• Art, Culture and Contrast: Current theatre students discuss how their fall break travels have affected their art and perception

    by  • October 28, 2014 • Student Life, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Physical Theatre • 0 Comments


    I had the absurd opportunity to go to France this fall break. FRANCE France. Like, Paris, France, but I’m not going to talk about all the nice tourist sites I went to see or the fancy wine, I’m going to talk about how I got to do my favorite movement exercise in the Louvre. This little article is also known as “how a couple hundred tourists now think Rosemary is strange and possibly dangerous”, written by Rosemary.

    The Louvre is known by some as ‘that art museum with the glass temples and the Mona Lisa’, but will forever be known in my heart as “the museum full of amazing statues”. Yes, I am aware that somewhere in the Louvre there are famous paintings, and a fairly large collection of them too, but in my six hours (yes, six hours) walking through the Louvre on two separate days, I was pretty much just hanging out with statues.

    So I started doing a movement study. I walked around, separated from my travel buddies, listened to my music and would wander until I found a statue that was particularly striking. From there, I walked all the way around it, twice, far and near so I got the full effect and all the little details, and then I started to confuse all of the other visitors.

    I plopped down my bag in front of the statue in question and began to recreate the statue in my own body. Placement of fingers, levels of tension in the shoulders, the angle of the neck and the exact placement of the feet- this is my favorite thing to do. I chase the little details all around my body and when I feel I finally have the correct hunch in my shoulders I just… Stay. You freeze and try to be a living statue. I love it, personally, but a lot of people were not so into it. Then again, some were really entertained and enjoyed watching me work (such as the sketch artists who were appreciative of the whole situation).

    I highly recommend this exercise whenever you see a compelling statue. The reactions from the public are almost as much fun as the work itself, and apparently it doesn’t matter what country you’re in- people get really disturbed when you don’t act “correctly” in a designated space. It makes you unpredictable and thus dangerous.

    I highly suggest it. Both the Louvre and the exercise… and also confusing strangers in France.

    – Rosemary Speck


    When I began planning my fall break, I knew I wanted to travel to places that weren’t necessarily on the beaten path. I wanted to experience different countries and cities that weren’t over populated by tourists so I could immerse myself in each of their individual cultures.

    The first place I travelled to was Santorini, Greece, which was absolutely breathtaking. My travel buddies and I stayed in this gorgeous apartment overlooking the Aegean Sea that literally just took your breath away. We had the opportunity to watch the sun set over the water in Oià, go shopping in Fira, and even swim in the sea. Art was immersive in Santorini as well. There were so many hand painted pictures on scrap wood in these eclectic little shops in all of the small towns. The classic Greek music was heard everywhere and people were taking Greek dance classes on the roofs of houses as the sun set. It was a truly magical 2 days filled with mental snapshots that I will never forget.

    The second place I travelled to was Istanbul, Turkey. Talk about the complete opposite side of the spectrum. I went from blue waters and white stone houses to blue mosques and grand bazaars. Istanbul was a very unique place to travel to because it showed me how other people experience religion and life in other countries. Having grown up in a very small town where most people are of the christian faith, it was enlightening to hear the Islamic prayer broadcasted over the entire city every few hours. It changed my perception of how I thought the world worked. The world really isn’t just like the United States of America.

    The final place I travelled to was Prague, Czech Republic and Prague was very different from the other places I had visited because it has a northern european feel to its architecture, art, and culture. The architecture was pristine and painted in bright pastels with musicians playing traditional Czech folk music on the Charles Bridge every single time I walked by them. It seemed as though detail was a key factor in what Prague wanted to be known for and they truly accomplished this. I loved Prague because it was so different from the mediterranean style culture that I have been so used to seeing the past couple of weeks. Visiting this city gave me a new feeling of diversity in culture and art amongst European countries and cities that I really hadn’t thought about prior to traveling.

    My art has been significantly impacted by my travel over fall break. I wanted to experience 3 wonderful, yet very different, cultures and I did just that. Each culture left an imprint that will stick with me until I become too old to remember (which hopefully will never happen). Santorini showed me the beauty in the world and how it can be captured in the simplest of art. Istanbul taught me that the culture and art I grew up with isn’t present, but in fact completely different in other places. Prague taught me that Europe is diverse in its culture and that art is around every corner, you just need to look for it. Overall, I had an amazing time on my fall break and I am so unbelievably happy to have had the opportunity to learn the things I did whilst traveling.

    – Ryan Skerchak


    I went to three different places over my fall break. I traveled to Santorini, Greece; Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and Venice, Italy. These three locations were very different from one another, yet each was unique and beautiful in its own way. Greece felt very historic and quite colorful. There was art practically all over the town. Even the color schemes of the buildings felt like pieces of artwork. Venice felt similar to Santorini because of its historical past. Venice was filled with artwork, most noticeably the dozens of mask and Venetian glass stores. But even the gondolas felt like pieces of artwork with their ornate decorations and vibrant colors. While Santorini and Venice were beautiful, I think that my art and my views on life were most affected by my visit to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, the vibe is that almost anything goes. Between the Red Light District and the “coffeeshops” on every block, Amsterdam seems like a free city. I believe that taught me how art can be free to express anything it chooses whether it is something typically attractive or not. Overall, my fall break taught me a lot about myself, the challenges of traveling with others, as well as garnered a love of seeing new cities.

    – Emily Mebane


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