By Duyen Le
When I saw that there was an Indian Classical Dancing workshop taking place, I was more than excited to sign up! I’ve seen Bollywood films and have done a couple of Indian inspired dance moves in Zumba, so I was eager to actually learn the art from an Indian dance instructor.
As I walked into the workshop, I immediately noticed my instructor, Shilpa Ramesh dressed in a traditional Indian dress. She wore a beautiful smile that instantly made me feel comfortable and welcomed.
Before class started, I asked Shilpa about the type of dancing we were learning today (Bharathanatym) and if it was like the Bollywood style dancing from what I’ve seen in the movies. Once class started, Shilpa explained the differences in the two types of dances. She then continued our Indian Classical Dance lesson by explaining that there are 7 different kinds of classical dancing, as well as how they were different. Shilpa studied Bharathanatym dancing.
The first lesson was learning hand gestures. Who knew that there were so many hand gestures and that each hand gesture is used to say different things? It was almost like learning sign language! We then proceeded to learn about face and head movements. She explained that the face is useful in showing emotions such as happiness, anger, fear, love, disgust, etc. We had so much fun attempting to convey those feelings using only our faces. After, we moved on to learning about feet movements and posture. She explained that Indians dance with their bare feet because they want to feel direct contact with the earth. We learned about different counts and moving our feet in a rhythmic pattern.
Once we learned hand gestures, facial expressions, and feet movements, it was time to dance! I must say, it was very difficult, but extremely fun! When we realized our feet were off beat, we focused on getting our steps right, but neglected to pay attention to our hands, which ended up flailing all over the place. Once we realized we needed to fix our hand gestures, we neglected our feet movements and ended up tap dancing to our own beat. And our facial expressions? Everyone wore the same one: concentration. It definitely wasn't an expression that was taught to us, but it was one that should be added to the list.
We finished the class with some Bollywood style dancing. The song we danced to was very upbeat so there were a lot of twist and turns! Our instructor commented that she saw everyone smiling, so she was thrilled we were enjoying the class. The workshop was such a wonderful experience. Learning about another culture from someone who has lived there was also a rewarding. I’m excited to have met new people and hope to do this again! A huge thank you to the Gwangju Performace Project for giving the people of Gwangju such wonderful experiences every month! Hope to do more workshops of your workshops in the future!
By Anissa Ghali
The "Make It Great In 48" film challenge was a great experience for me. It helped me find other filmmakers in the community to work with who also turned out to be very awesome people. I learned some new things about filmmaking and the challenge was fun and exciting.
The people that worked with me are all very talented and I enjoyed getting to see them showcase their talents and come together to make a product. Here is a little taste of our experience:
It was a shaky start for our filming process. We had planned to start around seven. We would meet at 6:30 and take cabs to the reservoir but then the unthinkable happened. A team member exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before fell into a slumber on her bus ride, and woke up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by rice paddies. It was okay, the rest of us were together.... or were we? The next three members ended up in a parking lot (they didn’t know what a reservoir was). They spent two hours getting separated and searching for each other in a maze of garages and department stores. Then, a hero arose and came to the rescue. After long hours of grueling searches for the Where’s Waldo of filmmaking, everyone had finally arrived. Then, the magic happened and we had a downright good time filming some of the most romantic scenes you may ever see in your lifetime. There was frolicking, chicken, laughter, and most importantly fun was had by all. Everything else went perfect after that! Just kidding, but those stories are for another time.
Maybe I was a little delirious from the lack of sleep that weekend but I wouldn’t change anything about it. We all took joy in working and learning together. We faced our challenges like warriors, and persevered as we wrought against the impending tick tocks of the clock.
By Ryan Morrison
One of the many panels at this year's Alleycon was a Stage Combat demonstration followed by a class teaching the fundamentals. Taking part were Rachel St. John, Anna Volle and Adam Volle. They started off by showcasing three fights from Star Trek, Mad Max Fury Road, and finally The Princess Bride.
The first fight was Kirk vs. Gorn starring Anna and Rachel respectively. It then moved seamlessly on to Furiosa vs. Max, when Max is still chained up, starring Anna and Adam. Finally and hilariously they moved on to Westley vs. Fezzik, again starring Anna and Rachel. All fights were very convincing and recreated well. With the exception of one errant gun, all fight scenes looked real and it is obvious a lot of planning went into the performance.
After the show, Rachel and Anna stayed around to teach the moves shown to the crowd that stayed to learn. This was very beneficial for those who like to take the stage. The most important information they shared was that the victim is always the one in control. They started off with the face slap, which basically is a high five with a massive reaction from the one getting slapped. A gut punch followed, then an elbow to the back, then a head lock and finally a foot stomp. After these moves they preceded to showcase how to fall convincingly and safely. After all instructions those taking the class were free to put together their own little stage fight using what they learned.
It was a fun event and useful for those who take to the stage.
By Stel Deianne
My Experience with the Make-up Tutorials.
I came in, Saturday afternoon, not knowing what to expect. I studied makeup application during my secondary education, and I was very curious about how it had changed. It DEFINITELY had changed.
The workshop was conducted by the very talented Lindsay Knudsen. I had the honor of having my make-up done by this amazing woman during our MMRP performance. She did phenomenal work for that play, and like magic, the character I had in mind came to life. So when I heard that she was leading this one: I knew I had to come.
There were very few of us, which made me feel sorry for the people missing out, especially for the ones who will be part of the next production. The differentiation between theater makeup and daily makeup was covered.
We started with the basic; clean face, toner, and moisturizer. We were given recommendations (what with Korea being a land full of cosmetics), about skin type, skin tone, and sensitivity. We had the base make-up tutorial; the how’s and why’s, do’s and don’ts, and of course, what fits. We did contouring techniques, basic eye make-up application and finishing touches. It was very educational.
After the lecture part, we were given the chance to either do our makeup, or practice on the next person. I decided to be a spectator, watching the marvelous hands at work. The makeup and costume designer for the next GPP project was in it, and I had a sneak peak of the kind of makeup she was about to do. It was so much fun!
By the end of the workshop, I had learned how techniques had changed. How contouring can highlight a person’s best asset, how day-make up can be oh-so-simple-yet-so-elegant, and how it’s so much fun experimenting with colors.
Like every other workshop the GPP has hosted, it was immensely enjoyable. I can’t wait for the next one!
By Joey Nunez
Who would have thought that fighting could be so much fun?
Rachel St. John and Sean Stanley, stage combat instructors and experts, demonstrated to and assisted participants as we "fought" each other on Sunday, June 21, in the GIC auditorium.
My partner, Wil, and I enjoyed trying various moves on each other including face-slapping, upper-cuts, side punches, foot-stomping, headlocks, and other movements. Safety was priority, so Rachel, Sean and Dave St. John (the combat assistant) patiently showed us the moves in both slow- and fast-motion.
I really appreciated the one-on-one attention that Rachel and Sean provided, giving us personalised instructions about what to do, what to avoid and how to make the fighting appear more realistic to an audience. I never hit Wil, and he never hit me, but it sure looked like we did!
Actions speak louder than words, so I was glad to add an extra layer to my acting skill set.
The next GPP workshop will be lead by Caitlin O'Neill and Anna Volle, focussing on audition techniques for Shakespearian works, on Saturday, July 25. Auditions for this years production of A Midsummer Night's Dream will be held the next day; Sunday, July 26.
The Gwangju Performance Project hosted a workshop on puppetry on Sunday, April 19 at 3 PM on the first floor of the GIC building. The workshop was conducted by Julien McNulty, an English professor at Chosun University, who led us through the basics of puppetry. Over the span of the two-hour workshop, we learned the importance of controlling the puppets' movement and 'body language' in order to develop characters and create story arcs. Near the end of the workshop, we got some exposure on how to construct a puppet using some simple materials and a template. Most importantly, the workshop was fun!
The February 28th workshop titled Acting Basics was a huge success! A big thank-you goes out to the workshop leaders and active participants who took part.
The workshop focused on three basic acting skills: movement, voice, and script analysis.
The movement workshop taught participants how to physicalize one's emotional state. Participants warmed up their bodies with some light stretching before getting silly! They were then asked to get into groups and represent objects with their bodies such as a washing machine. It was quite entertaining to watch someone pretending to be a piece of clothing being thrashed around inside of a fake washing machine!
The voice portion was highly informative and useful for both actors and teachers alike. Participants were taught how to warm-up their voices before a performance. They were then taught vocal techniques such as aspiration and speaking in the correct register. A useful tip given was "always think about what you are saying. You have to think about the meaning, how the word actually looks and feels". The theory was put into practice with participants paired together reading a famous poem by Robert Frost.
The third part of the workshop focused on script analysis skills. Participants were asked to analyze the character in their given scripts. They discussed details of the character such as age and the characters objections. Questions were asked such as- how does the audience perceive your character? "Acting isn't easy", said the leader. You have to decide these things about your character in order to make the character come alive. Participants were guided to look at the facts given about a character in the script and then elaborate on them to create a more realistic and believable character and performance.
The GPP's next workshop will be held next month on puppetry. Stay tuned on our website and facebook page for updates. See you next time!
January Workshop 2015
The workshop “Drama Games for the Classroom” was led by Victoria Brown and Jamie Oliver Jones on January 31st, 2015. They both studied Theatre at East 15 Acting School in the UK and are the Artistic Directors of the Unpuzzled Theatre company. They currently reside in Gwangju, South Korea where they teach English through the medium of Theatre.
The workshop consisted of a variety of theatre games that would be useful to the teachers here in Korea and abroad. The workshop kicked off with some simple but challenging name, memory, and pattern recognition games. There is little preparation time needed for most of these games. The supplies recommended were balls and chairs.
The participants enjoyed the workshop. There were plenty of laughs shared throughout the game play. Victoria and Jamie recommended some books to reference if the participants were curious to learn more or needed ideas for drama games they could modify to fit into their lessons.
The following are some resources for those wishing to incorporate drama techniques in the classroom:
Drama Games for Devising, Jessica Swale
Drama Games for Those Who Like to Say No, Chris Johnston
House of Games – Making Theatre From Everyday Life, Chris Johnston
Games for Actors and Non-Actors – Second Edition, Augusto Boal
Every year the GPP hosts a raffle fundraiser. Winners of the raffle win variously themed gift baskets that include hard to find items in Korea and give some a taste from back home. On May 23, the GPP hosted its raffle at the First Alleyway. Many winners brought home baskets of fun!
2014 was a big year for the Gwangju Performance Project. Along with new performances, the GPP started offering a variety of workshops, events, and the Jeolla Do Re Mi's. We'll be taking a look back at what the GPP has done this year while relishing the wonderful memories that were created.
First, a look at our first ever GPP workshop.
Stage Movement Workshop (April 20, 2014)
A volunteer put together this video recap of the event - check it out! (Credit: Elliot Morris)