The notion of straining the entirety of my academic experience at the Accademia down to a mere blog post is not one that I’d care to entertain. Generalizing a curriculum to such an extent is an absolute disservice to this program, not to mention tremendously difficult, considering the breadth of material covered these past few months.
That said, one workshop experience stands out. In movement’s stead for a week’s time, we experienced the communal sharing of pain and sweat that was Ma-ai. Essentially a martial arts combination of spatial awareness, pelvic control, and Zumba, the class was a three hour exercise in pushing yourself into being a hyper-aware, grounded, sweat drenched, bruised warrior. To the melodies and rhythms of Finnish folk-metal, we would run full tilt across the floor of La Stalla, subsequently allowing ourselves to fall and adapt our bodies to the impact. Yes, I understand how ludicrous this may seem to a third party reader such as yourself, but it was *magical*. With the kind, dulcet tones of Franziska Dieterich’s enthusiasm pushing us ever forward, we allowed ourselves to throw caution to the wind as we would toss ourselves in the manner of clothes in a dryer. As we did barrel roll jumps within inches of one another. As we, as our class put it, no bones’d and ate shit on a daily basis.
I left with a swollen Achilles, two bruised rotator cuffs, a hit to the temple, almost knocking out one of my incisors, and countless surface injuries, but also with a sense of unity. The chorus of slams and screams carried our collective spirit – we became a comunal society of pain. Sharing our discoveries of bodily intelligence with one another through the lamentations from our stumbles, we became a true ensemble. A community of artists tied together by blood, sweat, and tears.
– Mark McGillivray
I will take back with me from Arezzo many things. My social experiences, my academics, and especially the delicious food. One moment in particular I will always remember is a class trip we took in the first few weeks. As a collective we went to see a circus performance. There were two acts, and the things they were able to do were amazing and fantastical. The first act consisted of two performers engaging in silk work, juggling, vocal manipulation, and acrobatics. It was beautiful! The second act was a one woman clown piece. At a certain point in her act she brought me up to play with her. We danced, and she incoporated me into her act as her love interest. I left that performance not knowing what to do with myself I was so excited.
This was one of the most incredible moments of my experience in Italy, and it directly informed me as to the possibilities of what one can do with the training we receive here.
– Zachary Shery
I have had issues with my body for as long as I can remember. I never knew it was okay to push through pain to make you stronger, and that was proven to me here. I’ve never been pressured to push through bad pain, but I learned the difference between unhealthy pain and extreme discomfort. I definitely feel stronger after persevering through any of my discomfort and I constantly feel supported by this community of students. I don’t only keep going for myself, but also for the students around me. This notion of support is something that I can certainly see myself sharing with others after the program.
– Allison Wertheim
It’s impossible to encapsulate everything I’ll take away from the Accademia in one simple blog post. However, I predict that when I return home I know I’ll be much more likely to jump on people for joy of seeing them before remembering that that’s not normal socially acceptable behavior. Before coming to the Accademia I was always the lifted not the lifter. I have much more confidence in my ability to support other people’s weight.
Something I’d like to learn more about is Tarantella. After only a few classes I certainly don’t feel like an expert, but I’d love to share the feeling of community it inspired. There’s something about desperately trying not to trip over your own feet at the same time as 30 other people that you won’t forget in a hurry.
– Sarah Franzel