Teaching Resources

Fundamentals of Theatrical Design

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!

Dancer Health

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored