International Conference 
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

December 16 - 20, 2016


Shifting the Production Paradigm: Alice in Wonderland, An Original Ballet 

Presentation by Shani Robison - Associate Professor of Dance, Brigham Young University, President, CORPS de Ballet International (USA). 

Shani Robison, MA, associate professor of dance, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA. Shani has presented ballet pedagogical research and choreography at professional conferences in Canada, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York. Three contemporary ballets, African Winds (2008), Concealed (2009), and Interrupted Impulse (2012) were selected for ACDA/NW gala concerts with Interrupted Impulse selected as alternate for the national festival. Shani has choreographed full-length original ballets Romeo and Juliet (2009), Cinderella (2011), Alice in Wonderland (2016); and restaged The Sleeping Beauty (2013) and Swan Lake (2014) for BYU Theatre Ballet. Shani is President of CORPS de Ballet, International.   


For producing a large-scale dance production in higher education, the artistic process is typically defined as a top-down model. The artistic director of the dance company decides upon the production concept, solidifies a vision, identifies key faculty/staff contributors, and completes the vision by teaching the choreography to the students. In such a production there are many artistic processes that are happening simultaneously on a faculty/staff level, but the students are typically involved when all aspects are mostly solidified. The students are limited beneficiaries of the process through learning, rehearsing, and performing, which is truly valuable from a performer’s vantage point, but rarely, if ever, do undergraduate students have the opportunity to create a full production from the beginning. 

To help students understand and engage in artistic processes, Shani Robison changed the production paradigm to a new model, one of being student-centered where all of the processes and products were determined by students from start to finish. By collaborating with faculty, staff and students from design areas such as sets, costumes, lighting, make-up, projection/graphic, engineering and animation, Shani Robison together with the students created the original full-length ballet Alice in Wonderland. The faculty and staff served as mentors, but this two-year project was completely student-initiated and designed, from the choreography to the sets. 

For this presentation Shani Robison would like to explain: details of the created collaborative arts course, ways in which collaboration occurred, the varied artistic processes, the results of this student-created project, and the successes and challenges that resulted from such a paradigm shift. 

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"