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Department ofTheatre and Dance


Spring Immersion Trip to New York

In March 2016 the Theatre and Dance Dept. successfully piloted its first immersion trip to a significant performing arts city. This initiative emerged from our Program Review process to seek innovative ways to connect current students with Theatre and Dance alumni working in theatre and dance at all levels from performing to community social justice work in the arts. Students will travel to Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2017; future trips might journey to Chicago or Los Angeles. Junior and Senior students apply during the Fall Quarter to join the trip.

New York City, March 2016

This past March, the Theatre & Dance department hosted the first annual Spring Break Artistic Immersion Trip. For our first trip, we felt it only fitting to visit the inimitable New York City. Eleven students representing all areas of the Theatre & Dance field (prod/designers, actors, dancers, and historians) along with 5 faculty members traveled to New York for a week of inspiration in the Big Apple. The department called upon our large and active alumni network in NYC to help provide some once-in- a-lifetime experiences for our current students. With the help of this amazing network, our faculty connections and the organizational efforts of our department chair (David Popalisky) and our office manager (Ruth Mikusko), our students attended:

- a “mock” musical theatre audition with dance and acting feedback

- an on-camera acting workshop at a well-known acting studio (Michael Howard Studios)

- a number of Broadway shows highlighted by trips to: An American in Paris and Hamilton. At each of these performances, students were treated to an added bonus of being able to go backstage and meet key players in the shows (Tony award winner Daveed Diggs in Hamilton, for example)

- networking events with alumni (including dinners, meet and greets at the Signature Theatre, and shows)

- lectures and information meetings with Actors’ Equity and ASTEP

- and one-on-one time with faculty mentors 
The goal of the trip was to give the students a combination of sponsored events and free time for them to create and explore their own itineraries. In addition to the events listed above (sponsored by the department), the students were able to see off-Broadway shows, meet and network with working actors, “shadow” Broadway Stage Managers and crew members on Broadway shows, audition for (and get accepted to) graduate school (The Actors Studio at PACE University), visit museums, take dance classes at prestigious dance studios, learn how to navigate the city (for some, it was their first time out of California/the Bay Area), and spend time in reflection with each other and faculty members.

Here’s the master list of shows that our students (depending on their individual choices) saw: An American in Paris, Hamilton, Aladdin, On Your Feet, Something Rotten, Chicago, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Boy, and The Metropolitan Opera.

Because of donations of time, talent and money from our incredible alumni, this trip was considered a complete success for our students. As we intend to continue offering these artistic immersion trips every Spring for our Juniors and Seniors, we will continue to rely on this network in other Theatre & Dance hotbed cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and Ashland!
Theatre and Dance - Immersion Programs