The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Virus sparks changes for performing arts

April 22, 2020 | Elyssa Gideon | reporter
Screenshot from online SE dance class
SE associate dance professor Brandy Niccolai-Belfi films herself going over choreography for the video project in her online class.

Performing arts instructors districtwide found ways to continue teaching in a new format after COVID-19 pandemic closed campuses for the remainder of the semester.

“Our classes are meeting live during our scheduled course times,” SE associate dance professor Brandy Niccolai-Belfi said. “We are dancing together and creating together, students are only missing out if they choose not to participate.”

NE adjunct drama instructor Susan Polster said that the eight-week rehearsal time
prior to the COVID-19 outbreak had allowed the cast members to create the family connections.

“The emotional upheaval we as a cast are currently experiencing has as much to do with not being able to be together and enjoy each other as it does with the cancellation of our production,” she said.

The creativity of the faculty is key to keep the classes “dynamic and on track,” NW theater director J. Brent Alford said.

“Since virtually everyone has access to a smartphone, camera, and basic editing software, ‘live’ performances can easily be shared between students and faculty for the purposes of maintaining academic integrity in the course,” Alford said.

Some of the classes are hoping to put together compilations as a fill-in for canceled in-person performances.

Screenshot from NW theater online session
NW student Raul Gonzales plays his role as Peter Pan during the online rehearsal.

“It is our intent to create a video showcase of our ‘Shrek’ experience,” Polster said. “Not only does this allow us to remain engaged in our study of musical theatre, but also gives us the opportunity to interact and provides a performance outlet for my extremely talented cast.”

Not just the drama classes, SE dance classes are also working on video performances where students record themselves performing choreography and then submit online.

“The faculty will put together a video dance to present in our virtual dance concert at the end of the semester,” Niccolai-Belfi said.

NE dance professor Kihyoung Choi and NE associate dance professor Hyun Jung Chang agree that it’s hard being away from the dance students and other faculty members. They miss putting in work together in the dance studio.

The virus created an unprecedented situation, but TCC has handled it “decisively and professionally with the students’ best interest front and center,” Alford said.

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