Dance Production at Kennesaw State


KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 1, 2016)dance students practicing

Kennesaw State University’s Department of Dance is celebrating ten years of excellence, and part of that excellence lies within its dance production or stagecraft classes. Over the last three years, production manager and resident lighting designer, David Tatu, has taught dance students the sophisticated art of producing a dance show.

“Even if a student is only interested in performing, the student learns firsthand what it takes to put on a show. They learn how lighting works, and how to position themselves to be in the light. And when someone says, ‘Heads up, line coming in,’ they know they better move,” said Tatu.

Tatu’s role is to explain what happens in the production of a show and why it’s necessary. Student Mallory Brown has taken the class twice so far. “I think it is important for anyone who performs on stage to get an inside look at what happens behind the scenes. Both times that I took the course, I focused on lighting. This has changed the way I view dance performances; I now have a keener eye. Lighting is an art form within itself that goes hand-in-hand with dance,” said Brown.

Tatu has 30 years of experience in dance production, beginning in high school and continuing through college. He got his first taste of teaching while working as the director of production and resident lighting designer for Atlanta Ballet.

“I don’t know if it has to do with the discipline learned in their dance classes, but our students are very quick learners. I guess when you spend all those years in dance classes, you are trained to carefully listen and observe, and then you have to put what you’ve learned into practice.”

“I can run shows almost as fast with our dance students as I can with a professional crew. When the dance production classes first started, I wasn’t sure how we would get everything done. Now, it’s no problem.”

Ivan Pulinkala, chair of the Department of Dance, sees great curricular value in the development of the dance production area.

“The experience students have in dance production at KSU distinguishes our program regionally, and ensures that KSU dance majors are equipped with skills that make them well-rounded practitioners and performers.”

Today, KSU dance majors may be seen working across Atlanta in a variety of dance production roles. Internships and community partnerships ensure that dance majors have opportunities to practice their stagecraft at professional venues well before they graduate. These experiences distinguish KSU Dance as a leader in dance education in the region.
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