University of Minnesota Duluth Professors Workshop with Dance, Theater, and Musical Theater Students
September 20, 2023
On Tuesday, September 19th, Perpich students in Dance, Theater, and Musical Theater welcomed Lauren Roth and Matthew Wagner to their arts classrooms. Both Roth and Wagner are assistant professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Wagner is also a 1999 Perpich Arts High School graduate and was the Alumni Speaker at the 2023 Dedication Ceremony the previous day.
Matthew led a fun, fast paced, challenging dance workshop with Dance and Musical Theater students. Later, Matthew worked with the Dance students separately, challenging them to faster, more stylized movement. The dancers were exhilarated as they finished class with a series of reflective questions. Lauren’s work with the Theater and Musical Theater students was focused on monologue preparation and how to connect with the monologue through Sanford Meisner exercises.
“Working with the Perpich students renewed my confidence in the quality of dance education at The Arts High School,” said Wagner. “The dancers at Perpich have qualities you don’t see in every student. Technical precision, movement driven by spirit, open-mindedness to new forms, and the ability to speak eloquently about the personal experience of dance is what makes a Perpich student stand out. These are not cookie-cutter dancers, these are young artists in the making.”
“It was a delight to have the opportunity to work with some of the students in the theater program at Perpich,” said Roth. “Their creativity and willingness to play were in no short supply. It’s always an inspiration to share space with artists who are generous with their creative gifts, and I appreciate their collaboration and enthusiasm! I look forward to seeing the ways in which these students will share their art within their communities, and I hope to be able to work with them further.”
Lauren Roth is a teaching artist and accent coach based in Duluth. She is an Assistant Professor of Voice & Speech at the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she teaches, coaches, and directs within the BA and BFA Theatre programs. As a faculty director at UMD, Lauren is a 2023 recipient of a Kennedy Center Distinguished Directing Award for her work on Stupid F##king Bird. Select accent coaching credits include Once On This Island and Waitress (Broadway National Tours); Nothing Gold Can Stay (A.R.T./New York Theatres); A Knock on the Roof (National Palestinian Theatre); and Once and Ragtime (Duluth Playhouse). She holds a teacher certification through Knight-Thompson Speechwork, an MFA in Acting Pedagogy from California State University, Long Beach, and a BFA in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Matthew Wagner is an Assistant Professor of Dance & Musical Theatre at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a class of 1999 Perpich graduate. He spent the bulk of his performance career in NYC where he worked with numerous dance and theatre companies. He has performed in productions of Crazy For You, George M!, Cats, Evita, Pippin, with tap and clown company Parallel Exit, and on the Broadway national tour of 42nd Street. Matthew has trained with master teachers Roxane Butterfly, Dexter Jones, Sean Curran, Randy Skinner, and worked with world renowned site-specific choreographer, Stephan Koplowitz. Matthew received his BFA in Dance from Stephens College studying Modern, Ballet, Irish Step, Flamenco, Bharatanatyam, Tap, and other world forms. He has taught for several schools on the East Coast such as Dance New Amsterdam, the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, and the Westchester Ballet Center. Most recently, Matthew completed his MFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee before accepting a Tenure-Track position at UMD. He is grateful to Mary Harding and the Perpich faculty and staff for preparing him for a professional career in the arts.