This semester, our undergraduate Physical Theatre and Dance students set an ADA record by collectively visiting 22 cities in 9 different countries: England, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria! We had students on the beach in the Cinque Terre, Catania, and Majorca, students exploring the urban art scene in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Bruges, and everything in between. Now that our world travelers have returned to the villa, we asked Christa, Heidee, Alicia, and Jack to report back on their adventures!
Christa Maxwell: Physical Theatre (Muhlenberg College, PA)
I spent spring break in Prague and Vienna with my roommate Annie! It was quite the adventure, and here are some things I learned along the way:
- Chimney cake is a Czech pastry baked in a spiral shape and then filled with chocolate or berries or whatever else you can think of and ansjdkf;oigr..… just eat it.
- 40 euros equals about 1000 Czech Korun- it’s really fun to pretend to be rich!
Czech people speak softly- you can spot the Americans and Italians just by the volume of their voice, it’s a pretty fun game!
- It’s always worth the hike up to high ground for a beautiful view above the city.
- Go to all the Palaces! Pretend to be a Princess! Have no shame!
- People are so friendly! Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation, you’ll meet some really interesting people:)
- FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THE WORLD, EAT THE APPLE STRUDEL IN VIENNA
- Sometimes I get too caught up in wanting to not be a typical tourist, but the reality is that I am indeed a tourist, and that’s ok. It’s ok to eat pizza in Vienna or a bagel in Prague even through it’s not culturally relevant, but that’s just what you are in the mood for. And it’s ok to ask for directions, and take lots of pictures. Just be who and what you are, and let it be.
- Likewise, try to soak up the culture as much as you can! Especially the food, and especially the art- every place has a unique and interesting history to their art and culture.
- For example, black light theatre is a big thing in Prague (the stage is lit by black light, creating special effects) It’s definitely worth seeing one of these shows- whether it’s one of the more expensive higher-quality ones, or a cheaper ticket price that a guy in a full cape sells to you (we went with the latter option), I promise you won’t regret it…:p
- Vienna has an incredible history of music- everywhere you go, you’ll see homage to Mozart. The State Opera House of Vienna has standing room only tickets for 4 euro! You just have to get there early to reserve your spot- we saw Aida and it was incredible!
…If there is any one point to sum up this trip for me, it’s that the world is a huge place, and I’ve seen very little of it. This semester at ADA is my first time leaving the east coast of the states, and this break was my first time leaving Italy. And with every new experience, be it a talk on the housing crisis in Venice, a ballet in Rome, a 5-person cast black-light theatre show in a tiny attic-esque theatre, or a huge-scale Opera production, I’m constantly gaining new insight on the place that art holds in the world, and what kind of art I can make. Hopefully this exploration has only just begun.
Heidee Alsdorf: Dance (University of Arkansas at Little Rock, AR)
Advice for Spring Break Travelers
Every where you go is new.
Always choose the wilder thing.
Listen to your body here and now.
I’ve never been one to enjoy traveling. I hate the very idea of planes. They make me incredibly anxious. I tense up the minute I think about running to catch trains or missing a flight or not finding my hostel. But every travel experience I’ve had these past few months has left me with something that is more than just the stress of constant motion.
This past week, on our much-needed spring break, I was lucky enough to go to Sicily. And while the trip, for me, was certainly stressful at times, my final day on the island gave me a gift I will never forget. My companions and I made a too-quick stop to the city of Taormina, a place I had never heard of until I was on the bus headed that way. I knew nothing of the city, hadn’t even looked up things to do, and really only had my eyes set on lunch (it was that time of the day, if you feel me). But luckily, one of my travel companions knew exactly what had to be done and I was content to follow his lead. So, after a delicious pizza and a glass of fresh orange juice (yes, please!), I followed my friend to the Ancient Greek Amphitheatre – Il Teatro Greco. It was 10 euro for admission, but I didn’t care (which is very unusual for me). We hiked up some intensely steep rock steps, and just as I was about to complain about the trek, I looked at the amphitheatre and the view behind it. And in that moment all complaints drained completely from my consciousness.
I like to think that I’ve seen a lot of beautiful things in my life already. I grew up in California where we have state parks galore that will blow your mind with every visit, and coastal towns that you will fall head-over-heels in love with the minute you set your eyes on them. But never, never in my life have I beheld something as beautiful as Taormina’s Greek Amphitheatre. I’m pretty sure my heart skipped a beat, leaped out of my chest, and jumped straight into my eyes the moment I looked at the ruins of the stage and beyond. Standing at the top of the seating area I could see the entirety of the stage and behind it, the coast of Sicily filtered with sunlight. And when I turned around, the other coast with water as blue as one could possibly imagine. I fell in love. I never wanted to leave. I couldn’t soak it all in fast enough. I couldn’t look at every minute detail of it all at once the way I wanted to, but that was okay. I could have stayed there for hours and continued to marvel at its beauty.
I had a moment while gazing at this momentous piece of history in which I remembered everything I had been taught about Greek theatre in my first two years of college. It hit me that I was standing in what I had previously only ever seen sketches of. I was standing on the history that had been passed down from theatre professional to theatre student for years. Everything my dramatic literature teacher ever taught me about Greek theatre was right before my eyes. And yet, all the theatre really is is a collection of ruins; rocks that have fallen to the hands of time and don’t stand as tall as they once did. But they’re also so much more than that. They’re a monument to my history as a growing theatre artist. A monument that I never, ever wanted to be parted from.
My words for my experience aren’t as clear as I would like, but a favorite quote of mine seems to do this trick. Ironically enough, it’s a quote from one of the Greek works Iphigenia and Other Daughters. So I leave it for you. Maybe it can convey to you just how incredibly full my heart was in this moment. Maybe.
“I am the statue you have come to find
Take me to the city
To the center of the city
Build noise and life around me
I will be silent and tall
I will remind them
I will seem to see everything
I will be female and slightly terrifying
I will be what I have always been
Visible and mute
You will place me at the center of something
And you will lay your tortured head on my cold feet
And you will finally sleep.”
Jack Russell: Dance (Cornish College, WA)
8 days of Spring
1) Fly to Barcelona and explore the Beaches
2) Head to the Sagrada Familia and explore the Gothic Quarter
3) Fly to Sevilla and plan your wedding
4) Meet up with your cousin and explore Dorn
5) Fly back to Barcelona and eat Buffet
6) Go the Arc de Triomf and the Zoo
7) Take a cooking class in the Market
8) Come home four hours late