Local News

ORANGE, Calif. Oct. 19, 2011Chapman University and the famed Cirque du Soleil are partnering to present a one–of–a–kind educational opportunity this weekend for area students, college arts faculty and arts professionals. The groundbreaking Cirque du Soleil Entertainment and Technology Symposium will take place October 21–23 on Chapman’s campus in Orange, and will provide attendees an opportunity to interact with Cirque du Soleil performers and industry partners through master classes.

The symposium and partnership came about through the efforts of husband–wife team Professor Alicia Okouchi–Guy of Chapman’s Department of Dance, and Professor Don Guy, assistant professor of theatre and head of entertainment technology at Chapman.

The program is the first of its kind at a university campus and was born out of the couple’s working relationship with Cirque du Soleil, which since its launch in 1984 has become an icon of cutting–edge entertainment. Today the company has 5,000 employees worldwide and a repertory of resident shows and touring productions across the globe.

Professor Okouchi–Guy’s goal is for Chapman students to see what it takes to compete for a place on the entertainment giant’s team. “Students will come out of the symposium knowing more about what Cirque du Soleil is really looking for and how they can reach that standard,” she said. “Cirque du Soleil and other large shows, such as Broadway touring shows, Las Vegas shows and the like, all need qualified personnel to work behind the scenes, to run immensely complex equipment or create sophisticated costumes, makeup and hair, to screen the projections and oversee lighting and scenery. Students interested in the arts tend to think first of performing onstage, but there are so many other jobs involved in a production of this magnitude. Cirque du Soleil wants to create interest in these professions and show students what it really takes to work on a production of this level.”

A student attending the entire symposium will have the opportunity to take a total of nine classes in a variety of disciplines, including artistic performance, multi-media, audio, company management, stage management, rigging, operations, automation, wigs and makeup, and props and scenery.

Several Cirque du Soleil industry partners will be on site during the symposium to demonstrate their technology and offer hands–on classes; including Meyer Sound, Coolux, Stage Technologies and Christie Digital.

The symposium has attracted students, performing arts faculty and administrators from Chapman University and surrounding Southern California universities and colleges. (Registration is now closed, but check the website for possible cancellations.)

As a bonus treat for the public, the symposium will include two free festive outdoor movie nights at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22. Chapman University’s Attallah Piazza will feature a circus–like atmosphere for the outdoor screenings of two full–length films featuring performance and behind–the–scenes footage of two popular Cirque du Soleil shows. Free snow cones, popcorn and other circus treats will be offered along with the films. Friday will showcase “The Story of the Creation of KÀ – An Epic Journey!” and Saturday the screening will be “Alegría.” Parking information: Chapman.edu/Map/Parking. Chapman University is located at One University Drive in Orange.

Press release provided by Chapman University on Oct 19, 2011

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