A guide to COPA explained by conservatory students

Written By Zoey Angelucci, For The Globe

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Understanding and comprehending the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA) life seems to be a struggle for the average Point Park University (PPU) student. For all non-COPA students who have a limited understanding of what COPA is and the process these students had to complete to even get in the program, the answers have been found and the mystery is solved.

Across the board, all COPA kids have to get accepted academically just like everyone else. The real difference comes when it is time to be accepted artistically. All students involved in dance, theatre and cinema arts must display their artistic abilities to become fully admitted.

“They had several auditions you could choose from,” freshman dance major Aniela Marcin explained. “There were four or five you could choose from, and they went until February.”

“(You) pick a time or make other arrangements for your audition,” freshman dance major Megan Nasche added. “Point Park also does auditions through online videos or at different performing arts schools.”

Both of the girls auditioned for the dance program in December 2018. As for the realm of cinema production, sophomore Nick Capezio described putting together a portfolio for his artistic application, as the university recommended students list all film projects they’ve done before.

“But I [also] added in songs I’ve worked on and writings I have done,” Capezio said. “Then they ask you what experience you’ve had, but if you don’t have any experiences that’s fine too. I also had to write an essay on why I should be considered for the cinema program.”

Likewise, the theater majors also go through a strict auditioning held twice a year that usually requires three prepared monologues, according to senior acting major, Naomi Allen.

As many of you know, this year PPU decided to try something new for freshman orientation. During the Pioneer experience, freshmen in COPA majors dipped out for something a little more important than introductions and icebreakers. They had to audition for class placement.

“They accepted 100 or so freshman for dance, so obviously 100 people can’t fit in the same class at the same time,” Nasche explains. “They basically have auditions to figure out where you best fit in with your peers, in what class and with what teachers.”

Meanwhile, freshmen Zoe Gonzalez and her fellow musical theater majors had vocal placement audition that “was just to place us with a voice teacher for private voice lessons.”

Once placed into their specific classes, COPA students started classes just like the rest of the PPUstudents. Obviously they have many major-related classes, but they also are required to take academic core classes like any other student. In addition, each of the COPA majors are given the opportunity to display their work in a showcase type of setting.

Allen explains that acting majors don’t always share their work, “but if the professors want to showcase work then they inform the head of the department to put a showcase together. [Usually,] three classes at most share their work.”

Likewise, the cinema production crew holds a showcase at the end of the semester. According to Capezio, professors pick a film to showcase and then the students vote on two more and show them in the Student Center auditorium.”

Dance majors have many more options to show off their talents. They have five to six productions a year, which includes a fall show, a student choreography show, a winter show, a guest show and a few others. According to Marcin, it is normal for everyone to audition.

“If you are a student with a scholarship, you have to audition,” Marcin said.

There is no guarantee everyone will be in the show, but those not picked will have an opportunity to work as a crew member. Showing off their skills and talents is an enriching, beneficial part of the education.

Between their artistic classes and academic workload, there is no doubt COPA students are always busy. So next time you see them running across Boulevard of the Allies, desperately trying to get to their next class, you’ll have a deeper understanding of what it actually means to be in COPA.

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