Fine Arts Students of the Week: 2 students take on choreography for ‘Oklahoma!’

The Brainerd High School is performing the musical ‘Oklahoma!’ which has a lot of dancing in it. Two students took over the choreography for four huge numbers and helped a majority of the actors who did not have dance training.

pose for a photo during rehearsal Thursday, April 15, 2021, at Tornstrom Auditorium in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Kylie Brenny and Lily Medved-Charpentier

Art focus: Brainerd High School Theater.

Adviser nomination: “The musical ‘Oklahoma!’ has a lot of dancing in it, and Kylie and Lily have done a tremendous job taking over choreography for four huge numbers in the spring musical at BHS. The majority of the actors do not have dance training, and Kylie and Lily are extremely patient with them. They even choreographed a tap number in "Kansas City" with four actors that had no tap experience. I honestly do not know what I would have done this year without Kylie and Lily! They are phenomenal dancers and brilliant teachers!” Theater Director Karla Johnson stated.

How did you both get involved in the choreography in the musical? Lily said, “I worked on it last year with (a student) who had done it before and so she kind of helped me get into it. I told Miss J (what students call Johnson), ‘I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it on my own’ so I roped Kylie into it and it’s been a team effort ever since.”

Tell me about your dance experience: Kylie said, “I have been a dancer at Music General for 14 years. This is my senior year. I started when I was 3 and since I was 6, I’ve been in the company line, the competitive lines. I dance about three days a week, about 15 hours a week. Tap is definitely my favorite (genre of dance), but I've done jazz, lyrical, hip hop ballet, a number of styles, and it's something that I love and I hope to continue doing.”


Lily said, “I've been dancing since I was 3. This will be my 13th year. Next year, I'm going to be a senior and I've been dancing the exact same as Kylie. It's been pretty intensive, dancing three days a week. I've also been an assistant teacher for two years and this year I took a break, so it's nice to be back into teaching in a different setting.”

How tough was it to teach nondancers for this musical: Kylie said, “I have been teaching at Music General for about four or five years. I teach all sorts of different classes so I'm really used to teaching people who have no idea what dance is when they first start out. So it's normal for me. It's definitely more challenging, but it's also very interesting and eye-opening. Things you thought would be hard, they picked up very easily and things you thought would be pretty easy to learn were the things they tend to struggle with. So it's just very eye-opening to see from someone who's not a dancer, what is actually the most difficult to get and what is easy.”

Lily said, “I went from teaching little kids, ages 7 and 8, to coming here. So it's really interesting to see what pieces they pick up differently. It's better teaching older kids because they do listen and try to comprehend what you're saying. ... And it's been actually really nice to get to know them as well.”

What was hard/easy to teach? Kylie said, “What I thought was going to be hard was in the beginning of the tap section. I made it quick as Lily wasn't there. I was surprised how easily, especially the lead (actor) picked it up. I thought it would take a lot more going over it, but we only had to go over that specific section a few times. One thing that I thought would be easy but was really difficult was I did kind of a box set. So, like a grape vine where you change directions just around your partner and you make a box. We took about 20 minutes to get that to work right, and It was not something I expected would be a challenge.”

Lily said, “The interesting thing with kids is you give them a foundation. So right in the beginning you're teaching them all the steps and then how to put them together. They have a tougher job because they don't know the steps, originally, and they just have to cut them together. With the high school students, they are older and are all smart. They have been able to figure it out really well.”

Were you two ever interested in joining theater? Lily said, “I was really interested in theater when I was younger, but I just haven't been able to for the last couple years because I've been so busy. But it's nice to be still involved in it without as much of the pressure.” Kylie said, “I like watching theater a lot. I particularly like the dancing. Everyone in my family has told me to be an actor, but I’m really not good at singing. So when it comes to musicals, I can’t sing.”

How do you guys work together? Lily said, “Kylie and I balance each other out very well. I bring a lot of ideas to the table and Kylie finds the spot for them. It’s just how we work together, so it's been really nice. I don't know what I'm gonna do without her next year. ...she's not going to be here to help me next year.

“She’s my closest friend. We weren’t really friends before this year, so it’s been really interesting. We went from not really being friends to spending five six days a week together, so it’s been really cool.”


Kylie Brenny

Grade: Senior.

Age: 17.

Memorable fine arts achievement: Winning the Industry Dance Award for Best Tap Performance in 2016 with Music General.

Artist most admired: Travis Wall.

Other fine arts activities: Dance (tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, lyrical)

Dream job: Radiologist.

Favorite movie: “Catch Me If You Can.”

Favorite TV show: “How I Met Your Mother.”


Favorite book: Hunger Games Series.

Favorite song: “Falling” by Harry Styles.

Favorite singer: Harry Styles.

Favorite restaurant: Olive Garden.

Favorite subject: Spanish.

Perfect meal: Fettuccine Alfredo followed by chocolate cheesecake.

Biggest pet peeve: People not honoring their commitments.

Sports/clubs: Dancer at Music General, Brainerd High School Key Club and National Honors Society.


Hobbies: Dance, Alpine Skiing, camping, reading, tubing, paddleboarding.

Parents: Randy and Amanda Brenny of Baxter.

Lily Medved-Charpentier

Grade: Junior.

Age: 16.

Favorite movie: “10 Things I Hate About You.”

Favorite TV show: “Supernatural.”

Favorite book: “All the Light We Cannot See.”

Favorite song: “Iris.”


Favorite band: Queen.

Favorite subject: History

Perfect meal: Spaghetti with mushrooms.

Biggest pet peeve: Chewing with your mouth open.

Sports/clubs: Dance at Music General.

Hobbies: Dance and photography.

Parent: Susan Wallin, Nisswa.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.
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