Our students are back from spring break and full of stories to tell! From Dublin to Barcelona to London to Greece and everywhere in between, ADA students were scattered to the four winds to explore and enjoy the best of what Europe has to offer. Read on to hear from Ali, Korilyn, Lily, Anthony, and Jacqueline about their adventures and how it has shaped their perspective as artists!
Ali Calamoneri: Dance, Muhlenberg College PA
Spring break has been the one time out of this entire program that I felt as though I stepped outside of my comfort zone. My roommate Ashlyn and I ended up doing three different cities in one week. We started in Dublin, then went to London, and finally ended in Amsterdam. We both feel as though Dublin was the highlight of our entire trip. During our first day, we did a free walking tour of the city, which ultimately helped shape the rest of our time there. That night, we went to a comedy show and watched two comedians share their bits which was really funny and inspired me to think about comedy in my own art. But overall, the absolute best part of Ireland was the tour that we did of the Cliffs of Moher on our second day there. We took a bus across to the west side of Ireland where we saw the cliffs and were able to spend some time up there before heading to lunch. The other two places we visited over break were incredible, don’t get me wrong… (how can you go wrong in Europe?); however, we both felt this awesome connection to Ireland. The people were so amazing and kind and made us feel welcome. The experiences that Ashlyn and I had in Ireland have really shaped the way that I want to travel for the rest of my time in Europe. I’ve found a connection to nature that I always knew I had, but realize now that I want to end my time in Europe in nature, doing something relaxing or seeing some beautiful views. My art here at the Accademia has been shaped by the way that I feel in nature and I know that I have been influenced by nature in Ireland and all of the other places that I have been.
Korilyn Hendricks: One Year Program, Coastal Carolina University SC
I spent my spring break in Athens, Greece with Mekala, Carolyn, and Emily. We arrived late Saturday evening – it was raining, we were exhausted, we didn’t know how to work the bus and underground systems…so the first few hours were stressful! After we finally arrived at our Airbnb, however, that changed. Our host was super friendly and recommended some great places to eat and have fun in the city. He is an artist/fashion designer, and the apartment was SO COOL. It was completely covered in huge paintings he’s done of his designs, landscapes, and more. The living/dining room had a layered moving glass table, deerhide chairs, packing flats refurbished into bookshelves, and a huge leather couch.
We spent our first few days exploring the ruins of Athens – the seven archeological sites included on the Acropolis combo ticket (Acropolis, Theater of Dionysus, Ancient Agora, Roman Agora/Tower of the Winds, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Zeus, Karameikos) and the Acropolis Museum. It was so amazing to see and learn about the history of a country whose myths I have grown up loving and which have more recently returned to my artistic awareness. (In Voice class at CCU, we had done an improvisational retelling of The Bacchae, and I had played Dionysus. It had been a ton of fun to bring the myths and characters I loved into the realm of my schooling.) The museums and exhibits in Athens all had extensive literature about the meaning and history of the locations and monuments posted throughout the route, which was incredibly helpful and informative. One definite takeaway – it’s easy for me to pick Athena or a Nike out of a crowd of statues now. After we had seen all seven locations, we did the small hike up to Philopappos Hill and checked out Socrates’ supposed prison. On Friday and Saturday we took day trips to the islands Aegina and Hydra (where I finally got to swim in the refreshingly cold Aegean Sea) before flying home early Sunday morning.
My favorite bits of this trip were probably (not surprisingly) the unexpected ones. On Philopappos Hill (The Hill of the Muses), there was a separate trail leading down to a lower level of the hill on the other side from which we had walked up, and I took the impulse to explore it. Not only was there a proliferation of many different types of colorful flowers along the trail, but the rocks edging the sides of the cliff looked down on a forested embankment writhing with natural pathways and wreathed in sunlight. Like much of Greece, it was indescribably beautiful. What made it particularly stunning was the fact that my phone had died – I couldn’t take pictures of all this beauty like I normally would, shutter-happy nuisance that I am. I decided that that was okay, before heading down. I could have this little trail, this place, this experience, be just for me. And that made it so much sweeter.
It really hit me then, leaping from rock to rock and walking the razor’s edge between safety and oblivion, where I was standing. In this country, on this hill where centuries ago people worshipped the pagan deities that provided inspiration for the arts. A hill which now overflows with a bounty of flora, which stands like a proud reminder of the power and immediacy of the natural world amidst the steel buildings and honking cabs of the present city. I was displaced in time, above and below, both at home and una straniera, but I felt welcome there. I can’t explain the feeling I had, standing on the edge of a cliff with the wind whipping at my clothing. I took another impulse; went off the path onto the face of the hill amongst the trees and the flowers and sat down. I stayed there, still, just looking at the horizon and the land below, listening to the bees hum all around me, for a good long while – entirely at peace. I was Dionysus again, or one of the Bacchae. Something wild awoke within me. I was present when the majority of the time getting out of my own head is a dire struggle. I remember at some point making eye contact with a lone hiker traversing one of the winding paths – we just smiled at one another, almost knowingly. There was something magical about that place. When I finally stood up and left, back up to the graffiti-covered monument at the crest of the hill, I felt different. I felt envigorated, cleansed, inspired. I stayed in a Zen-like state for at least thirty minutes afterwards – possibly weirding out my co-travelers – but I was happy. Thanks, Muses.
Lily Hargis: Physical Theatre, Boston University MA
A Corny Ode to Traveling Alone
I traveled alone to a city all new
a country across a sea
with a pack on my back and a bag in my arm
and with no one to travel with me
London was welcoming, challenging, fun
I saw galleries, a beach, and a play
but by far the most rewarding piece of the tour
was wandering, discovering my way.
You can travel in groups
You can travel with school
You can travel with your mom or your dad
But nothing compares to the secret joy that when traveling solo I’ve had.
Anthony de Marte: Physical Theatre, Muhlenberg College PA
This semester is my first time in Europe, so my fellow dancer and Muhlenberg friend Jacqueline and I took spring break as an opportunity to see it’s three most visited cities: London, Paris, and Barcelona. In nine days, we did most of the major tourist attractions in each city, rode countless metros and buses, went through international security four times, and were exposed to a vast array of architecture, art, performance, and food. Throughout this amazing experience, I truly learned the value of knowing how to travel. I thought I would immediately understand how to travel efficiently and effectively, but I’ve learned that traveling is an acquired skill. Traveling takes stamina, quick thinking, and patience. You have to accept the fact that you cannot do everything, and you need to be early so that you can course correct if necessary. So, when planning an itinerary, it is important to choose things that you really want to do. I don’t regret any part of my experience because I was able to plan it in a way so that I saw everything I wanted to from Big Ben and Westminster Abby in London to the beaches of Barcelona without overloading myself or feeling rushed. I also found it really important as a performing artist to see performance art in each of the cities I went to. I saw a musical on the West End, went to the Moulin Rouge, and went to an authentic Flamenco show in Barcelona. In order to better understand the perspective of the art I create, I believe it is important to expose myself to the perspectives of the art from other cultures. Getting back into class work, I’m excited to see how I can continue to hone my own unique artistic voice.
Jacqueline D’Amico: Dance, Muhlenberg College PA
After first traveling to London and Paris (two incredible cities for many different reasons), Barcelona would be the last stop of the European tour Anthony and I had embarked on. As our plane first flew over those crystal clear waters, my eyes perked up and my heart fluttered. We had finally made it to sunshine and sandy beaches. Barcelona was a vibrant city filled with palm trees, people, and gorgeous architecture. La Rambla, a major road lined with vendors, restaurants and shops. It was insane. Besides it being a pretty big tourist trap, La Boqueria was situated right along side it. This massive market was swarming with people at all times of the day, even during typical siesta hours. The freshest, tastiest, and cheapest foods were found here; everything from octopus, dragon fruit, empanadas, and chocolate-covered strawberries. This place was basically a foodies heaven on Earth. Should you ever venture off to Barcelona (and you should!) definitely visit this place at least twice a day, if not more! You and your belly will not regret it!