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Synetic Theater Offers Street Theater Camp

Synetic Theater and dog & pony dc are offering a week-long course in street theater from March 10-15.

Synetic Theater and dog & pony dc are offering a week-long course in street theater from March 10-15. Photo Contributed

Synetic Theater and dog & pony dc are teaming up to offer a week-long intensive course in street theater for high school and college students at Synetic's new studio space in Crystal City. It runs March 10-15 and costs $350. Classes will culminate on Saturday, March 15 with public performances that take students from Crystal City to Freedom Plaza in the District.

“This year, we are very excited to be working with dog & pony theater,” said Camp Director Elena Velasco. “They use social media and are very focused on audience reaction and audience relationships.”

She added, “With dog & pony, it will be how we can invite the audience into the action ... How do we incorporate that into social media — Twitter, texting — how can we expand that performance circle.”

Under the guidance of senior Synetic teachers and artists from dog & pony dc, students will study the disciplines of collaborative creation. Street theater offers a means of honing one's skills as an actor, and performers use their craft to empower their community and transform public spaces into arenas of artistic exchange.

The camp will be structured by taking the strength, skills and techniques of Synetic Theater and mixing those educational practices with performance practices of the dog & pony theater. Dog & pony specializes in audience integration and live performance, as well as using social media to engage audiences with new technology. Students will also learn the physical techniques that Synetic Theater incorporates: mime, clowning styles, dance, pantomime and text.

“They will also create compositions using technology and music to shape theater pieces,” said Educational Coordinator Joe Carlson. He added the course will focus on ensemble work and creative collaboration — “How everyone works together to tell a story in a captivating and potent manner.”

Carlson said, “It’s all geared to the value that theater has the potential to help shape public space and help activate revelation and reflection in the audience without dictating what that revelation should be.”

The challenge is getting young audiences — the new generation — excited about attending the theater and providing different venues. “If you can’t get them in the seats, take it out to the streets,” said Carlson, jokingly.

Velasco said, “We will be doing some physical conditioning — about how we become aware of the way the body can be used to make different images and shapes — by training the body to be aware of isolations, different tempos, also how to create and collaborate -- to allow everybody’s voice to come together and be represented in a piece.”

Regarding the use of social media, Carlson said students will be Tweeting, blogging, and Facebooking, and offering hints about their performances to generate public interest.

The street theater class will be held at 2155 Crystal Plaza Arcade in Arlington. It is accessible through the Yellow Line at the Crystal City Metro station, then through Crystal City Underground. Students can register for the course at www.synetictheater.org/studio. Call 703-824-8060.