Georgia Tech students participating in the new Grand Challenges program recently had the unique opportunity to engage in collaborative learning with Georgia Tech resident artist, choreographer Seán Curran. Curran, a graduate and guest faculty member of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and original member of the Off-Broadway percussion extravaganza Stomp, challenged the students in exercises of rhythm and dance technique.
Through ARTech, the Georgia Tech Office of the Arts’ artist residency program, professional performing artists are engaged each year in extended residencies on the Georgia Tech campus that emphasize a particular exploration of the arts and science or technology. This year’s ARTech resident artists, Curran and chamber music ensemble ETHEL, have begun to explore architecture and non-traditional performance spaces with students from the Georgia Tech College of Architecture. Both artists visited the campus in early October 2012 to conduct lectures, master classes and performances.
While in residence, Curran and associate artistic director Elizabeth Coker Giron conducted a dance movement workshop for students from the Grand Challenges Living Learning Community, a new program of the Division of Student Affairs that addresses the need for students to develop skills not taught in traditional classes at Tech by focusing on the large challenges facing society. The program offers a living-learning community for 110 exceptional freshman students to learn leadership, team-building and analytical skills in a unique, multidisciplinary learning lab. Held onstage at the Ferst Center for the Arts, the workshop presented 40 students with a movement-based approach to collaboration and leadership.
"As our students work together in teams this year, they are learning to communicate and express themselves using a variety of techniques, “ says the program’s Assistant Director Kari White. “This workshop allowed them to do that in an unexpected way - through movement and choreography. The ARTech residency program is a fantastic opportunity for Georgia Tech students to work with professional artists to gain a new perspective to explore learning."
Student participant J.R. Robertson jumped at the chance to approach collaboration in a new way explaining, “Seán Curran opened our minds to the creative arts and allowed us to express our passion in music in a manner unfamiliar to us all. It stretched our left brain aptitude, which sometimes gets neglected as an engineering student.”
ARTech residency activities resume in spring 2013 when Curran and ETHEL return to campus. For more information on the artists, visit www.ferstcenter.gatech.edu