The circus comes to town

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circus
SJSU dancers train to become ‘triple threats’
text: Laura Nguyen / image: Carolyn Seng

companyone

The Company One musical theater production group is back again this fall with a peek into the lives of circus folk suspected for murder and a new take on crime scene investigation through singing and juggling.

Crime Scene Investigation: Circus Victims Unit, also known as CSI: CVU, is written and directed by Janie Scott, the artistic director of Company One, a performing ensemble in the dance program at SJSU. CSI: CVU is a parody of crime scene shows on TV, Scott said.

The show is full of humor, drama and satire, Scott said. The cast is divided into two roles: CSI unit and circus troupe. Investigators swoop in to solve a mystery while judging the seemingly odd and shifty circus folk.

Company One is the only one of its kind that can offer students the rare performing experience, Scott said. Students in the company are in the training ground to become triple threats.

“Your goal is to be proficient in all three areas as humanly possible,” Scott said.

Triple threats are constantly striving to be on the edge and commit to excel in singing, dancing and acting, said Jomar Martinez, a special major senior in the dance department who has acted in Company One for four years.

Since the first day of instruction this semester, Scott’s class has been doing more than just acting. The production group, which currently consists of 14 students, works together to sing, dance, act and even juggle.

“It’s an ongoing company that you will not see anywhere else,” Scott said, who focuses on treating the production like a real company rather than a class.

“Janie provides such an encouraging and safe educational space to experiment with music that if someone falls or a voice cracks, we don’t laugh,” Martinez said. “We’re here to help.”

When Company One has a rehearsal, Martinez said he leaves everything at the door.

“It’s hard because you’re touching these people, singing with them, dancing with them,” he said, “but you’re putting on a show.”

Sandy Huynh, a senior illustration major who has attended a Company One show in the past for class credit, said the production, “shows us something beyond the dance culture.”

“To put up a production takes a semester,” Scott said. “We’re working with challenging dance and music.

Scott said she aims to help 14 members reach the triple threat level by opening day on Nov. 14.

Jen Wong, a senior recreational therapy major, has attended three shows from Fall 2010 to Spring 2012 to support her friends.

“It’s really cool to see people of so many different majors and backgrounds come together to produce something they’re passionate about,” Wong said.

From Monday through Thursday, the group practices for a total of 10 hours. Scott said the harmonies in the production are difficult to hear and are given to some actors who don’t possess strong vocal abilities and to some who are more experienced.

“I brought them in because I saw potential, a willingness to take risks as a performer,” Scott said.

Show dates run from from Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 at 7 p.m., including a showing on Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. and Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Spartan Complex dance theater, room 219. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $15 for general audience. Tickets are only sold at the door.

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