Lights cast a blue glow over a stage filled with haze. A massive projection fills the back of the stage, expanding the space. Music plays, filling the entire theater with sound. To the swell of notes, a dancer enters the stage.
The dancer is Alissa Roseborough, a senior dance major, who is one of the many students involved in the technology for live performance class.
The piece, entitled “Forecast,” is the first of eight that make up the May 11 performance at the Musco Center for the Arts, showcasing the work the students built throughout the semester.
The technology for live performance course was co-created by Alicia Guy, a professor in the dance department, and Don Guy, co-chair of the theatre department. It is a collaboration course that allowed dance students to partner with theatre technology students to build a performance together.
“What students are able to learn in this environment we can’t emulate in the classroom,” Dib Guy said.
The performance combined dance choreography with technical elements like costume, scenic design, lighting, sound and visual effects like projection and recorded video.
Students began coming up with ideas back in February.
“We had multiple weeks of brainstorming. They let us cultivate that energy for weeks, then we really got into the work about a month in,” said senior dance major Raquel Fraticelli.
Alicia Guy emphasized that the dancers and the technology majors worked together to collaborate on their creative processes from the beginning. However, it was not until the day before the performance that all aspects were really able to come together.
“We just put the show completely together and we loaded in yesterday,” she said.
A talk back with the entire ensemble and crew allowed audiences to get insight into the creative process of building the performance.
“You see this really beautiful show and it looks so easy and effortless when in reality, it takes months or years for every show,” Alicia Guy said.
During the post-performance discussion, the students discussed how concepts and ideas changed from the beginning to the showcase as well as all the problems that arose unexpectedly.
“Sometimes things don’t work out and you can’t dwell on it,” Roseborough said.
In addition to those involved in the class coming onstage for the discussion, four special guests from Cirque du Soleil joined in on the discussion after viewing the performance.
They really admired the level of collaboration the students were able to have between departments.
“This type of interdisciplinary understanding and respect isn’t taught anywhere else in the industry,” said Kim Scott, the company manager for “The Beatles LOVE” by Cirque du Soleil.
Yago Pita, the operations production manager for the Cirque du Soleil production, “KA,” agreed.
“Starting it right here, at the beginning, helping students understand how we need each other, it is amazing,” Pita said.
Allison Burke, a ’14 dance and public relations and advertising alumna who is a dancer in “The Beatles LOVE,” also attended the performance and discussion.
She encouraged students in the production to keep up the energy and passion they displayed in through the showcase.
“Don’t ever give up that fire of just being positive and always working your hardest,” Burke said.