• July 2015 Newsletter: Summer Arts Program and Farewell Geneviève

    by  • July 20, 2015 • Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Student Life, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments


    Photo by Lexi Adams

     In this edition of the ADA Newsletter we say farewell to Geneviève Durst, Student Life Coordinator, and feature our Summer Arts program, which began July 5 and runs through August 1.


    The Early Bird Discount for Spring 2016 Dance and Physical Theatre programs expires July 31. Apply now before it’s too late!

    Geneviève Durst

    Saying goodbye to our Student Life Coordinator and ADA Guardian

    Every two years the Accademia opens two coordinator positions as an opportunity for recently graduated alumni to take a leadership role in arts administration, marketing and technical coordination. This August the ADA will say farewell to one of its most dedicated ADA Alumni, Geneviève Durst, Spring 2012 Alumna, former ADA Summer Intern and current Student Life Coordinator (SLC) and Guardian.

    A native of California’s San Francisco Bay Area, Geneviève was born a performer. She trained as a classical musician until she was seventeen years old (her primary instrument is the viola). She then turned her focus to theatre arts, training at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts in performance, playwriting, directing and education. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University. In the spring of 2012, Geneviève had the opportunity to complete the Physical Theatre program at the Accademia and stayed through the summer as an intern. This led to her position as SLC.

    During her time at the ADA, Geneviève fostered consistent growth in the position of SLC. She seamlessly balanced  the student experience and administrative projects. She has taken on new projects in Marketing and Undergraduate  Academics as well as executing existing tasks under the mentorship of Monica, Director of Student Services.

    Geneviève led a playwriting workshop during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters. In Arezzo, she served as the  Programming Coordinator for the CrisisART Festival in 2014 and directed and performed in the devised work  “C’era Una Volta…” for the Notte Rosa in partnership with the ADA, Circolo Aurora and the Comune d’Arezzo. In May, she performed her original music in the Qualcuno Piace In Breve festival. Listen to Geneviève’s music now on Sound Cloud!

    Geneviève took time to give us highlights of her experience and tell us what she looks forward to next:

    One thing I will really miss is the week we go to town with Monica to do the Permessi di Soggiorno (permits of stay) with the students… Just kidding!!!
    I will miss Monica, obviously. She is the Brain to my Pinky and I will probably never have a better boss.

    In the wintertime, the sun sets very early in Tuscany. By 4:30 p.m. we have lost most of the sunlight, and classes often go until 6:00 or even 7:00. This coincides with the most difficult part of the semester for the students, so I started a tradition called Christmas Office to make things a bit cozier for them after a rough day. (It now occurs to me that I should have called it Festive Non-Denomenational Holiday Office… but then again, when in Rome.) I would light a holiday-scented candle, shift the lighting to create ambience, and put on some holiday music. I even found out that my favorite internet cat, Lil Bub, has a yule log video, so I would put that on in the background and listen to her weird snuffly breathing alongside the music as I waited to see if anyone needed a hug after class. Student life is a multi-dimensional sensory experience and we take it very seriously.

     In the Fall of 2014 I took Stella Medvedeva’s movement class with the theatre students. (I also took Feldenkrais with the music students – shoutout!) Her class had a very deep impact on me, as it was Stella and Sabine Fichter who truly introduced me to Laban Movement Analysis. Our assignment for our final project was to examine an event in history, fictional or factual. My group tackled the influence of Gutenberg’s printing press and drew parallels to current issues like net neutrality and freedom of information – all in neutral mask. It was a very weird little piece, but the journey to find clarity in storytelling with only the body as our instrument was very satisfying.

    Tramontos have always been a highlight of the semester for me. Tramonto, which means sunset, is an event that takes place at the beginning, middle and end of the semester and is organized by yours truly. Tramontos seek to bridge the gap between academic and student life and provide the students with a framework for how their experience is landing at critical moments of the semester. In the final Tramonto, I ask the students to share one thing they found or learned at ADA that they will take back home with them: lighthearted or sincere, whatever feels authentic. Their responses to that question have been some of the most moving testimonies I’ve heard in my life, and to think that I have been a small part of making that experience possible humbles me.

    I will be moving to Chicago in September, which is something of a leap of faith. I have aspirations in the long term that include pursuing an advanced degree in psychology and a certification as a Laban Movement Analyst, but how life may guide me toward that path has yet to unfold. For the near future, I’m excited to explore entering the music scene in Chicago. I am a singer-songwriter and have shared some of my original music with students for the first time over the past two years. Continuing to express that part of my artistic voice will always have its roots here at the ADA. 

    It has been said that parting is such sweet sorrow, and this resonates for me, but the people I’ve met here are my family, these experiences are imprinted on my heart, and I know this is “a presto” instead of “addio”.


    Summer Arts 2015

    Photo by Lexi Adams

    On July 5th, the Accademia welcomed this year’s Summer Arts students to Villa Godiola. The weather has been less than forgiving so far with the heat climbing continuously towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit)… but that hasn’t stopped the students from exploring Arezzo.One of the defining characteristics of this program is the opportunity to interface with totally different fields of study while finding a common vocabulary in the arts. There is a lot of variety in this group of twenty-four. While some of our students are majoring in a field similar to their course selection in the SAP, other students are studying mathematics and nursing.We encourage our students to embrace being outside of their comfort zones in this program and we asked them to reflect on what has surprised them so far about their time in Italy. Here’s an excerpt of what they had to say in our first Sizzling Summer Spotlight:


    Yi Chen (from the University of Rochester; Italian, Film):
    I studied in Arezzo for three months with my home university last year, but now I can explore so much more, geographically and culturally, maybe because of the change in season. It is amazing to find so many new things because Arezzo is a rather small place. And the food is even more delicious than the last time I was here.


    Katie Markey (from the University of the Arts; Commedia, Mask Making):
    I was surprised how easy it was for me to adjust to life in Italy. The culture is completely different and I expected it to be quite the culture shock, but really, people are people no matter where you go. It is more fascinating than it is scary.


    Reyna (from California State University East Bay; Mask Making, Art History):
    I had always known that Tuscany would be beautiful but I am constantly shocked to see just how beautiful it is here… Simply put, Arezzo is stunning. Another happy surprise is how marvelously everyone here gets along. We all became fast friends and it is great to see how everyone looks out for one another.
    To keep up with the current news at the ADA including weekly posts from current students, make sure to visit our ADALife BlogFacebook Page, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. You can also catch a sneak peak of students in and out of class on our YouTube channel.


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