For the annual Goochland County Public Schools G21 project, Dance Teacher, Melissa Black and Theatre teacher, Neil Burch, teamed up to create a project that focuses on the technical elements of Theatre, emphasizing in the subject of lighting.
The project was a collaborative effort of Mr. Burch’s Theatre Arts II/III class and Ms. Black’s Dance Company. Each year, the GHS Dance Company puts on a Spring Dance recital. Members of the GHS Dance Company work together to choreograph a variety of dances that include ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, and modern.
The project first began in the Theatre Arts classroom. Through a keynote presentation, Mr. Burch taught a lesson on lighting for different performance styles. Students learned the importance of effectively lighting a dancer’s body. Students also learned the differences between spotlights and floodlights, and the purpose of what each lamp serves.
The next step in the process was for the Theatre students to observe the dances they were lighting. Placed into five different groups – each group was responsible for lighting a specific dance. As the theatre students watched, they were required to take notes and fill out a guided worksheet.
After the students observed the dances. Theatre students and dance students met and discussed their thoughts on each dance. This was a great opportunity for both classes. The dance students were able to share their artistic decisions and story of each dance, while the theatre students were able to discuss what lighting options were available for each dance.
Next, each theatre group was trained on the lighting board. Students learned the importance of lighting cues, dim time, and lighting values. Once each group had a general understanding on how to work the lighting board, they then programed cues for the entire Dance Spring Recital.
Once the lighting plot was complete, a select group of theatre students worked the lighting and sound board for the actual performance. Since many of the students working the booth were actors, they began to foster an appreciation for technical crew. More importantly, they discovered the importance of lighting design.
To watch a video on the project, click here.