Fundamentals of Theatrical Design
by Karen Brewster and Melissa Shafer
Allworth Press, 2011
In a Nutshell: A thorough textbook that defines elements of design with exercises to implement them into your own productions.
As a dance teacher, you’ve worn multiple hats—role-switching from choreographer to lighting technician, costume maker or set designer. Next time you’re faced with unfamiliar territory, Fundamentals of Theatrical Design can give you a leg up. Written by East Tennessee State University associate professor of theater Karen Brewster and scenic lighting designer/technical director Melissa Shafer, this 284-page text (including an index and a 42-page appendix with glossary, light-design graphics charts and design guides) is primarily geared toward theater productions. But the step-by-step breakdown of the design process makes it a great resource for any director.
Beginning with a guide to analyzing and understanding a work in order to make valid design choices, the text then defines production elements and lays out design principles and visual composition. A chapter on collaboration is especially helpful when working with a team of professionals—how can you communicate and relay your ideas to designers in a clear and understandable fashion? Finally, the text offers the basics of lighting design (types of lights, rig layouts and color theory), costume design (figure drawing, fabric types, renting, implementation and building) and scenic design (defining space, making technical drawings, models and backdrops). And every chapter ends with four or five exercises to aid in each step of the design process.
Want a free copy of this resource? Visit www.dance-teacher.com and enter to win!
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.