I have full heartedly fallen in love with Europe but specifically the magical haven on top of this Tuscan mountain. The beautiful thing about this school is that not only is it in a central, charming location that gifts its students with an inspirational cultural experience but the actual school itself encourages and houses a safe and open community of passionate artists, which stems first and foremost from our many faculty members. The faculty cares about each and every student’s success at becoming an articulate, focused and community driven actor or dancer. The community will definitely be what I miss the most about the Accademia but I can’t deny that the food and weekend travel experiences aren’t far behind it. Academically speaking, the faculty has taught me some of the most valuable lessons about theatre and acting but mostly about living as a whole human being, which is completely priceless. The faculty sets an example outside and inside class about what it is to own who you are and therefore own your art form. We’re encouraged but not pushed to bring our full selves, whatever that may be, to whatever we do here. It doesn’t matter what sort of art you want to create, just as long as you are giving your full, authentic self.
Now that I’m nearing the end of the program, I can definitely say that I am a different person walking away. I’ve never been so in touch with my fleshy and vulnerable self before and I know that the time spent getting to know myself was something that I absolutely needed and anyone who attends the ADA will be privileged to experience. I have a whole community of artists and friends that I have made at the ADA and that will be something that lasts longer than the actual three months spent here. The experience here has strengthened me as a whole and has given me the self-confidence to be who I really am. My heart will always belong to this side of the world and I will miss it until I return.
-Shaleigh Phillips, Physical Theatre
What will I miss most?
The food, the incredible food Appertivo (almost free food); Italian PDA; getting called bella/o being the “token American” by all of my Italian friends; my Italian friends; the Italians that aren’t my friends; being away from the city; Tuscan sunsets; the yellow Villa and the green olive trees; being surrounded by music; singing and dancing all of the time; sharing meals with my friends; feeling supported in every class by my ensemble; fearlessness in trying new things; fearlessness in making friends while traveling; letting kindness and friendship transcend every language barrier; trusting myself; loving myself; being confident in my intelligence and creativity…
Thank God I don’t think I’ll have to miss the last ones, I’m bringing them with me. I’ve changed in a good way. It was such a short time but so important. I’ve never been this happy. Now that I know what kind of person I can be, I’m returning back home but I refuse to let myself turn back into that person who was scared. I’m not just an actor. Thanks to ADA, I’m an artist.
-Danni Krehbiel, Physical Theatre
This place and these people together have created three months filled with learning, sharing, growing, and discovering every single day through a journey that I think has truly transformed all of us. There have been so many beautiful moments that if it weren’t for my journaling I wouldn’t have been able to keep track of anymore because at the end of each day I felt like I was not the same “me” that I was when I woke up that morning; something new had been learned… I had been moved in some way… something inside of me shifted. My entire way of thinking and perceiving the world that I live in, the people who surround me, and who I am within this world as an individual and an artist have been reshapened. A spark has been ignitied within me to move forth in my journey of life with this newfound perception and sense of self, striving every day to expose others to what I have been blessed to experience here and to use the knowledge I now have to leave positive footprints everywhere I go.
I am going to miss everything about the Accademia dell’Arte nestled on a Tuscan hilltop overlooking the quaint, and lovely town of Arezzo. The faculty here have fostered an environment in which we are challenged, supported, inspired, and encouraged always. Our teachers give so much of themselves to us to help us develop our techniques as artists but also our philosophies and characters in order to maximize our contributions to the world and realize the important role we each have in doing so. They are sincerely special, one-of-a-kind individuals, and the same is true in regards to all of the students here. I honestly cannot put into words how honored I am to have been able to spend the past three months collaborating with and learning from some of the most talented people I have ever met. I have been surrounded by incredibly passionate artists who are so willing to share their art with others and support all of the art that is being produced around them. This semester I have felt increasingly comfortable with who I am as an artist and have really begun to believe in myself and my potential as a result of the amount of faith that my fellow peers have given to me. I am used to doubting my abilities and second-guessing myself more often than not, but here I have realized that I have something valuable to contribute after all and I am no longer so afraid to share it. The community that has existed at ADA this semester is one in which I have become the happiest version of myself. I feel free here to be me without ever having to justify it or think twice about whether or not it is correct or acceptable. At ADA, “you” are all that is wanted; nothing more and nothing less because that is the most fantastic thing you could ever be. That is what I am going to miss most about the Accademia dell’Arte, but I am going to try every day to hold onto what this experience has given me, share it with the world around me, and live the rest of my life being the person I have felt so happy and free to be, here.
– Kylie Sickler, Dance