On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, an evening of original work created by select dance and theatre technology majors from course entitled “Technology for Live Performance” will be presented in the Musco Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m.
The course and presentation, featuring unique dance numbers implementing state-of-the-art technology, are co-created and co-directed by Alicia Guy, associate professor of dance and Don Guy, associate professor of entertainment technology. This is the first time a collaboration course of this magnitude has been offered at Chapman University.
Spencer Biggs, junior dance major, acknowledges that this class is important for the future of dance and technology students.
“Future students of both dance and technology will have the opportunity to not only see how these two worlds can work together, but actively engage with one another to create art that neither could produce on their own,” Biggs said.
“Technology for Live Performance” will showcase an evening of original work created by select dance majors and technologists. The presentation will include a post show talkback featuring the student creators and special guests from Cirque du Soleil immediately following the performance.
This class is the first of it’s kind and has been the product of years of partnership between Professors Alicia and Don Guy and Kim Scott, Cirque du Soleil company manager, stemming from the Entertainment and Technology Symposium, which occurred in the Fall of 2011, 2012 and 2013 on campus. The partnership seeks to evolve class curriculum to mirror industry standards.
Margot New, a sophomore theatre technology major, has embraced the challenges this course has presented, knowing it will be a learning experience.
“This course gives me the chance to learn technologies I’d typically not have the chance to access,” New said. “I have learned skills that I know will be valuable to me in my professional career.”
This educational partnership and philosophical approach to training students has proven to be successful by Chapman students gaining employment and internships with Cirque du Soleil. Chapman University alumna Allison Burke (’14, dance major) has been hired as a dancer for “The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.” Burke will be on-campus for the presentation to assist Alicia Guy.
"My endless gratitude goes to Alicia and Don Guy for bringing Cirque du Soleil's industry professionals to Chapman University year after year to educate and inspire us to not only work hard, but to dream big,” Burke said. “Alicia and Don's dedication to providing their students with opportunities to connect and learn from the best of the best in the industry is nothing short of amazing.”
Burke’s employment with Cirque du Soleil has been a dream come true, said Alicia Guy. Andrea Dobbins, senior dance major, recognizes the Burke’s career began with the partnership between Alicia and Don Guy and Cirque du Soliel.
“As Allison’s peer, I am so proud of her accomplishments,” Dobbins said.
The students, who divided into groups to produce seven unique dance pieces, have been producing and designing the pieces all semester. Alina Novotny, a senior theatre technology major, is excited to present the work done in class.
“It is an opportunity for technicians to expand our horizons within the industry and an opportunity to work with our peers to create a genuinely collaborative project,” Novotny said.
Parker Blakely, a junior dance major, has found that the collaboration between students has made this course a unique learning experience, unlike any other course he has previously taken.
“Being a dancer and thinking about our artistic vision can affect the greater population truly means something,” Blakely said. “I have grown a lot in how I can approach how to collectively create a work of art but also also my artistic voice to be heard.”
“Through this interdisciplinary course, our goal is to provide our students with the skills needed to compete in this highly competitive industry,” Don Guy said. “These skills will allow our students to not only work in traditional settings, but to seek employment in theme parks, cruise lines, TV, film, industrials, casinos, concerts, etc. This fact alone separates us from ‘traditional’ training programs and ties directly to Chapman’s Academic Strategic Plan of providing visionary, innovative and interdisciplinary curriculum.”
The presentation of class work on Wednesday, May 11 in the Musco Center for the Arts is open to the public and is free for all attendees.