kelley abbey



dancin' man & dynamite

David Atkins' first big musical theatre shows with the Electric Legs dancers, were a huge success throughout Australia. Kelley featured in both Dancin' Man in 1989, and Dynamite! in 1990.

kelley says

I was so thrilled to be involved with these shows as I didn't think that my career was going to flow into Musical Theatre.

The Electric Legs was an amazing dance group that became the core dance ensemble for these David Atkins shows. I so admired David and was beside myself to be in his shows touring the country and learning the ropes as a Musical Theatre performer. It was also great experience for me to adapt to so many dance styles from different eras which automatically broadened my dance knowledge and vocabulary.

I remember the shows being incredibly demanding being 2.5 hours of constant high energy dancing. This was a great foundation for me to learn about stamina, endurance and the work hard ethic that I still have today.

These two shows spanned over a four year period. It was in Dancin' Man that a casting scout spotted me and asked me to screen test for the role of Jo Jo in E Street.

Kelley with Jacqui Howard and David Atkins in Dancin' Man

Kelley partnering David Atkins in Dynamite!



A pot pourri of all that's best in dance

The quick-change costumes are as dazzling as the high-voltage Electric Legs dance company, whose technique is flawless and energy boundless.
While each of the nine dancers contributes enormously to the success of the show,
Kelley Abbey and Ramon Doringo rate a special mention.
Dancin' Man reviewed by Lauren Marks - 1989

Explosive Mixture

Fans will remember rock singer Jo Jo, the woman who took Wheels (Marcus Graham) away from Channel Ten's E Street. Jo Jo, played by Sydney dancer Kelley Abbey, went to Westside to record a song with Wheels and left with him.
Kelley, who appeared in E Street for two months, is now working on David Atkins' new musical, Dynamite!, which opens at the Footbridge Theatre this Thursday.
The former ballet dancer is no stranger to the stage, having appeared in the hit show Dancin' Man last year, but E Street was her first acting experience.
"It was a first to actually stand there and not be throwing my body around the floor," says Kelley, who would like to do more acting but not at the expense of her dancing. "I had to stop dancing for two months while I did E Street, the first time I'd stopped since I was four. I enjoyed the rest but towards the end of the two months I really missed dancing. I don't think I could ever give up one for the other: I'd probably try to do everything at once."
by Brad Clifton - 1990

Kelley looks to the future as an actress

Kelley Abbey, one of the 'Electric Legs' stars of the David Atkins production, Dynamite!, has her sights set on becoming an actress. Although she says she would never give up dancing, which she has been passionately engaged in since the age of four, Kelley wishes to focus more on an acting career in the future.
An energetic and vivacious 'bundle of dynamite', Kelley Abbey has a powerful presence on the stage of the two and a half hour singing and dancing show, now nearing the end of a four week season at Seagulls Rugby Leage Club.
And her ability to act and to command the total attention of the audience has not gone astray in this highly successful production.
In the show, Kelley has many roles, from an aggressive Puertorican girl out of West Side Story to a flamboyant hippy in the Age of Aquarius. "You really need to be a good actor as well as an all-rounder in dancing. In the show we do every style, including tap dancing," Kelley said.
Kelley has already one foot in the acting door, having appeared in many Australian television shows, specials, award evenings, films and commercials.
Last year, she also played the guest role of a rocksinger, Jo Jo on the popular soapie E Street. "E Street was a lot less demanding than dancing. I really enjoyed it and hope it leads to more opportunities in acting," said Kelley. "I stumbled into acting after the director of E Street saw me perform in Dancin' Man."
David Atkins, choreographer and producer of Dynamite! and Dancin' Man out of last year, is a perfectionist who achieves results through time and discipline, according to Kelley.
"David, and the whole cast of Dynamite!, are wonderful to work with. We are like a little family," she said. "The show took two months to rehearse, which involved six days a week from 10am till 6pm. A company rehearsal is now held once a week."
As a dancer, Kelley, who turned only 24 two weeks ago, has visited many exotic locations around the world, including Zimbabwe, India and China as a part of a cultural dance exchange.
by Helen Burke - 1990