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A Day in the Life of a Third-year Dance Student at the University of Roehampton

Hey everyone! I’m Esther Penate, a third-year Dance BA student at the University of Roehampton. I thought I’d share with you a glimpse into my Easter break as a student here. While some students might be jetting off to sunny destinations or catching up on sleep, I’ve decided to use this time to explore my passion for dance and theatre production.

My day started around 9am with a simple breakfast to fuel up for the day ahead. I whipped up some avocado toast and scrambled eggs before grabbing my backpack filled with snacks and lighting design notes.

By 10:30am, I’m out the door and heading to Ealing Broadway station. The journey to Roehampton University normally takes about 90 minutes by bus and train- however this time it went quite quickly and I got some time to catch up on my favourite series on Netflix! The good weather helped me to stay in a good mindset to finish a light design for the piece I have been assigned to. 20 degrees in London is rare, take my word for it!

I arrived on campus around 12pm and headed straight to Michaelis Theatre studio to meet with Helena and Michael (my lighting teacher). The studio was quiet, with no other students or rehearsals. I felt I had enough space and time to not rush and I could let my imagination run wild.

I spent the next few hours practising my lighting cues, fine-tuning the transitions between the lighting colours, and experimenting with different lighting effects. I had to figure out a way to create an atmosphere for the dancers whilst respecting the choreographer’s wishes, challenge accepted!

After having such a great time experimenting in the studio, I gathered my notes and reviewed everything that was inside the tech booth to fully run by the lighting design for the 12-minute piece. With the help of ETC software and plenty of trial and error, I brought my vision to life, illuminating the stage with dynamic colours and patterns, using a profile light with a gobo. I learnt a lot about how to set up, design, and bring visions to life, but also how to be efficient at delivering this project.

As the clock ticks closer to 3pm, I finish my work for the day and reflect on everything I’ve accomplished. I had to wait around 20 min until the profile light cooled off for me to remove it from the theatre to avoid breaking the bulb inside. I made sure to close the lighting room and stockroom before heading home.

I arrived home at around 4.30pm and had a little rest before working on my dissertation paper which is due next week. Overall, it’s been a productive and fulfilling day, filled with creativity, colour, and artistic expression. I’m grateful for the opportunity to discover my skills as a lighting and production designer and to be able to contribute to the arts here at Roehampton University.

Thanks for joining me!
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Roehampton Library | Roehampton University
University of Roehampton
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