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Oz Comes Alive In Film And Dance At CoSA

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Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 10:56 am

Film, Dance, and the Wizard of Oz are joining forces this summer as Coronado School of the Arts (CoSA) partners with the City of Coronado Cultural Arts Commission in order to create Oz Alive! on August 2 at 7 p.m. Talented students from Coronado and all over San Diego have been given the opportunity and privilege to work with outstanding guest teachers that are some of the best in their trade during summer intensives hosted at CoSA.

Oz Alive! is comprised of a Dance Intensive (July 21- August 1) and a Film/TV/Digital Media Intensive in which students were able to participate in one of two sessions with the last session ending on August 5. The end goal of the entire program is to allow audiences to see the dancers perform in a cohesive and modern retelling of the classic The Wizard of Oz while the film students film the performance live for Coronado TV on Channel 19. It is going to be a performance even the Wicked Witch of the West wouldn’t miss!

During the process of selecting strong producers for each strand of the program, CoSA and the City of Coronado Cultural Arts Commission were lucky to have the best possible candidates already in their grasp—Ruben “Fusion” Monet Ludlow and Tony Perri.

Dance Producer Ruben “Fusion” Monet Ludlow found his love and passion for the arts during his time spent at Coronado High School. After going off to work with amazing artists such as Beyonce, Diana Ross, Will Smith, Missy Elliott, Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, P. Diddy, Rachel McAdams and countless others, Ludlow is excited to come back to his hometown of Coronado where his family has lived since the 1920’s.

Ludlow’s excitement for his new project is contagious. Not only is Ludlow beyond ecstatic to be giving back to his alma mater, he is looking forward to working with “hungry performers.” Ludlow also explained that while Oz Alive! is special to him on so many personal levels, this intensive is not your typical summer program that is strictly made up of dance classes. Ludlow said, “It culminates a high quality production based upon the staff and choreographers attached to it as well as a unique performance based upon a timeless classic. Not even if I click my heels three times could I be in a happier place!”

The styles of dance taught throughout the intensive and showcased at the performance include hip-hop, modern, lyrical, and contemporary jazz. During the intensive, the students will work with a new choreographer each day. These critically acclaimed choreographers include Courtney Miller Jr, Katherine Ewalt, Staci Flood, Chris Koehl, Peter G. Kalivas, Matt Carney, Trystan Loucado, and Annie Boyer. Due to the fact that students involved in the dance intensive would have to work with professional artists, Oz Alive! thought it would be of great importance that the dancers be mature enough to handle the fast-paced program. Dancers in the program are of at least intermediate level with the youngest student being thirteen and the oldest in college.

Choreographer Matt Carney has been dancing professionally for 15 years. He has previously danced for the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Co. He has also performed pieces by Marius Petipa, Sir Fredrick Ashton, Erick Hawkins, George Balanchine, Doris Humphrey, Robert Cohen, and Donald McKayle. Currently, he is a company member with the San Diego Ballet & San Diego Dance Theatre and also teaches at Coronado School of the Arts. What makes Carney different from the other choreographers participating in this summer intensive is that he plans on harnessing the students skills while guiding them in the right direction so that at the end of the day, the dance will be entirely choreographed by the students themselves. Despite the fact that the program is labeled as a “Dance Intensive,” Carney considers it to be a “Choreography Intensive,” as the students will constantly be adapting to new styles and new teachers. He plans on teaching the students the basic principles of design and choreography, “maybe the best guest artists are the students that are involved,” said Carney.

While the Dance Intensive will be bringing much to the Oz Alive! table, the Film/TV/Digital Media Intensive is contributing just as much!

Film/TV/Digital Media Producer Tony Perri has worked in almost all areas of film. Perri is a former Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. Studios, and CBS-TV producer, director, and writer. He was also a news anchorman, producer and reporter at KREX-TV (NBC) and at KPIX-TV (CBS) in San Francisco where he worked for the TV show, PM Magazine. As if that wasn’t enough, Perri, as Executive Director of Coronado-based Surf’s Up Studios, directed two award-winning films—School of Thought starring David Lynch, featuring Paul McCartney and Serotonin Rising starring the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra. Currently, Perri is the Executive Producer at Coronado TV and teaches broadcast production at CoSA.

The first session of the intensive has already passed. Students were allowed full access of all equipment—TV Studio, props, cameras, etc. They were taught how to use an HD camera, how to interview, and how to edit. Perry took full advantage of the summer and used Coronado’s 4th of July Parade as the main event for his film students. Each student was tasked with creating a three-minute highlight of the parade and their interviews. Those highlights are still being run on Coronado TV and on their website.

The second session is about to begin on July 23. However, students can still sign up until July 24 by calling Perri at 619-347-1185. The second session is similar to the first except it will now be paired with the Dance Intensive. Students will learn everything the first session students were able to learn, in addition to learning how to film a live theatre production for TV. To prepare, they will be filming the dance intensive rehearsals and posting them online.

August 2 will be the final day for all the students of this intensive. They will have three cameras set up in the theatre to film the Oz Alive! It will be aired live on Coronado TV and can be seen worldwide on www.coronadotv.me. It will continue to run a couple times a day for about a month on Channel 19 but there is nothing better than going to the live performance at the CoSA theatre—the dancers’ energy will be tangible and you can watch the film students in action. “This intensive is worth every penny!” said Perri.

Director Tara Noonan is so pleased with everything Oz Alive! has become and will be from all aspects of celebrating the arts as well as The Wizard of Oz. “Making this a reality is a dream come true! Not only will this new program create funds to support the Coronado School of the Arts, which is dear to my heart, but students, local and afar, can experience amazing, intense arts programs over the summer.  Next summer’s program will be even bigger and better!”

For more information, please visit www.cosafoundation.org/summer.

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