Actor Taye Diggs ’93 returns to SU campus for drama workshops and public Q&A March 29-30
Actor Taye Diggs ’93 returns to SU campus for drama workshops and public Q&A March 29-30March 14, 2008Erica Blustesblust@syr.edu
Taye Diggs ’93, well-known actor and alumnus of the Department of Drama in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), will return to the SU campus March 29-30 to offer dance and acting workshops to more than 200 drama students. He will also take part in a question-and-answer session that is free and open to the public on Sunday, March 30, from 11 a.m.-noon in the John D. Archbold Theatre of Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse.
Diggs will be joined in the workshops and Q&A by New York City-based performer and choreographer Andrew Palermo, his childhood friend. The Rochester, N.Y., natives formed the contemporary dance company dre.dance in 2004, which provides master classes in contemporary dance, musical theater, hip-hop, jazz and acting/audition techniques, in addition to performance. The first of their two dance workshops will focus on dance repertory from the hit Broadway musical “Wicked,” while the second will concentrate on modern/contemporary dance. They will also teach a television and film acting workshop.
“After having graduated from SU Drama I feel safe saying that I was sufficiently prepared for my future in the performing arts,” says Diggs. “Outside of theater technique, I also came away with a solid sense of responsibility, ambition and drive, which continues to assist me throughout various endeavors today.”
Adds Palermo, “dre.dance gives us a chance to use every aspect of our training and reach out to various schools across the country in a way that’s very exciting, personal and extremely rewarding.”
“I am always searching for opportunities to produce events that expand upon students’ classroom experiences,” says Kim Hale, assistant professor of drama, who organized and secured funding for the visit. “The chance to learn from an established alumnus such as Taye
Diggs is an invaluable opportunity for students and an example of the University’s vision of Scholarship in Action, as the master classes connect the students’ academic experiences with their creative aspirations.”
The pair’s dre.dance recently completed a residency at Wichita State University, teaching classes and setting the first section of their new work “beyond.words.” This new piece centers on the autistic spectrum and will continue to be developed as part of the company’s current residency at Joyce SoHo in New York City. In addition, dre.dance is in its second year as artist in residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center (PAC) in New York City. This residency will culminate in fall 2008, at which time the company will present a collaborative evening-length work with composer Rob Reddy, also a Tribeca PAC artist in residence.
Diggs and Palermo have also conducted residencies, workshops and classes at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (UCC-CM); the University of Michigan; Pepperdine University; the SUNY College at Potsdam; the School of the Arts in Rochester; Broadway Dance Center in New York City; EDGE Performing Arts Center and Millennium Dance Complex, both in Los Angeles; and numerous national conventions, studios and performing arts camps. As performers, Diggs and Palermo have appeared on Broadway, off-Broadway and in touring productions of “Carousel,” “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” “Rent,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “West Side Story,” “The Wild Party,” “Little Fish,” “Chicago,” “A Soldier’s Play” and “Wicked.”
Diggs graduated from VPA in 1993 with a B.F.A. in musical theater. He has numerous television credits to his name, including “Kevin Hill,” “Ally McBeal,” “Day Break” and, most recently, “Private Practice.” His feature film credits include “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Brown Sugar,” “Chicago” and “Rent.”
Palermo graduated from UCC-CM with a B.F.A. in musical theater. His stage choreography has been seen at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Carnegie Hall, the Hudson Theatre, 37 Arts, the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, the New York City Festival of Dance 2005, the Old Globe, Prince Music Theater, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Music Theatre of Wichita and Sacramento Music Circus. For the camera, he has choreographed for Comedy Central’s “Stella” and the film “Holey Habits,” as well as commercials for G-Shock and Showtime/Apple.
Diggs and Palermo’s visit is sponsored by VPA and UEncounter, an SU initiative that funds programs that allow for students, artists, performers and/or field professionals to interact with one another. For more information about the visit, contact Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about dre.dance, visit http://www.dredance.com.