By Shane Donglasan
This fall, New College of Florida will begin offering a new area of concentration in Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. Through this interdisciplinary AOC, students will explore theater, dance and performance studies at the intersection of theory and practice, gaining a broad-based understanding of the discipline.
“We think of performance expansively, including the study of performance in all of its variations,” said Diego Villada, Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies. “The connection between theory and practice is one that makes us stand out from other theater majors in our state system. We don’t specialize within our program. Our program is focused on fitting in theatre, dance, and performance within the broader liberal arts ethos of New College.”
The AOC will offer practicum opportunities by producing plays, dance performances, and other different types of shows through the collegiate theatrical production company, [performance@new college], under the artistic direction of the faculty in theater and performance studies.
With the debut of the new AOC, the company will go from producing one show per semester to two.
“[performance@new college] not only serves the campus as a way to consume art and live performance but also to be a part of it,” Villada said. “We are an ‘all hands on deck’ theatre company, which means anyone can work on any part of the production that they are interested in committing to, whether that’s working on sound design or taking on the role of house manager.”
Students of the Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies AOC will also benefit from Sarasota’s vibrant arts and culture community. Students have immersed themselves in performances from the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, Florida Studio Theatre, Urbanite Theatre, Sarasota Ballet and Sarasota Dance Company. Villada said he hopes to continue partnering with these organizations to provide internships and other opportunities for Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies students.
Alongside the AOC’s core faculty are two adjunct professors who are practicing artists and active in the Sarasota performance community. Andrew Malaev-Babel is the Head of Acting at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training and Leymis Bolaños Wilmott is the founder and director of Sarasota Contemporary Dance.
“My goal is to make sure our programming is a fixture of the New College experience,” Villada said. “If a year goes by and you haven’t been to a [performance@ new college] production, you’re missing out.”
– Shane Donglasan is the marketing writer/project coordinator at New College of Florida.