus role, said the filming wasn't distracting.

"It's not bad. It's actually kind of fun."

As far as the 15-year-old Bristol girl knows, the most embarrassing thing Woods has captured her doing is falling - three times.

See DANCERS Page xx