If you teach or attend classes in performing arts, Disneyland Paris must be one of the best places in Europe to see how studies are put into practice. Parades and shows; street theatre, nighttime AV and firework events, character meet and greets, are all part of the daily routine.
Study Experiences takes Performing Arts students one stage further, and goes behind the scenes to find out about the skills hundreds of performers need to utilise to entertain thousands of people each and every day!
Disney is an internationally recognised company at the forefront of the entertainment industry, and Disneyland Paris has given us their full support by allowing us to film behind-the-scenes interviews with show directors, choreographers, costumiers and other cast members (employees). These unique videos are exclusive to students and teachers attending our Disney-based seminars.
Our events comprise two seminars and a more hands-on workshop. The first seminar, ‘Lights, Camera, Action’, features video interviews with talented Show Directors like Emanuel Lenormand, who began a successful career dancing and acting on television before moving to the other side of the camera to concentrate on writing and directing. Having studied acting, jazz and tap dance at the French Conservatoire, Emanuel landed smack in the middle of the wonderful world of Disney and enjoys every minute of his work at Disneyland Paris.
Videos recorded with him this summer include: the role of the show director, rehearsal structure, choreography, hints and tips for performing in a parade or show and even how to get a job at Disneyland Paris! Incidentally, some Study Experience students have in fact gone on to work at the resort.
Other interviews with Show Directors and Senior Management include vocal training, writing and performing music for parades and shows (including orchestrations and adaptations), stunt work, gymnastic skills, puppeteering and even a quick look at the values and morals behind the Disney ethos.
As part of Study Experiences Disneyland Paris Performing Arts tours, students have an Interactive Question and Answer Session. This represents a unique opportunity to talk directly with someone who has first-hand experience of performing, recruiting or training at the resort. Excited students generally ask our speakers what a Disney casting director looks for, how they should prepare for auditions and what is it really like to perform in a show or parade.
The ‘Behind the Magic’ seminar covers writing show tunes, parade design and construction, costuming, and interactive media shows that include giant AV projections, pyrotechnics and water displays.
If that isn’t enough the exciting ‘Your Chance to Shine’ Workshop gives groups the chance to plan, rehearse and develop a performance. The piece, together with creative input from backstage students, is then presented to a guest who has worked as part of the Entertainment Team at Disneyland Paris, who will give a personal critique of the work.
Events take place each January/February at the Gaumont Cinema in the Disney Village. Each event is supported by a Teacher Education Guide and Student Workbook. ‘Triple threat’ performers can benefit from the Performance Skills Student Workbook, written in line with current subject syllabi on themed showcase performance, which presents the opportunity to critique a parade or show at the resort.
Find out more here.
Lynda Warren is a lecturer in the history of musical theatre and has worked in both provincial and touring theatre. She has many years of experience liaising with and filming behind the scenes at Disneyland Paris for Study Experience – a dream job for anyone who has a passion for musical theatre and Disney.