Feb 28

Jean Rosenthal

This week, I looked into how lighting design is applied to dance shows. I read a couple of articles about this topic.

In one from the Guardian, I read about how light does more than just make the dancers visible, it is actually part of the show. The lights are like the choreography, they evolve and change during the process. In the end they help tell the story, and they compliment the dancers. Two lighting designers mentioned are Lucy Carter and Wayne McGregor. The article discusses how they work to create the lights. Carter uses computers to help her design the lights, while McGregor still uses paper. Each of them have their own way to work, but both create amazing lighting designs.

In an article from the New York Times, it takes about the how lights are seen by the audience. People expect certain things to happen when the lights. Lights used to be basic, but have adapted to become a big part of the show. They have amplify the choreography. Lighting designers are shifting from what is traditionally used to new techniques.

The main focus of this blog post is on Jean Rosenthal. She was born in 1908 and attended college at the Yale University School of Drama where she studied lighting. She was called the “Mother of dance lighting techniques” because she is the first person to take lighting design and make it a formal position. She also has been called one of the most influential American lighting designers in the 20th century and I agree. Before her, directors or choreographers were in charge of light, but she changed that. She worked on many dance shows and some musicals, including Cabaret, Fiddler on the Rood, and West Side Story. She worked with Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre Project,Tyrone Guthrie Theater, the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut and many other impressive groups. Not only did she make lighting design a position, she really changed the way it was used. She used it to enhance performances. She used the color, form, and movement of light to aide what is happening on the stage. One of the main techniques she came up with was the elimination of shadows on the stage. She uses a lot of upstage lighting and diagonal lighting to accomplish this, and before she did this it was unheard of to use such lighting. Now it is a very common thing to do in performances. She believed that good lighting should go unnoticed by people, but she wanted people to be impressed by the atmosphere. It meant the use of lights was not specifically noticeable, but it was valuable. She preferred dance shows because they gave her more freedom and allowed for more creativity than musicals. She used dramatic side light to help really show the dancers. Many of the techniques she used were unheard of at that time, but are now very common ways to light shows. She was a very impressive women, who had a huge impact on lighting design.


The articles I read were






Jean Rosenthal




And I watched



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