A week ago, our undergraduate Physical Theatre and Dance students, along with our year-long Physical Theatre students, took Venice by storm! We asked them to take a few moments to reflect on this experience, and tell us how it may have influenced their personal and artistic lives. Annie, Maddie, Gabriel, and Lexi have plenty to say about the floating city–read on to hear more!
Annie Corrao: Dance (Muhlenberg College, PA)
Venice…I guess this was the trip/place that helped me discover how to really “let happen” (wise words of Giorgio Rossi). “Let happen” to me means just what it says: let go and see what happens, don’t try to control what happens. Giorgio said this phrase in the context of a dance class, but I think it applies to life really well too. 😛 I think the first day (in Venice) I was so concerned with doing and seeing the sights that I missed opportunities, which led to general disappointment or frustration. I didn’t intend for this to happen, life just got in the way (the food was too expensive, I had to walk a lot, I kept getting lost, I just wanted to sit down, etc.) Despite being a generally positive individual, I let hanger (hunger mixed with anger, also known as hangry), frustration, and overall bad mood from being sick dictate what I did and how I felt. SO my first day was not bad by any stretch of the imagination (come on…I was in VENICE!); however, the next two days got much better. I ended up stumbling past this beautiful park with my roommate and we ended up going back to explore after we grabbed lunch. We took a bunch of videos and just “let happen.” It was relaxing and I also felt like I had found a real piece of the city, which is not easy in a place like Venice. I had no idea that the park had even existed before stumbling on it (due to bad planning/research on my part). The experience just reminded me that the best kinds of experiences happen when you let them. Trespass in front of a building named ‘Russia’ in Venice…get lost on your way to the Accademia…grab ice cream first…always grab ice cream first….buy the HUGE bottle of Bellini and drink it by the water with your friends…“let happen.”
Maddie Sosnowski: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)
3 days in Venice:
V- vibrant colors and buildings all around! Nothing is ever plain. Every turn is a new glimpse at what seems like an artwork. Unavoidable happiness!
E- everything has a strangely storybook feel to it, as though there is a kind of magical potential around every corner. This is surely partially the tourist in me speaking, but I think the complex web of corridors and canals lends to a sense of discovery that never quite fades.
N- never feed the birds really just means take your picture with them fast and run away before they get crazy.
I- interesting people watching can happen almost anywhere. From confused tourists, to busy body tour guides, to savvy salesmen, and kind local families, there is always something happening and something to see from the edge of a piazza or the steps of a church.
C- cappuccinos will cost you €3 if you aren’t careful. But if you put in the time to explore and wander past the limits of the tourist hub you can discover the hidden €1.50 gems (usually accompanied by kind smiles and patience with your fledgling language skills).
E- engaging with your inner child might get you some knocks on wood or disdainful looks from a few locals, but it is worth the temporary embarrassment to let yourself fully feel as excited, in awe, and even as confused as you truly do. Drink in this place! Let it lead you and astound you. Let it mess with your head (and if you are fortunate- let it mess with your wallet for a day or two).
Gabriel Stephens: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)
My dearest darling Venice,
I’m sorry, but I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sure you’ve heard that countless times, but I promise it’s the truth. When I first decided to leave you, I thought it was simply out of jealousy for your countless other admirers. You treated me like a king, but you were using lines you used on all your lovers. However, as I write this farewell, I realize I am leaving you because I am wholely inadequate for your depth, your wonder, your grace – and utterly unworthy of your love.
When we first met, you seemed to me a beautiful – yet fatal – attraction. Like Circe with Odysseus, I saw you draw men in with your charm, your culture, your ravishing and glittering allure. Yet I believed your beauty to be skin deep, your purpose only extending to drawing in admirers, never keeping them for long. You, the ultimate beauty, the ultimate tourist trap. As our relationship progressed, I thought I was above all those you seduced before. I know her tricks, I told myself. A summer fling, that’s all. This can never be anything serious. I played by your rules – indulged in your expensive lifestyle, explored your treasures and secrets explored by so many before me. I acted the part of the fool in love fabulously, but I did so with a knowing wink, a tongue in cheek outlook that excused my “lowering” myself to court you. You were never meant to be anything substantial. Then why did you sweep me off my feet with all the force of a raging fire? How did I underestimate you so wholely?
What I came to discover was that your secrets were not physical, your worth not surface level. You revealed something to me I know your countless previous lovers never got to see. When we attended a lecture with an one of the founders of Sale Docks, a company of Venetian artists devoted to fusing the arts and social justice, I was stunned and invigorated by the raw honesty you showed me. When I thought your whole existence was a facade, you held a mirror up to my ignorance while exposing your true self. Later that night we went to an anti-facist artist’s bar, and listened to a punk metal girl band rip our eardrums to shreds before dancing the night away in a whirlwind of fierce, vibrant, and very real Venetian culture. We were the only Americans in the room and it was fantastic. How could I not fall for you then? Later, as we snuck onto a dock, still reeling from the ecstatic energy we had absorbed earlier, and sat staring out over the moonlit lagoon, how could I not fall for this elusive and passionate truth you had revealed to me? In that moment, you made me feel very special, and with that came overwhelming fear.
I am afraid that if I spend a single moment longer with you that I will fall deeply and irrevocably in love with you.
I am simply not cool enough for you. Sure, I try achelingly hard to be cool, with my extensive record collection, my devil-may-care bicycle courier attitude, and my abhorance of all things digital, but this is a persona, a forced exterior used to garner attention and respect. Your coolness is effortless, it is one and the same with your very being. Venice, your brightness shames me as daylight doth a lamp. Saying good bye to you is the hardest thing I have ever done, but my mediocre love cannot be allowed to hold your brilliance back. I wish you the best, my gorgeous, crumbling darling.
Lexi Solazzo: Dance (Goucher College, MD)
Once upon a time…
A girl by the name of Princess Lexi embarked on her very first voyage to the magical land of Venice. Over the past month or so, princess Lexi had become quite the traveler. Almost every weekend she found herself in a new part of Italy tending to her “royal duties” which consisted of; her daily royal meals of gelato and pizza, site seeing and planning for future castle construction, and of course, shopping to keep her royal closet up to date. This weekend, however, Princess Lexi’s voyage was unlike any before. Instead of Fiats, and mopeds, princesses rode in beautiful gondolas, and speedy water taxis. You see, unlike Princess Lexi’s palace that was tucked away in the hills of Arezzo, the palaces in Venice were completely surrounded by water. If a princess wanted to go anywhere she would have to sail along the turquoise and green waters of the Venetian canals to reach all of her destination. Seeing that princess Lexi was all about fitting in with the other princess’s she immediately hopped into a gondola with her other royal friends Maia, Carly, Sydney, and Julia. After their charming ride with an ever so handsome gondolier they then made a quick stop in St. Mark’s square. While in the square the princesses elegantly strolled around the corridors of St. Mark’s Basilica for a few hours attempting to figure out how they could get that many mosaics into their own castles. After walking around for quite some time the princesses grew very hungry so they stopped at Happy Pizza where they purchased a few personal pizzas to munch on in the beautiful sunlit in square. As the day then progressed the princesses visited the ever so famous Aqua Alta book store, a few gelaterias, and a beautiful restaurant right on the water were they were served the most divine seafood by a lovely waiter.
The next day the princesses were feeling a bit worn so they decided to plan a much lighter day. Once again they began with a few cappuccinos in the sunlight followed by a stroll over to the Galleria dell’Accademia. After spending a few hours gazing at the incredible pieces of art. Later on, the princesses headed over to the Jewish Ghetto were they once again spent many hours simply basking in the sunlight on the side on the canal, gently dangling their tired legs above the aquamarine water. By this point there princesses were quite tired so they made their way back to the royal station making quick stops in all the little stores along the way. Once they reached the station they were greeted by the lovely Queen Monica and Queen Sabine and they all made their way onto the train. As the girls watched the mystical land grow father and father away they gently closed their eyes for a proper princess snooze. In a few hours the princesses would be back in their village of Arezzo where they all lived…
…happily ever after.