Amara Decker – Dance and Theatrical Design

Major:

My major has given me the proper training to be a professional dancer as well as a producer. The education I have received has qualified me to be the one to hire dancers and design productions. My disciplines include; dance, theater, theater design, writing, business, marketing, and communications.

http://amaradecker.plymouthcreate.net/uncategorized/my-interdisciplinary-studies-application-essay/

Applied Project:

My applied project consisted of producing an all dance music video called “Lil’ Red; A Twist in the Tale”, based off the classic story of “Little Red Riding Hood”. This is somethingthat I’ve been wanting to do for a while and it uses all of the disciplines in my major plus more. I learned a lot about the differences between dance on film and dance on stage, but the most important impact that was made in my education was about communication and organization.

http://amaradecker.plymouthcreate.net/uncategorized/lil-red-a-twist-in-the-tale-2/

Research Article:

The topic for my research article was “Controversy in the Performing Arts”. This is a topic that I am very passionate about because there are so many issues in the performing arts world that affect me greatly. Leaning about these issues will be very useful to me when looking for a job.

http://amaradecker.plymouthcreate.net/uncategorized/controversy-in-the-performing-arts/

Conclusion:

My major, applied project, and research article all prepared me to work for a theatrical production company. My interdisciplinary education has brought together all of the disciplines that I am very passionate about and will make a difference in my career as an artist.

 

Lil’ Red; A Twist in the Tale

Here it is! My senior capstone project: Lil’ Red; A Twist in the Tale. This was one of the most challenging, stressful things I have eve had to do. I had to organize everything myself, but of course I had an insane amount of help along the way and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

Let me tell you a few stories about filming days. First of all; I was in the hospital two days before the first filming day. I had insane stomach pain and had to be rushed to the emergency room, and all I could think about was how I couldn’t get sick because I had to film the video. Luckily I was fine the next day and I was all set to go. The second story involves the lovely weather we had during the filming days. The first day I was so cold that my arms turned blue. Thankfully I managed to shoot everything that I wanted to, but it was very frustrating to be dancing on wet muddy leaves, be exhausted, be on a time crunch, and be freezing on top of all that. Then the second day it was so hot out mostly everybody’s clothes were partway off in between takes. Of course that was better than having blue arms, but it was still frustrating and difficult the edit out shadows that we didn’t have the day before because of the sun. The universe wasn’t completely against me though, I had my strengths. I believe the biggest strength I had was how familiar I was with my story. I originally wrote down all of the different camera angles I wanted for each part but when it came to shooting days I barely looked at it. I knew exactly what I wanted and what came next which really helped move everything along quickly.

This project required me to use every single part of my major plus more. I used the dance part of my major obviously to dance and choreograph the entire video. The theater pat of my major was probably the most challenging one to incorporate because I had to act of course but I also had to direct. I’ve had to work with plenty of directors before so I know plenty about directing but acting on film and acting on stage are quite different. I believe acting on film is more personal but a little bit more settle. It was a little difficult to adjust to that at first but after a while I became more comfortable with it. The theatrical design part of my major played a huge part in this production. I had to come up with a setting, I had to design the costumes, and I had to edit the music (which all ending up being amazing in my opinion). All of this was probably the most fun part of the production process. There’s something about the design of a production that is so interesting and amazing. You create so much magic behind the scenes. Writing also had a huge part in this production. I based this story of “Little Red Riding Hood” but I wanted to make the story contemporary and I made the story a little different to make it interesting. One interesting challenge to the structure of this story was the adaptation of the characters. Instead of having a wolf, that character was Lil’ Red’s alter ego. Instead of having a hunter, he was was just a stranger in the woods that happened to see what was going on and he knew he had to help because that happened to him before, and instead of having a Grandma, she was just a friend. These were all a lot to think about.

My goal for this project was to entertain my audience and give them something interesting and different. I wanted to relate to my target audience by putting in things like hip hop dance, and dub-step music but also give them part of their childhood. I absolutely love fairy tales, which is why I thought it would be the coolest thing do this adaptation. So many people thought the same way. They were amazed by it and I couldn’t be happier with it. If I were to do anything different I would hired just one more camera man to help so the pressure wouldn’t have been all on one person, and I would have put aside just a little bit more rehearsal time just so we would feel a little bit more prepared. Other that that I am so pleased with how everything went. I can’t thank everyone enough for being a part of this process and I am looking forward to producing another project like this in the future.

Click here to check out the bloopers:

Click here to check out my other blog posts about this project:

Lil’ Red; A Twist in the Tale

The Minor Struggles

The Minor Struggles

It took me quite some time before I was able to make a real dent in my research article. some of the topics that I am talking about have been a real struggle to start, but usually once I start, and know exactly what my point is, I am on a roll. Everything will come very easily to me, but a lot of the time I will also have trouble figuring out how to phrase what I am trying to say or how to describe something to someone who isn’t involved in the performing arts. I’ve always told myself that this is because I am a dancer. I am used to expressing my thoughts through movement and not words let alone a structured paper.

Most of my time is consumed by my dance classes, but these two projects are what I am concentrating on the most. They are what I am focused on and stressed about more than anything else right now because they are my last and most important projects of college and I want to make sure they are done to the best of my ability. So far the best of my ability makes me question how I am a senior in college at the moment. You would think I would know how to write a research article but it’s been so long since I’ve written one that I can’t seem to remember the basic steps. For instance I don’t always know how much of my opinion I am supposed to put into this paper or if it matters at all. I’m also having a lot of trouble remembering how to do a proper bibliography and how we are supposed to cite our research. These are questions that I will of course ask, but I just find it depressing that I am having this much trouble remembering how to do these tasks that I did repeatedly throughout high school. That’s what I get for taking mostly dance and theater classes.

There are five more days until the first shooting day and my head is everywhere. I’m very excited but of course also nervous. I’ve been working very hard to make sure everything is organized and ready to go but I keep thinking of random things that I want to add or I look at a costume or a piece of choreography and question whether I like it or not, but then I realize that I am over thinking it and all of the rehearsals are over anyway and I will start to calm down a little. By the time I write my next blog post filming days will be over just as long as it doesn’t rain.If anyone would like to see the video and get a notification immediately when it comes out subscribe to me on Youtube. My link is below and you will be notified right when the video is uploaded.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwgDNCnKT2yID9Dk2UgsHDw

Lil’ Red; A Twist in the Tale

There are a lot of new things that I’m learning during this process; specifically figuring out the differences between filming on a set and performing live on a stage. There are so many procedures that need to be done and I have no idea how the professionals go about it in the real world, but I am still able to fake it. For instance, I have many ideas when it comes to the specific camera angles that I want so I jot them down in order so me and my camera man will have a rough idea of what we need to get on filming day. I have tried looking up ways that professionals organize these things, but this information is quite hard to find. Although it has come to my attention that they don’t write down these things at all and just spend endless hours “going with the flow” and seeing what they like and what they can get. Unfortunately I will not have time to do that and I will need to be as prepared as possible before the filming days.

Another very important thing that I’ve learned is how incredibly useful my Event Marketing class was for this project. While I was taking that class I kept on telling myself that it wasn’t really that important of a class and I questioned over and over again why I was told to put this class in my contract. After all it was filled with business majors that I had nothing in common with and I had a completely different goal than them. The class mainly focused on organization and throughout the semester I realized the criteria wasn’t about how to be organized, but instead it was about what to organize. I didn’t know how many parts of an event needing planning, and doing this project made realize how much I needed that Event Marketing class. I would be a mess making this video if I didn’t take that class.

Other than having my mind blown from this project, the process is going very well. All of my costumes, choreography, crew, and equipment are ready to go. I have a few more rehearsals before we film and everybody seems to be really excited about it. I’ve also decided that I am going to make a blooper reel just for fun, which I am also very excited for because I know for a fact there will be a lot of screw ups mostly coming from me. I will make sure to post that on here as well.

If anyone is interested in following me on Instagram to see live updates and pictures the day of filming here are the links to both of those accounts:

https://www.instagram.com/marmardeckher/?hl=en

The Next Step

I have so many ideas and things I want to do after graduation it’s overwhelming, exciting, and nerve-racking all at the same time. My biggest concern is being able to dance as much as I can. I will still be taking class constantly no matter what so I won’t lose my technique and strength, but of course there comes the responsibility in searching for a job. As an artist, I know I will always have more than one job to keep busy and to pay the bills. I also am aware that I will be working ridiculous hours, but I have come to realize lately that I am completely okay with that because I am so passionate about what I do.

I have been talking to my mother (who is also a dancer) a lot about potential jobs I should try to find and she keeps telling me I need to talk to producers and directors that I have performed for in the past and see if they have any connections or opportunities for me and so far I have had fairly good luck. Unfortunately I am not allowed to reveal online the potential job offer I have in store just yet, but I can give a few details as to what this job includes. I’d be dancing my face off, teaching, and assisting with production design. This is basically what my major is all about and I could not be more excited for it. I know I would be really happy there and I think it’s a great job to be offered right out of college.

The only reason I would not be able to get this job is if the company cannot afford to hire me. This position technically does not exist right now because it is a growing company, but if I am hired I would be contributing a lot of my time to the growth of the business. My education in business perfectly matches this job and I already have so many ideas that would help the company. Many people that work there have already told me how much they would love to have me and how helpful I would be to them.

I do have quite a few auditions coming up just in case this opportunity doesn’t work out. A lot of these auditions are for cruise ships. This is a very common gig for a dancer to get right out of college. There are very few things that I can think of that would be more amazing than traveling the world, dancing, and getting paid all at the same time. Other auditions that I have lined up. are for equity houses, which are theaters that are part of the actors’ union for readers who don’t know. These jobs are extremely hard to book because hundreds of women who look and dance just like me that are looking for the same job so I will have to go through a ridiculous amount of auditions before I book a gig but I have received amazing training and I am prepared for the journey ahead.

If anybody is interested in what an audition for a cruise ship is like for dancers or even for singers here is a link for Royal Caribbean Productions:

http://www.royalcaribbeanproductions.com/auditions/general

 

Cats the Musical

For those of you who don’t know this iconic production, Cats is a show based of the book of poems by T.S. Elliot where all different kinds of cats join together once a year at the Jellicle Ball and hope that they will be the one to move on the Heavyside Layer. It is a very dance-heavy show which is why I will be performing in it for the second time this year as Rumpleteazer, the thief cat. The first time I was in this was over the summer with Patrick Dorow Productions in Kittery, Maine, and they are putting on this production again because it was a sold out run last summer. I was lucky enough to be asked back, and return to my role in this fabulous production.

There are a few struggles that I am having with doing this production again. My biggest struggle is the commute. Kittery is a half an hour away from my parents’ house, but it is almost two hours away from Plymouth. Luckily most of the rehearsals have been on the weekends, but a few of them have been on Wednesday and Thursday. On these days I’ve either not gone at all or I’ve been a few hours late because I work until 5 o’clock on weekdays. Directors and Choreographers can sometimes get very impatient and don’t always tolerate people missing rehearsal, but I am very lucky to have a director and choreographer that works around my crazy schedule. It’s also been very tiring and overwhelming sometimes during the days that I don’t have breaks for 13 of 14 hours straight, and sometimes not having a lot of time to do my homework.

The other difficulty I am having is the choreography process. Last summer we used the original Broadway choreography, and I drilled it into my body because it was extremely tough and fast choreography that we had to learn pretty quickly. I always put a lot of pressure on myself when I perform, and this show wasn’t going to be any different. This time we have less rehearsal time and slightly different choreography. There are bits and parts that are the same, but there have been enough changes in order for me to be worried that I will go back to the original choreography at some point during a show one night since I worked so hard to remember the choreography last time and it’s still in my body. Although I will be worrying about this until the end of the show it is going pretty well so far, and I am feeling ready for tech this week. Throughout this week I will be setting aside time to drill this new choreography into my body so I feel completely ready for opening night on Friday.

If you would like to see this fun, family-friendly show you can buy tickets here, you don’t wanna miss out:

https://www.patrickdorowproductions.com/

Applied Project and Research Article

Applied Project

 

Introduction:

 

For my senior applied project I will be choreographing, directing, and performing in a music video. The music video will be the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”, but as a contemporary hip-hop dance with dub-step music. I will be dancing the part of Little Red Riding Hood, and I will have three other characters; the Wolf, Grandma, and the Hunter. I will be filming in the woods behind Langdon Woods. The video will be put on YouTube for the public to watch and enjoy.

 

Goals of This Project:

 

I am going to really challenge myself with this project. I am eager to learn more about what it is like to create a piece on camera on a film set instead of a stage and no audience. With this project I will explore the differences between dancing on film and dancing on a stage. I know I will be very intrigued by the technological differences as well in terms of; lighting, set design, camera angles, audio, etc.

 

How I Will Deliver This Project:

 

I will present this video on a projector or smart board during the time that all student projects will be presented. I will have to get in contact with the person in charge of the event to make sure they will have either a projector or a smart board.

 

Conclusion:

 

This is a very exciting project for me and I will be using a lot of high quality material and tools for this project. I will be using a very expensive camera to get the best video I can get. This is a project that I have wanted to do for a while. I like to say that my major teaches me how to be my own boss and lets me make my own decisions and this project will allow me to do that. Everything will be up to me and I get to make up everything that I do.

 

Time Line:

 

Finish music for first track – Feb 24th

Assign Cast – Feb 24th

Choreograph first number – March 3rd

Finish music for second track – March 3rd

Have cameras and camera men organized and prepared – March 6th

Choreograph second number – March 10th

Finish Costume Renderings – March 10th

Photo shoot promotion – March 20th

Finish music for third track – March 24th

Have all costumes created – March 31st

Teach second number to Carly (who’s playing the Wolf) – April 4th

Choreograph third number – April 5th

Finish music for fourth and fifth track – April 5th

Choreograph fourth and fifth number – April 7th

Teach the rest of the choreography – April 12th

Film the video – April 22nd and April 23rd

 

 

Research Article

 

Introduction:

 

For my research article I will be researching about the creativity and organization process between directors and choreographers of commercial dance and music videos. My article will include information about how they come up with their ideas and what is involved in putting together these pieces. Who do they need to communicate with? What needs to be done before rehearsals even start?

 

Goals:

 

A lot of people forget about the passion and thought process and artistry that goes behind all of the work put into making these creations to entertain everybody out there not just people who are interested in dance and theater. My goal is to keep spreading creativity throughout my generation and to teach people how important artistry and talent is in our entertainment business.

 

Conclusion:

 

My paper will include at least three different choreographer and director “pairs”. Each music video that I will use as examples will all vary in genres. These jobs are the definition of interdisciplinary. The entertainment business has many interdisciplinary jobs such as these. They don’t require you to be just a dancer, or just and actor. This business wants to see versatile people that can; direct, teach, create, and write, etc. I will learn a lot about the business that I will be going into.

 

Timeline:

 

Have all of my sources from articles, books, and documentaries – March 4th

Start my basic structure of my article – March 11th

Get all of my pictures that I will use in my article and source them – March 18th

Finish my first draft – April 1st

Blog about my soon- to-be-published article – April 8th

Finish my second draft – April 15th

Finish final draft – April 29th

Submit final draft to Eport – May 1st

 

Research Article and Applied Project Ideas

Research Article Ideas:

  1. My first idea would be to research how different dance companies started their programs and compare them to each other. This would include the disciplines of dance, marketing, and communications. A challenge would be to get a hold of the dance company founders and ask them what their personal struggles were.
  2. My next idea would be to research different musical theater choreographers and how they each advertised themselves in order to get jobs. This would include the disciplines of dance, theater, and marketing. Musical theater dance is my strongest style of dance and I have taken many classes that include dance composition. A huge challenge would be to explain to people who are not dancers and not musical theater people how getting these jobs work because it’s much different than any other business.
  3. The next idea I have would be to research how directors and choreographers construct their music videos. This would include dance, theater, theater design, and writing. Dancing on film is something that I’ve always wanted to learn more about but that’s also going to be the biggest challenge for me because there is so much about cinematography and technology that I don’t know about.
  4. My next idea would be to research what alumni dancer/interdisc majors from PSU have done and compare them and their paths that they have taken and also compare their strengths and skills to mine. This would be really exciting to me because I have gotten in touch with a few alumni dancers and they have taken many jobs that I would be very interested in. A challenge would be as well as my second idea, explaining in writing the life of a dancer and making sure people somewhat understand it.
  5. My last idea would be to research how older stories have been translated into modern art, not just dance. This would include dance, theater, theater design, and writing. For instance, I could research how the writers of “Beauty and the Beat” came up the the idea and structured it. A huge challenge would be just like my first idea, getting in touch with the people that were involved of finding any information about them at all.

Applied Project Ideas:

  1. My first idea would be to make a music video with contemporary hip-hop and modern dance based off a fairy-tale (which will probably end up being “Little Red Riding Hood” but I haven’t decided yet.) This will be very excited for me so I have a video of my work that will look very professional and I can upload it online. The disciplines that I will use will include dance, theater, theater design, writing, and communications. It will be very difficult because I’ve never directed a film before and I will have to decide if I am going to try and collaborate with someone from the Video Club.
  2. My second idea would be to choreograph a dance and perform it somewhere and maybe try and make it a fundraiser for charity. This would add a step to what I usually do when I choreograph because this would involve me handling money which would also be a huge challenge. This would involve dance and marketing.
  3. My next idea would be to organize an event where I teach classes to children of different ages all day. This would be exciting for me to do because my teaching skills is something that I have been eager to improve on. The disciplines would include dance and marketing. I think the biggest challenge I would have is to find a place to hold the classes.
  4. The next idea I have is to make a zumba work out video. This would be very fun for me to do because fitness has always been something that I am very passionate about. The disciplines would include dance, marketing, and communications. A challenge would be to find people that are willing to be a part of the work out video with me.
  5. The last idea I have is to write to put together a magazine that is all about the performing arts. This would include everything in my major dance, theater, theater design, writing, business, and communications. This would be very exciting to me because I love researching about famous dancers, and musicals, and history of the performing arts, but I would also have to decide if I want to write all the articles and how I would publish this and if I want to collaborate with a graphic designer.

My Interdisciplinary Studies Application Essay.

Dance and Theatrical Design

Amara Decker

The name of my program is Dance and Theatrical Design. In this program, I will study dance technique and artistry, the elements of theater and theater design, theatrical script writing, and the skills to market myself to future employers. I created this program because of my passion for performing. Dance is an art that I have been studying my entire life, and theater is another passion of mine that I believe is crucial for dancers to have a significant amount of knowledge in. My experiences in dance theater have led me to many hopes and dreams for the future. Ever since I was little, I have always been the one to want to put on the dance recitals, musicals or plays myself. The path that I plan to take includes being a part of a theatrical production company. I would like to work as a production manager for a dance company, or maybe be on a production team that produces plays for the stage. All of these disciplines integrate together and will help prepare me for my future plans as a producer.

As a dancer, I know that it is important to develop strong technique in all types of advanced dance. Taking DN 3367 Advanced Ballet, DN 3260 ST: Advanced Jazz, DN 3260 ST: Advanced Tap, DN 3270 Advanced Modern Dance, and DN 3200 Dance Styles For Musical Theater are all challenging classes that improve my technique for future dancing engagements. The next class I wish to include is DN 3320 Dance Composition. This will help me create my own dance pieces for the future when I choreograph for a profession and work as part of the company’s production team.

For my theater classes, I plan on including TH 1600 Introduction to Theater, which will teach me about the various arts involved in play production from the audience’s point of view. In this class I will learn about the significant roles and elements of theater such as scripts, theater structure, scenery, costume, lighting, makeup, and acting. Another theater class I plan on incorporating into my contract is TH 3160 Stage Movement. This class will help me understand the importance of how artists move about the stage and how it is used in every theatrical experience. The last theater class I am taking is TH 2230 American Musical Theater (WRCO). This class is a writing class that has also helped improve my knowledge on previous musicals that have changed how we see theater today. The curriculum in this class also helped me shape the current styles of theater that are being produced today. All of these theater and dance classes contribute to creating new ideas for future performances I will want to produce on the stage.

To further my knowledge in theater design, TH 2540 Introduction to Theater Design and TH 3300 Design for the Theater are the two most important classes that will prepare me for future jobs, but TH 2600 Fundamentals of Costume Construction will also be a very useful class to take that will open up more job opportunities. TH2500 Stagecraft Fundamentals (QRCO) will also help me with the theater design portion of my major because it will give me knowledge on how to build and create sets for theatrical performances.

Being a part of a production company requires extensive experience in writing and communication. Therefore, writing classes are an important part of my education. EN 3680 Scriptwriting will help improve my skills for evaluating material of theatrical scripts. It is important for me to recognize strong writing. Another class that will help me as a producer is CM 3090 Technical Communication. This class focuses on the technical communication for business, and designing proposals, reports, and instructions for specific audiences. This class will not only help me with my writing and communication skills but also with my business skills as well.

To improve my marketing and business skills, BU 3350 Event Marketing will help me learn how to advertise an event such as a dance concert or a dance company that wishes to hold auditions. BU 1100 Business Computer Applications (TECO) is the class that benefits my education by learning how business professionals use computers and typical application software. A production company is a business which requires a reasonable amount of knowledge in computer technology.

I chose to do the Thematic Studies option for my major because I believe I am a critical thinker that wishes to integrate knowledge together to create new ideas. Creating new aspects of theater and dance is what I hope to pursue for the future. For the Thematic Studies option, I am required to take IS 2222 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies and IS 4444 Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies was the class that showed me how to improve my education by not just studying one subject, but five. This class taught me how to integrate disciplines together to find their common grounds and form a new knowledge.

My degree is interdisciplinary because I am choosing five different subjects to study from. Within this studying I am working to find a common ground between all of the classes and integrate them together to form a new knowledge of how I can change the future of theater and dance. This degree will prepare me for my career by helping me understand what I can give to theater and dance and what I can do to produce new art and entertainment in the world.