Performing Arts and Media Tour

May 04, 2015 at 9:22 AM

San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles. Where better in the world to take Performing Arts and Media students to absorb live theatre performances, behind the scenes studio tours and hands on workshops than the homeland of the motion picture and entertainment industry?

With many months of meticulous planning, the Performing Arts and Media tour of 56 students and 8 staff headed to the USA during the Easter holidays for a programme chock full of events and sightseeing. What lay ahead over the next 15 days would take them from the West Coast to the East and back again, and to some of the best theatres, television studios and dance academies in the world. From warm, windy San Francisco to cold and wet New York and on to a very hot Los Angeles, the students and staff thoroughly enjoyed this amazing opportunity.

Whilst the group travelled as one, at each location they split into their media, drama and dance-focussed groups to undertake their own programme of subject-specific visits and workshops.

With thanks to Amy McLeod
How lucky are we to travel to the one and only, United States of America! Beginning our trip in San Francisco, we visited famous tourist attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz prison, but to me, nothing compared with what our next stop, New York, had to offer. Lights, noise, signs, people, people, people, you honestly can’t put a price on that overwhelming feeling experienced in Times Square! New York was definitely my highlight of the trip.

As a media student, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Paley Centre, the Museum of Moving Image and New York University. As a group, we also enjoyed fabulous broadways shows, the Empire State Building and the moving 9/11 memorial. After eight fantastic days exploring all of what New York had to offer, we moved on to our last leg of the trip, Los Angeles. The city of fame and fortune, Los Angeles was one of the most exiting parts of the trip that taught me a lot about the opportunities available in the media industry. We also spent the day at Mira Costa High School, pairing up with one of their students and attending their everyday classes where we learned a lot about typical teenage culture in America.

We spent our last three days touring around the DreamWorks and Warner Brothers studios, and then finishing off with two days at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland! Overall, this trip had a impact on me in ways I certainly did not expect. I not only learnt about the incredible opportunities the media industry has to offer but I also learnt a lot about New Zealand. New Zealand!? But you went to America!? Odd, I know, but I truly came to appreciate how beautiful New Zealand really is. So we are pretty lucky. We get to live in this amazing country we call home and we get to visit crazy exciting ones like America!

With thanks to Keshini Ketheeswaran

On behalf of all of the drama students, I can confidently say that it was one of the most amazing and educational trips that we have ever been on. The drama group were fortunate enough to see a whole different side to the world of theatre. Especially in New York, the drama we witnessed and were taught was of a whole different level to anything we’ve ever experienced. We were made aware of the extreme performance levels of theatre and just how much it is possible to achieve.

We were fortunate to attend many workshops with incredible people who are currently in the business. Some of these people included Clay Thomson and Chris Rice, who have been in many Broadway shows in New York including Oliver, Newsies, West Side Story and Matilda, just to name a few. We also did a musical workshop with a cast member from Wicked and visited the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts for a class on acting for screen. Surprisingly, these weren’t even all of our workshops but the list is too extensive! Getting to work with these unbelievably talented people was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and we all greatly appreciated it.

Visiting San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles in such a jam packed two and a half weeks was truly inspiring. We all saw the massive world that was ahead of us outside New Zealand and the idea of ‘anything is possible’ was definitely a lasting concept that was left within us all. America was an amazing gateway to show us what is possible in the world of drama. Meeting people who have actually been successful in the business, getting advice from them and hearing first hand experiences is something that is indescribable for young kids with aspirations. This trip couldn’t have been better!


With thanks to Lucy Floyd

On arrival in San Francisco, the dance students, along with teachers Mr Wilcox and Mr Harada, went straight to a dance studio called ODC where we were fortunate to see their Youth Dance Company perform. This was our first look at American dance training and the style of contemporary dance and it was so exciting for us to see. The following day we went to the San Francisco Ballet to watch their morning class. It became clear that the ballet dancers in America are trained very differently and we loved seeing the contrasting techniques and the different ways of teaching.  Following a contemporary class at Alonzo Kings Lines Ballet, we were able to see the company perform; it was an incredible show and all of us were in awe of how much strength and control each of the dancers had.

Heading to New York, we visited the Lincoln Centre of the Arts – the home of Julliard School, the New York City Ballet, the American Ballet School and the Philharmonic Orchestra. Later that day we travelled to Harlem and were given a guided tour of the Apollo Theatre; a place where many greats have performed. Mr Apollo invited some of us on stage to do an impromptu talent show! After seeing the dressing rooms, backstage area and wall of signatures we left feeling star struck to have stood on the same stage a Beyonce!

Whilst in New York, the dance students went to the Broadway Dance Centre and Steps on Broadway where we each selected two classes to join. All of us took this opportunity to try new genres of dance. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to try new dance styles and get a better understanding of the sort of dancer that I am.

Along with the drama students we attended a Broadway workshop where we all learnt a part from the Broadway musical ‘Wicked.’ Our teacher was fabulous – we all left with big smiles on our faces! Immediately after, the dance girls had a class with a Broadway dancer and learnt two high energy pieces from the musicals Memphis and Mama Mia, again we had a ton of fun!

We saw dance performances by The Dance Centre of Harem and Stephen Potronio and two Broadway musicals: ‘Something Rotten’ and the highly anticipated ‘Chicago.’ We also watched the New York Spring Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. The set was amazing and the Rockette dancers were stunning!

In Los Angeles, each of us chose two classes at the Edge Performing Arts and the hip hop classes, in particular, provided entertainment for all our students whether participating or watching! Each of us took something valuable from our time there. The following night we went to see Alvin Ailey perform. The performance was truly inspiring and all of us left the theatre with an even greater love for dance.

The trip provided the dancers with the opportunity of a lifetime. To go to so many classes and see so many world class companies perform was invaluable to each of us. All of us fell in love with dance all over again and that is due to the incredible experiences we had.  We are so grateful to have had the opportunity. We would like to say a huge thank you to Miss Bishop, Mr Wilcox and Mr Harada for organising the dancers, we had an amazing time and know that it was down to your hard work and organisation - thank you!

Click here to read Lucy’s full report on her dance experiences on tour

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