Get Technical: Studying Design and Tech Theater Can Bring Dance Students New Understanding of Their Craft

By Wingenroth, Lauren | Dance Magazine, May 2017 | Go to article overview

Get Technical: Studying Design and Tech Theater Can Bring Dance Students New Understanding of Their Craft


Wingenroth, Lauren, Dance Magazine


Though technical theater is an integral aspect of most dance works, many performers don't study it in-depth, if at all. But a familiarity with all the elements that make a piece come together--from costume, light, set and sound design to stage management to crew work--can give college dancers a new creative perspective and an invaluable resume boost.

MAKE TIME FOR TECH

* Take a class. Many schools have classes available within the dance or theater departments that provide introductions to various technical elements.

* Volunteer for your peers. Student dance groups and students choreographing for department shows are often looking for peers to contribute lighting, sound, costumes and sets to their work.

* Land a side gig. At UNT, Adam Chamberlin has chosen dance students to work in the school's scene shop.

* Design your own work. Execute your choreographic vision from start to finish by designing all the tech components yourself.

FESTIVAL CONNECTION

Technical skills can be your ticket to a summer festival. American Dance Festival and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival both offer paid production internships, where students get hands-on tech experience and have the opportunity to take classes and attend performances for free.

FOR CHOREOGRAPHERS: WHY DO TECH?

Assert your vision. Student choreographers who've taken design classes "know the questions to ask designers instead of getting steamrolled by them," says Adam Chamberlin, associate professor of lighting and sound design at University of North Texas. …

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