By Alyssa Cichy
Dance Organization: Vole` Ballet Club
Hometown: Monroeville, PA
Year/Major: Junior, Broadcast Journalism major & English minor
What other clubs and organizations are you involved in on campus?
On campus, I am involved with a few different clubs and organizations. I am a reporter for The Daily Collegian, and I am a news editor for Panorama. For THON 2016, I was involved with Atlas For The Kids, and I was a production assistant for 46 LIVE, the live webcast of THON weekend.
What career do you hope to pursue in the future?
After I graduate, I hope to become a news producer at a television news station. I've been interested in writing and photography from a young age, and it turned into my love of journalism today.
What do you love most about dance?
I love that dance can tell a story without saying anything at all. It's truly such a beautiful art form that can inspire people. I love being able to step on stage and portray a story to the audience, whether it be a happy or sad one. Dance is also just so fun and rewarding. I love entertaining people, learning fun choreography, and being part of a team. For me, there's not many feelings that compare to finishing a dance and hearing the roar of the audience.
What is your favorite style of dance?
I can never decide between contemporary and hip hop as my favorite style. Both allow me to have a ton of emotion and personality. Contemporary is usually more serious and deep, while hip hop is usually fun and light-hearted. So, it's a nice mix of emotions.
How do you describe yourself as a dancer?
I would describe myself as a very emotional and passionate dancer. I really invest myself in the story of the piece, and I try to act a lot when I dance. Whether it's how hard I hit a move, or the looks on my face, I hope I can make people feel something and understand the story when they watch me dance.
As a transfer student from Penn State Erie, how did you hear about Vole` and why did you decide to join?
I heard about Vole` at the Fall 2015 Involvement Fair. I joined because the club is very diverse and allows me to dance many different styles, not just ballet. I also joined because the executive members were so kind and welcoming to me as a new student searching for a place to continue my passion.
What's your favorite part about being a Vole` dancer?
There are so many reasons why I love being a Vole` dancer, but one of the main ones is that I have met so many amazing people through the club. Vole` isn't like most other dance organizations; Vole` accepts everyone despite the amount of experience you have. Everyone, no matter what level of experience, has the chance to perform in the semester showcases and take technique classes. Because of this, the club is filled with so many awesome dancers with multiple different backgrounds and experience levels.
What was your favorite memory as a Vole` performer?
One of my favorite memories with the Vole` performance company was our THON 2016 performance. This was my very first THON as a Penn State student. The performance was at 4:00 AM on the Saturday of THON. We were all kind of delusional and tired, but the performance still turned out great. It was a surreal experience getting to dance on that stage in front of thousands of people for such an amazing cause.
What's coming up for Vole`?
Vole’s spring showcase entitled "Vole Love" will be held on April 24th at 2:30 PM in Schwab Auditorium. The show will include many different dances of varying styles including ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, contemporary, and more! Admission is free.
By Paul Kane
Live theatre exists in the moment.
The curtain only opens that exact way only once. The lights flash at that exact time only once. The mouths make words in that style only once. The body bows with that exact depth only once. Live theatre exists in the moment, and there is no moment more exciting than opening night.
This is it. You’ve survived months of rehearsals, likely had a grueling tech week, and burnt the midnight oil between learning lines and doing homework. You’ve made new friends, and strengthened bonds with old ones. Perhaps you’re about to walk the stage with someone for the last time. Perhaps the stakes are high, and you can’t stop shaking with fear. Perhaps this is your first time doing this. There is no cocktail of emotions so high-proof as the one you’re served on opening night.
But you have a duty. It’s time to show the world that you suffered for your art. It’s time to reap your reward. It’s time to tell a story. In the moment you step on stage, the shaking stops and so does the world. You can feel the buzz of energy between yourself, your fellow cast, the crew, and the audience. And you know that something special is happening.
This past weekend, I performed the role of The Wolf in The Penn State Thespian’s production of Into The Woods. On our own opening night, I grabbed my phone camera and attempted to capture the moments that define an opening night honestly and candidly. With the help of Mr. Evan Young, who supplied several key bits of footage of the actual show (as I was in the show, I could not do this myself) I was able to assemble this montage.
I present: “The Sights and Sounds of an Opening Night” partly because I believe that words alone cannot justly describe experience, and partly in the hope of sharing one of the most electrifying and life-affirming things that I get to be a part of.
Welcome to opening night.
By Rachel Reid
What do Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Ravel’s “Le tombeau de Couperin” have in common? According to George Trudeau, they have the ability to spark a lifelong passion for the performing arts.
After hearing these pieces as a teenager, Trudeau moved his life in a fresh direction and molded the arts into his influential career. As the Executive Director of the Center for Performing Arts at Penn State, Trudeau works at Eisenhower Auditorium and leads many aspects of the organization, including overall administration, educational/community outreach programs, strategic planning, grant management and more.
Trudeau grew up in Portland, Ore., and began his career as a performer and teacher, holding positions in Seattle, Boston and Utica, N.Y. before joining the Center for Performing Arts in 2004. He was attracted to Penn State by the wonderful opportunity to lead an already outstanding and nationally known university-based performing arts center and to significantly advance the organization’s role in academic, campus and community life. The Center for Performing Arts at Penn State strives to enrich the lives of students and the community by hosting a wide variety of inspirational experiences including classical ballets, vocal ensembles, Broadway musicals, world-renowned orchestras and many more.
“College is a time for exploration,” says Trudeau. “Everyone comes here and finds a major to continue on with in the world after they graduate, but college is also about finding things that can enrich your life forever.”
Entering a large university such as Penn State gives endless opportunities for people to open up their horizons and discover new passions. Often general education art, theatre and dance classes require students to see multiple productions in a semester. By connecting artists with people at Penn State, many students may discover a striking new interest in the arts during their time at school.
“One cool thing about being in a university environment is having the students in the audience,” says Trudeau. “They give the audience a sort of jolt because often they’re seeing the work for the first time. It’s fresh, so their reactions are visceral and ‘in the moment’. It reminds everyone else in the audience about their own first time seeing that particular show. And it makes you realize how strong and powerful that connection between artist and audience can be.”
Trudeau continues to emphasize the importance of connecting artists with people, and as the Executive Director of the Center for Performing Arts, he is most passionate about this concept.
“There’s amazing moments that happen every season,” says Trudeau. “We had Jersey Boys here [last fall], and that was exciting because the audience just loved the music and it meant so much to them. Particularly people who remember Frankie Valli when the hits were coming out, so that was like a trip down memory lane for them. That’s why we do what we do.”
The Center for Performing Arts at Penn State has one long-term goal: to make the performing arts be among the top three reasons why students come to Penn State. Although presented with a hefty challenge, Trudeau believes every challenge brings an opportunity. The Center for Performing Arts, as well as the Performing Arts Council on campus, hopes to achieve this goal within a few years.
Creating and supporting a thriving arts environment on campus is a fundamental element for reaching this goal. With over 80 performing arts organizations at University Park, thousands of students share a passion for producing and presenting exciting experiences.
Trudeau’s advice for students aspiring to work in the arts: never forget the artist.
“Keep the artist central to your work as much as you can,” he recommends. “It’s easy to get caught in all the other stuff, like production, marketing, sales, development, raising money – all important – but remember why we do it. We do it because whether it’s a student, faculty member, guest artist that we’re bringing in, it’s allowing them to do what they do best and connect with audiences. It’s the work of the artist that’s most important thing and never forget that.”
Visit the Center for Performing Arts’ website for more information about the organization and upcoming shows at Penn State here: http://www.cpa.psu.edu/.
Junior, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences major & Jewish Studies minor
How are you involved in PAC, and how long have you been involved?
I am PAC’s Treasurer. I have been involved with PAC since its founding.
What other performing arts groups are you involved in on campus?
I am heavily involved in the Penn State Thespians and a member of No Refund Theatre.
What is your favorite thing about PAC?
I love to see what we all can accomplish when we come together as one arts community and can make a visible difference in the Penn State Community.
If you had to describe your performing arts experience at Penn State in one word, what would it be?
What is your signature karaoke song?
Definitely "All Star" from Shrek.
What is your favorite arts experience?
My favorite arts experience so far was performing in Penn State Thespians MasquerAIDS. It was my first on stage performance with thespians (I’m more of a techie) and I loved every minute of it. Having the opportunity to perform in the show that’s theme was Love Wins and dancing to powerful songs such as Same Love by Macklemore and telling a story through dance was amazing.
Throughout the rest of the semester, PAC is holding a series of workshops that will provide aid to student organizations regarding UPAC funding, organization marketing, and scheduling table reservations on campus. PAC President John Connolly will provide advice and tips about these topics to anyone who attends these workshops.
The workshops will be on the following days:
John Connolly answers frequently asked questions about these workshops below:
What inspired PAC to host this workshop series?
All groups here at Penn State have the opportunity to take advantage of the resources that student affairs and student activities provides. I've had the opportunity to see this through the lens of the Penn State Thespians and see the massive advantage that it can provide for the performing arts. However, through our work we've seen that not everyone takes those opportunities and with the expertise that PAC can provide I would love to see the use of these resources grow.
What qualifies you to speak about these topics?
Like I mentioned above, I've had the opportunity to become incredibly familiar with these resources as a Producer, Marketing Chair and Treasurer for Penn State Thespians. Additionally, I work for Student Activities in Schwab Auditorium. This combination has provided me with a lot of exposure and I would like to share that with the whole community.
What will the format of the workshops be like?
Each workshop has a focus: UPAC, Registering Events/Programs/Space, and Marketing. We will then do an overview of the processes for each topic and then dive into a more specialized look based on the groups in attendance. For example: if a dance organization comes in and wants to know how to fund their workshop series in NYC or if an instrumental groups wants to fund their concert in Schwab, we will help explain and try to make that happen.
What can attendees expect to learn from these workshops?
Those attending can expect to find a wealth of resources that they can take advantage of and specific assistance to make their programs better and enhance the opportunities for their students and peers.
Does PAC plan to host more workshops like this in the future?
PAC is planning on hosting these events once a semester to help with exec boards that are transitioning and to give consistent ways for groups to enhance their programming and performances.
Are these workshops specific to performing arts organizations?
These workshops are applicable to any performing arts organization. The structure of the workshops will enable every group to gain something - whether they are the type of group that puts on large scale performances or small concerts.
Should attendees bring anything to these workshops?
Just ideas for how they would like to improve their club! Each aspect of the workshops (UPAC, Registering Events/Programs/Space and Marketing) play a large role in making organizations better. So just come with some ways that you think that you club could grow and using money from UPAC, event/rehearsal space and increased marketing we will find a way to elevate your org!