Cirque du Soleil

TFT's unique collaboration with the largest theatrical producer in the world began summer quarter 2013

In March 2013, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and Cirque du Soleil, one of the world’s most revered entertainment organizations, announced the formation of a multi-year fellowship program based in Las Vegas, Nevada, home to seven Cirque du Soleil productions.

The inspiration behind the alliance with Cirque du Soleil stemmed from Dean Teri Schwartz’s vision, which re-imagines entertainment and performing arts education as an interdisciplinary enterprise grounded in humanistic storytelling, innovation and global diversity. This exciting partnership offers TFT students new and unique opportunities to work collaboratively across a multitude of exciting interdisciplinary platforms integrating visual storytelling with live performance, multimedia, 3D, CGI and other forms for digital content creation.

“We are delighted and honored to partner with Cirque du Soleil, the gold standard and leader for the highest levels of interdisciplinary creativity and innovation,” Schwartz said during the announcement. “Cirque du Soleil has boldly pushed the boundaries of where live performance and visual imagery can go, and in ways not imagined before. This is a groundbreaking, singularly important, one-of-a-kind relationship for which we are deeply appreciative to Cirque du Soleil. It allows us to test our philosophy for interdisciplinary studies in a real world context, and represents the fullest expression of our new vision and strategic plan for re-imagining the entire educational enterprise for entertainment and performing arts education in the 21st century. I am so excited and happy for our students to have this amazing, transformational experience.”

“We are like-minded in terms of what Dean Schwartz is trying to do,” said Jordan Fiksenbaum, vice president of marketing and public relations for the Resident Division of Cirque du Soleil. “We formed this partnership to provide a creative, conducive and collaborative environment that’s prosperous for both entities. We are excited to give TFT students real-world working knowledge and experience to help them become better storytellers, creators, designers, and overall more talented individuals.”

The annual fellowship program is open to graduate students from the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media and the Department of Theater, with a highly selective process for admittance beginning with a written narrative explaining why the applicant wants to participate in this unique opportunity. The program provides four graduate students (chosen from candidates in both departments) with the chance to collaborate with one another at Cirque du Soleil’s resident shows in Las Vegas, and to actively participate in the creative, technical, production, marketing and management process of their shows. Students work with a mentor at Cirque du Soleil and a faculty advisor at UCLA TFT and are involved in the process from development through production.

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