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January 30, 2014 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-30

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4B - Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Culture, arts combined in new minor

Global Theatre minor
to offer a variety
of courses
DailyArts Writer
Theater and the art of per-
forming have been a part of
human culture for more than
two millenia. From a young age,
students are taught about the
celebrated performances from
ancient Greek and Roman civi-
lization, but theater has played
just as big of a role in other cul-
tures all over the world. India
had Sanskrit theater as early
as the first century A.D., and
kabuki theater has existed in
Japan since the 17th century.
And in the Middle East, pup-
pet theater was hugely popu-
lar with complex productions
made up entirely of hand pup-
pets and marionettes.
Every culture in the world
has some form of theater or
dramatic presentation and now,
starting in fall 2014, students
will have a chance to learn more
about these different cultures
with the new Global Theatre
and Ethnic Studies minor being
offered through the School of
Music, Theatre & Dance.
The minor originally start-
ed off as a program in African
American Theatre, but Theatre
and Drama Prof. Anita Gon-
zalez, the program advisor for
the Global Theatre minor, real-
ized she was missing out on the
opportunity to explore other
interesting cultures.
"The perspective of African
American studies scholars is
when you study African Ameri-
can studies, you're studying the
whole world anyway," Gonzalez
said. "So rather than try to draw
divisions, we're studying global
The minor is intended to teach
students about diverse com-
munities through a combina-
tion of performing, creating and
engaging with different cultural
works. Students will not be lim-
ited to only one region; they will
have the opportunity to study
numerous unique cultures all
over the world.
"The minor will cover play
reading and analysis as well as
studio practice," Gonzalez said.
"So you get to study the theater
of global communities, both

domestic and international. And
you get to create work within the
program and also study the lit-
For students, like Music, The-
atre & Dance sophomore Flores
Komatsu, a native of Mexico
City, the new minor opens up a
variety of opportunities that had
not been available to students
"What I loved when I came to
Michigan was the fact there is
such diversity on campus, cul-
turally and in the arts," Komatsu
said. "Andthe kind oftheatrethat
I do is sort of intercultural world
theater, so when this minor came
out it seemed like the exact thing
I wanted to do."
The program will include
a variety of different courses
covering topics such as race,
ethnicity and gender. Some of
the courses offered in the fall
include a class dedicated to mod-
ern rituals and traditional prac-
tices in which students will learn
different cultural traditions such
as choral singing, masking and
Another class being offered is
called Performing Archives and
Oral Histories and will, accord-
ing to Gonzalez, offer students
the chance to use "ethnographic
or archival sources to create new
performance works." Students
will also be required to go out-
side of the University and create
their own work to complete the
"The capstone course will
require people to make new
work," Gonzalez said. "So they
either have to work in a multicul-
tural community in the United
States or they have to work at an
international sight."
While Komatsu understands
that this requirement could be
difficult for some students to
complete, particularly those who
may wish to work during the
summers or have other commit-
ments, he finds the chance to go
into the world and explore the-
atre and performance in different
cultures an exciting prospect.
"Working within one of the
communities you're studying and
exploring is definitely important
because it's one thing to look at
them from an outsider's perspec-
tive and another to go and actu-
ally experience it for yourself,"
Komatsu said.
The new Global Theatre minor
will be only the second minor
offered by SMTD (the first being


Theatre and Drama Professor Anita Gonzalez is the program advisor for the new Global Theatre minor.

a minor in Performing Arts Man-
agement), and Gonzalez attri-
butes this fact to the intense
workload that theater and per-
formance students must deal
with. "If you ask what the biggest
challenge right now is, it's to get
(SMTD students) to have time in
their schedules to take a minor,"
Gonzalez explained.
In order to increase the num-
ber of people interested in taking
the course as well as give as many
students the opportunity to learn

about different communities
and cultures through the unique
lens of theatre, the minor will
be offered to students outside of
SMTD who are involved in a lib-
eral arts program.
"It's great to include people
from outside (SMTD) because
it enriches the community and
shows that art doesn't have to be
this self-indulgent thing, it can be
something that brings us togeth-
er as one community," Komatsu

Because the minor is being
offered to such a large number of
students on campus and because
many of the courses will involve
areas of study outside of theatre
and drama, Gonzalez intends to
bring in professors from other
schools to teach some of the
"I've been looking at LSA for
other professors to teach the lit-
erature and history of intercul-
tural performance," Gonzalez

In the future, both Gonzalez
and Komatsu hope to see the pro-
gran expand and grow as more
and more students learn about it
and begin taking courses.
"I hope in the next year we
will have a good number of stu-
dents within the minor," Kom-
atsu said. "And we'll have a lot
more courses as we gather more
student interest and get some
really good student projects
started so we can put into prac-
tice what we'll be learning."

/ ~JEach week we take shots at the biggest "kufl

developments in the entertainment world.
Here's what hit (and missed) this week.
Leonardo DiCaprio and
Jonah Hill reenact iconic
"Titanic" scene on
"Saturday Night Live"

Des ign by Gaby Iaaqssz





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