New York is aptly named the Big Apple and the Newman College Arts students certainly took a big bite out of this city in the two weeks they were there. The purpose of the tour was to immerse students in their chosen arts disciplines of either Music, Drama, Dance or Visual Art and this was certainly achieved. After some very long flights, students hit the ground running with lots of sightseeing. They visited Central Park for a bike ride; St Patrick Cathedral; did an NBC studio tour; hung out in Times Square and went on “The Ride” which is an interactive bus tour, walked across Brooklyn Bridge at dusk; listened to a gospel choir and ate soul food in Harlem; chose to visit the Natural History Museum for a scavenger hunt or visit the famous Guggenheim Art Museum; and were entertained by singing and dancing waiters at Ellen’s Stardust Diner.
After these first few days the group was ready to start workshops in their chosen arts disciplines. Each group worked under the tutelage of professional practitioners. The wealth of knowledge they absorbed throughout their time in these workshops was certainly impressive. The tour was broken with a “rest day” at Governor’s Island where students were able to get away from the craziness of the city and either walk or bike around the island. Evenings were spent at various performances. Students got to experience “Sleep No More;” “Country, Blues and Roots Performance;” “Dear Evan Hansen;” “Beetlejuice;” “Dizzy’s Jazz Club;” “Mark Morris – dance performance;” Amateur Night at the Apollo” and “Much Ado About Nothing.”
The tour concluded with attendance at mass in the beautiful St Patrick’s Cathedral followed by visiting the High Line, the Chelsea Markets, the 911 Memorial and the steps of the MET Museum. The students and teachers had the most exciting, action packed and wonderful time in New York.
Dance Reflection by Ruby Vance
New Yorks’ dance is extremely unique and offered the dance students the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones. We all loved learning unique techniques of warm ups, stretching and dance style. Choreography and improvisation classes we experienced with leading choreographers helped us develop our own personal sense of movements and phrases. Dancehall was also a group favourite, where we learned a new style of dance with Jamaican and African roots. Contemporary at the Alvin Ailey Dance Company was by far my personal favourite. Choreographer Martell Ruffin provided comedic relief as well as a cool sense of contemporary he likes to call ‘hip hoppery’ that was visually stunning and fun to perform.
Overall New York provided me with the amazing opportunities that I only wish I could experience in Perth. To be in the city where dance really made its place in the world was truly magical, and for that I will forever be thankful to have had the opportunity to go on the 2019 Arts Tour.
Visual Art Reflection by Jaime Pyne
My time in New York was an experience of a lifetime. For me the main focus was on visual art. After a quick subway ride to Brooklyn, graffiti covered the buildings everywhere. We were given a tour and background of the art and then got to try it for ourselves. It was like nothing I have ever tried before. I loved learning the history of graffiti art and that only more recently it has become accepted as a ‘form of art’. I also loved hearing about how artists would go out and spend most nights painting and trying not to get caught when creating their art.
We also visited the Guggenheim museum, which was definitely one of my highlights. Not only was the artwork amazing but the architecture of the museum was as well. To me, it was such a good place to people watch and I found it fascinating seeing people’s reactions to the artworks. I also really enjoyed being able to watch so many musicals and plays. It was amazing to watch the sets and performance spaces come to life. Seeing the visual elements come together to transport the audience to another world was really impactful.
The trip to New York was unforgettable and I felt like I got to experience first-hand what it would be like living there as an artist.
Drama Reflection by Elisabeth Metcalf
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I was given by the College for the 2019 Arts Tour. The exhaustion that I felt as we arrived at our hotel after almost 32 hours of airports, security checks and cramped planes was washed away by the sheer incredulity and awe of being in New York.
As workshops began, I initiated “sponge mode,” soaking up everything I could about physical theatre, and our theatre practitioners; Bogart, Laban, Lepage and Meisner. It was daunting and exhausting, and every night I’d get back to my room and fall into bed, shattered. But each morning I’d wake up ready and excited to seize every opportunity I was given to improve my acting skills. My highlight for the tour was definitely “Beetlejuice – the Musical.” Apart from my own love of musical theatre, I was excited to identify techniques in the performance that we’d been studying in our workshops! The set design was stunning, and the actors and actresses were of an incredible caliber, inspiring me to really apply myself to my own drama studies.
I also loved the workshop I attended on writing an Original Solo Performance, something that will be invaluable in my practical exam for my ATAR Drama course.
Overall, this was an experience that I will cherish forever, and the friendships I developed with other students whom I wouldn’t have otherwise interacted with, are bonds that I will carry into my adult life post-school.
Music Refection by Meg Hobson
While I was in New York my chosen discipline to explore was music. This meant that the activities I did were generally based around writing, performing, recording music and the music side of productions and performances. The first workshop we did was a music production workshop where we had the opportunity to record a song that we had been rehearsing. This was the first time I had ever been inside a recording studio and it was amazing to see how the music that we had been playing could be recorded and mixed to sound like music that you hear on the radio!
After this I went to a composing workshop for musical theatre where we worked in small groups to write a song that could be used in a musical. We wrote the lyrics and made a chord progression to go with a melody. This workshop was one of my favourites because it really let me be creative and it allowed me to gain a lot of appreciation for the amount of work that goes in before a musical can even begin to be rehearsed.
Another great session that we did was a jazz jam session and street performance. The performance and the variety of sessions that we did before and after the performance encouraged all of us to attempt solos and to be more expressive through our music. Music students also got to experience a hip-hop history walking tour and a tour of Lincoln Centre.
Although all of the workshops and opportunities were amazing experiences, my favourite would have to be sitting in the orchestra pit of the Tony award winning Broadway musical “The Prom.” I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit amongst amazing musicians who were performing live. Watching these musicians perform and having the opportunity to speak to them about their work and their life leading up to working as a musician on Broadway was incredible and truly inspired me.
The two weeks that I spent on the tour were such an amazing experience.