This week we hear from Undergrad Physical Theatre Students Tim, Chloe, and Julia and One Year Program Student Dalton! They are back from their long weekend, and share some reflections and excitement.
Tim Janovsky, Muhlenberg College
What’s surprised me most about living at the Accademia and in Italy is that anything is possible when you throw yourself into it fully. In movement this week with Chris, the undergrad theater students worked on contact improv and partner tricks. It’s amazing how sharing body weight and being a trustworthy base can allow two people to enact feats that most people wouldn’t dare to try. Similarly, both the dance and theater students began their Tarantella workshops, an Italian folk dance style new to all of us. Both of these experiences, while unique, had similar ties. All it took was a group excitement and willingness to try to get into it. Even when students failed, we were all there to support and encourage each other.
Dalton Hedrick, Coastal Carolina University
Being here for two separate semesters is a ride in itself–new people, new classes, and an entirely new set of challenges. Last semester I was in a group of 15. A group this big presents many challenges in both individual attention in class and in collaborative devising. There are simply a lot of voices that need to be heard. Moving from 15 down to a group of 4 has been a shock to the system. All eyes are on you all the time, all voices are magnified and investigated in a way. It is an exhausting way to work, but rewarding just the same. I was very focused, last semester, on receiving the work fully–listening, doing, interpreting (hopefully in that order), however now, with the added focus on the individual brought on by a smaller ensemble, I am able to fully implement a fourth step–reflecting. Now of course, this was a present step in my first semester as well but it was difficult with so many cooks in the kitchen. If I took the time to allow the work to filter through my own being, forming personal connections to the intricacies of each new idea, I would have fallen behind and likely not listened as intently to the group. I feel as though this semester, the stark differences in personality, movement, energy, and experience in certain areas are celebrated. It gives me the opportunity, not only, to learn but to contextualize as well for myself what this work’s effect could have in my artistic and personal life. I am happy to be a part of this “core four,” together we will make magic, but I am eternally grateful for Group B last semester. Without them, I would not be prepared for what this semester holds. I feel very lucky to be able to live in this magical place for a full year. Every day, it seems, I learn something new.
Julia Real, Muhlenberg College
So as I’m writing this I’m on a flight back from Athens, Greece, which is just so surreal. If you asked me a month ago what would be doing on the first weekend in February, I definitely wouldn’t have said that I would be going on a vacation to Athens. I decided to go to Greece for the four day weekend since there were a lot of other ADA students going to Athens and I thought it would be fun to meet up with them. I can definitely say that we all had a wild time. I did stay in my own hotel room, but I was also able to meet up with other students. It was nice to have a feeling of independence without being completely alone. It was a rough first night though since the walk to my hotel wasn’t the best as I got off on the wrong metro stop. Athens is definitely bigger and harder to navigate around than Florence and it did have its bad areas. But we did learn a lot from our experience there. We went to the Acropolis and climbed up to see the Parthenon, ate amazing food, and explored the Acropolis museum. This past week we had been discussing Greek tragedy in our Philosophy of Art class so it was really amazing and surreal to see the theatres where these tragedies were performed. What surprised me the most about Athens was the sheer number of cats there were around the city! There were many stray cats that were surprisingly really friendly. Probably the biggest highlight of my trip was when I was sitting outside of the south slope of the Acropolis and a cat just came and jumped up on my lap and started purring madly. Honestly seeing all of these cats did make me feel so happy since I had really been missing my cats at home.
Although I had an amazing time in Greece, I am beyond ready to go back to the villa and get ready to go to Ljubljana. It will be nice to be back in Italy where I at least know some of the language. It was definitely odd to be somewhere where I couldn’t even try to speak the language. Everyone also spoke English, but it was odd to not be able to even say “hello” or “thank you” in Greek. When I was first arriving in Greece I found myself trying to speak Italian, saying words like “scusi” and “grazie” until I realized that I was not in Italy. Overall, I just can’t wait to arrive back in Arezzo and spend the rest of the day in somewhere that feels like home before leaving for Ljubljana tomorrow morning.