Maia Potok-Holmes: Dance (Goucher College, MD)
Coming to Italy and the Accademia, I knew that this was going to be an incredible experience, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I had never been to Italy before and only knew a little bit about the program from people who had been here in previous semesters. I have now officially been in Italy for two weeks and it’s better than I ever could have imagined. Everything here is amazing. Literally amazing. I have yet to find one bad thing about this place. I could stare out my window for hours and not get bored. I could go into town everyday and find somewhere new to explore. I could take a million photos – well actually I’ve already done that. I find myself feeling so grateful everyday to have the opportunity to have this incredible experience.
One of the best parts of being in Italy and studying at the Accademia is being able to spend every day doing what I love– dance. I knew that this program was special and I would be studying with the best of the best, but I had no idea how special it would be. We’ve only had about a week and a half of classes so far, but I already feel as if I’ve learned months worth of technique and information. Every teacher is kind, interesting, and exciting, and I find myself looking forward to classes every day.
What else do I look forward to every day? Mealtime!!! The food here is by far one of my favorite parts of being abroad. Everyone always talks about how great the food in Italy is but you can’t really understand how true that is until you come here. Oh my God, it’s incredible. Everything is so fresh. I had orange juice the other day and it was actually orange. It was one of the best things I’ve ever had. And the wine. It is so good. Even the cheap wine is amazing. But some of the best food that I’ve had here is at the Accademia. The meals here are unreal. I have never been so spoiled. I find myself thinking about what we’ll have for lunch or dinner from the moment I get up. In fact, I wonder what we’ll have for lunch tomorrow. I hope it’s some kind of pasta.
To save time, here is a list of some other things I’ve learned about Italy in the past two weeks:
-You often have to pay for public restrooms…weird, right?
-You have to pay for water at restaurants!
-It’s so nice not having to tip your waiter.
-Italian men really and truly do love American women.
-Italian gelato is the real deal. I will never be able to have American ice cream again.
-Egg yolks are super yellow.
-Everything is so fresh.
-The air is fresh (and smells good).
-Literally everyone in Italy is so fashionable. Even the children.
-Italian children are cuter than any other children.
-My Italian is better than I thought. I can actually converse with Italians (most of the time).
-There is not a single place here that is not beautiful.
-Cinghiale live here. My class likes the cinghiale a lot.
-Monica Capacci is a super star.
So basically, Italy is amazing. I love it here and feel myself continuously growing and learning. I am so happy to be here and feel so lucky to be having this experience and to be surrounded by all the amazing people here (did I mention how amazing everyone here is?). Living in a house filled with 30 twenty-something artists is wonderful. Waking up everyday to see mountains outside your window is complete bliss. Dancing all day and eating Italian food is all I could ask for. I am so excited to continue on with this journey, explore more of Italy, and most importantly, eat lots of food and drink lots of wine.
Stephanie Occhipinti: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)
As we enter our third week at the Accademia dell’Arte, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my experience thus far. Some of my expectations have been wildly surpassed, and some things have completely surprised me.
I’d say some of the biggest surprises have come from our class work. When I was preparing to go abroad, my mind was set on traveling, making new friends, and immersing myself in a new culture. I knew all of those things would happen inherently during this experience, but I didn’t have any expectations for the actual class work I’d be doing each week. So far I’ve been challenged, intrigued, surprised, and excited by the possibilities for the semester. I did know what to expect in class (as much as I knew how to plan ahead for travel), but each day I am more invested in the work and curious about what is to come. Coming out of 2.5 years at the same school, with the same teachers, it is so refreshing to get a new perspective on the work. As an artist I feel it is so important to continually make new relationships and work in new communities because everyone offers a new and interesting perspective I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
The class work is engaging, new every week, and is challenging me to grow and stretch in ways I could not have even imagined. I cannot wait to continue down this path of discovery. There are so many exciting things down the road; each and every day is a new adventure. (The food, travel, and new friends haven’t disappointed either!!)
Joe Boyce: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)
In a word, these past two weeks have been miraculous. Coming into this program, I did not necessarily know what to expect. I knew that I would be studying Physical Theatre and Commedia and learning some Italian. What I did not expect was the environment in which I would be doing these things. The Villa itself is breathtaking, with a view that leaves me speechless every time I so much as look out my bedroom window. The most pleasant surprise of all comes from the people. I had no idea that I would come to care about all of my fellow students as quickly and as deeply as I have in these first weeks. We have created a safe environment not only to create, but to live and cooperate in our daily lives. The dynamic of the Villa makes me think about sleep away summer camp, but it is better because we are in Italy (but seriously, though) and we are all artists with a thirst to create art. Everyone has something to bring to the table and I already feel my artistry growing with every conversation I have, be it in class or over breakfast. I hate to be an impulsive romantic, and maybe I am dropping the L word too soon in the relationship, but what the hell! Accademia dell’Arte, I love you.
Allison Rapisardi: Physical Theatre (Boston University, MA)
If you had told me two years ago that I would take a selfie in front of one of the biggest cathedrals in the world, I would have rolled my eyes. But now, I have a selfie with one of the biggest cathedrals in the world, a cinghiale statue, AND the David. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have this experience. When the Accademia isn’t whipping me into the best shape of my life, it’s exposing me to a world I had only vaguely imagined. There was a moment, this weekend, when I stopped in my tracks and marveled at where I was and what I was doing. This is an opportunity people dream about their entire lives, and there I was, living it. I gazed in awe at churches, statues, paintings, food… And I hope I never forget how lucky I am to be able to go this school. The entirety of my two weeks here so far have reminded me of what has come before me, and how much is out there for us to find. This culminated for me this weekend, living in the sheer magic of the city, overwhelmed with wonder. I hope I can bring that feeling with me everywhere.
Olivia Wood: Dance (Muhlenberg College, PA)
Okay, so I’m going to make this small and sweet, because as they say in the movie Up, “Adventure is out there!” Like a bombolone. This is my bombolone blog post. What’s a bombolone, you ask? It is a little piece of heaven that takes the shape of a donut-like, sugar-coated, cream-filled pastry that somehow stays magically warm underneath the glass counter so that when you take a bite, you are transported to a world of awesomeness. That’s essentially what Arezzo is.
I had no idea what to expect when I first came here. In fact, I barely knew what the place looked like before I arrived. Now, its beauty astounds me; I can’t tear my eyes away from Arezzo’s rolling mountains, crystal skies, dramatic clouds, or its golden sunsets. I could never imagine how much I would come to love walking the cobblestoned streets, driven by wanderlust, looking for my next adventure.
I’ve tried so many new things since I’ve been here, the bombolone being just one of them. I’ve seen the antique fair, taken a swig of donkey milk moonshine, ordered food in Italian, hiked up hills, climbed to the top of the Duomo in Florence, tasted gnocchi, bought my first bottle of wine, gotten lost on purpose.
The prompt for this post is “What has surprised you so far while living at the Accademia and in Italy? What were you expecting/did not expect?” Well, I expected nothing really. Had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to say “yes” to every adventure possible. The most astonishing thing that I have encountered in Italy is, oddly enough, me. I feel different here. More energetic, more confident, more independent. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Perhaps my next adventure, aside from eating another bombolone, will be searching for Italy’s secret ingredient.