It’s only my first week at the ADA and yet somehow I feel that I have already started achieving many of my goals. My first goal coming into the program was to try everything. There have been times in my life where I have been apprehensive or scared to do things because I thought I couldn’t. In the past week, I have gone into every class with an open mind. I feel this has a lot to do with the environment of the ADA. The teachers and students are so supportive and everyone is willing to help when necessary. It creates a judgement free zone where failure feels impossible. Another goal of mine was to learn a new skill. A week ago I knew nothing about juggling and yesterday I finally was able to get through a juggling cycle thanks to one of the MFA students, Sam. I hope to continue to work on this skill because it increases aim, balance, concentration, and coordination. A third goal of mine is to learn healthy habits dealing with my body and voice. I want to learn how to support my spine so that previous injuries will not continue to come back. I also want to learn how to expand my vocal range in a healthy way by strengthening my support systems and spaces of resonance. The ADA has already started to help me with these physical goals because Kevin and Stella concentrate a lot on awareness. With this new found awareness of my voice and body I think that I will be able to achieve my goals. I am very excited to see my progress at the end of the semester!
I feel like I’ve come into this semester with too many goals to count, but, if I were to attempt to sum them up, I would say that they center primarily upon my hope to become more comfortable in my own body onstage. I feel that, when I am acting, I often disregard the physical life of my character, and focus upon the more intellectual side of their psyche. I know, of course, that I should be able to allow my physical and intellectual choices to inform one another, but, instead, I often find myself separating the two. When I chose to apply to the Accademia, I knew that I was applying for more than a few months in Italy. I was applying for an environment in which I would be encouraged to push myself outside of my comfort zone, an ensemble that would support me in my efforts, and a community in which I could grow both personally and artistically (actually, I would argue that to personal and artistic growth are one and the same, but I digress). Though I’ve only been here just over a week, I can confidently say that, in coming to the Accademia, I have found the environment that I had so eagerly hoped for as I nervously filled out my application. I trust that, in this caring, supportive, and open community, I will be able to go above and beyond my initial goals. I feel that we’ve only just begun, and I cannot wait to see where this program takes us.
My goals for this semester are kind of general but I want to keep it that way as to not over-think things. Perhaps one of the biggest goals I had in mind for this semester, not only in terms of my academics but as a person, is to not miss the moment, plain and simple. It sounds ridiculous and cliché, but I highly doubt I’ll ever get another opportunity like this ever again. So, I’d rather jump right in on what’s given to me rather than half-ass what I can. Also, realizing what I need to not “fix” per se, but work on as a person because how well you work with others matters just as much as your talent if not more. At the end of the semester, I at least hope to see someone who is a lot more comfortable with himself and has succeeded in getting past certain insecurities on and off stage. One of the things that will help is obviously getting out of my comfort zone and even if I feel embarrassed or ashamed of something, it doesn’t matter. I know that other people feel exactly the same way. Plus enjoying the time with that community will make it a much better experience compared to looking at it as a group of artists who are trying to top each other constantly. Appreciating the former will help us all out in one way or another.
This semester I hope to build an awareness of my body, and through this ultimately gain a range of motion that is exciting and safe for use in character development. Character development is definitely something that I would like to be more adventurous in, so finding ways to physicalize a character will be fun to play with. I want to just jump in and play,and in turn learn from it without fear of failure. The element of group movement and ensemble building is also very important to me, as none of us operate within a vacuum as theatre makers. At the end of this semester, I know that I will be able to look around and see a supportive theatre family that encourages one another to be better, and to create without doubt. Things are already beginning to feel like home.
– Asia Howard