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BWW Blog: June is Bustin' Out All Over

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Hi BroadwayWorld! Welcome back. Sorry for the small hiatus. I'm excited to be back writing here, and I'm ready to address the elephant in the room which is the global pandemic and how it has affected my spring semester of college as an eager, devoted, and passionate theatre student. Just as a brief re-introduction: I am attending University of Central Florida as a Theatre major with a minor in Mass Media Communications. This was my first semester attending there as a transfer student which is why I think I took the reroute to classes online mid semester so tough.

Obviously, it was a step that had to be taken by many if not all Universities around the globe. We found out on March 15th (at the end of our spring break) that we would not be attending in person classes for at least a few weeks which quickly turned into the remainder of the semester as we only had a little over a month left anyway.

My immediate thoughts were along the lines of:

"How on earth do they expect students to retain any kind of theatre teaching in solely an online setting?"

"What will be their expectations of us moving forward?"

"Will I continue to succeed or lose interest?"

"What will I do for my dance class?"

These were just some of the questions and concerns flowing through my head at this time. It took a minute, but all professors reached out in saying that they would be here for us as we all navigated through this new process of learning and teaching. The classes I was taking included Jazz, Acting, Stage Make-Up, Technical Theatre lab and class, and Script Analysis along with being on the front of house team this semester. It wasn't long before I was introduced to my new best friend for the time being, Zoom.

BWW Blog: June is Bustin' Out All Over
Photo by Shruti Talekar

Zoom is a media platform which allows video calls of up to one hundred or more people as long as you had a code to go along with each specific meeting. I had zoom calls twice a week at our regularly scheduled time with my Jazz class. Luckily, I had an incredible instructor who still was determined to keep us in shape by leading a 25 minute workout followed by the teaching of a weekly combination as we would've in the studio. The only major adjustment was dancing in my living room and following along from a computer! Weekly on Fridays in accordance with my normal school schedule, I was required to exhibit make up designs which I performed on myself. Only difference was I was doing the designs in my bathroom rather than the green room. Script Analysis proceeded with written work and reading with a final class video presentation meeting to hear everyone's input on the shows we analyzed all semester. Acting was a bit of a difficult adjustment as we had just began working on group scenes in the studio; however, the professor was flexible and assigned us monologues instead which worked in or favor as we got to brush up on self-tape skills. (These are huge in the industry currently!) I finished the semester with little to no struggles and with the exact grades I would've had we been in person. I definitely missed the atmosphere of campus most especially the performing arts building filled with the rush of aspiring artists, but this will go down as a semester I'll never forget.

From this pandemic as a student artist, I've learned many things and truly grown beyond belief. After the semester ended, I decided to continue studying and searched hard which resulted in me finding many training resources to help hone in on my strengths, expand my skill sets, and practice to better my weaknesses. There were so many platforms available which offered coaching for reasonable prices with exceptional teachers straight from the industry. I even made a weekly schedule for myself with classes and exercises as I continued in quarantine. This helped to ease my mind and give me a sense of normalcy after I had been having a pretty maintained school schedule keeping me busy weeks prior. This goes to show that even when challenges arise such as a global pandemic in the midst of a semester, that there is nothing that can stop we as aspiring artists from training and continuing on with what we love. Had this not happened, I never would have discovered the things that performers can achieve and are capable of in an online setting and the magic of the lifesaving now well-known application, Zoom.

See you guys soon, and we'll chat more and all about keeping busy and bettering yourself as student performer emotionally, physically, and mentally during this short intermission. Thanks for dropping in!

-Another Blog More with Christina

Christina Samanie

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From This Author Student Blogger: Christina Samanie