This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Italy with the dance department at Temple University Rome. I packed up and traveled over 5,000 miles to the ancient city of Rome. I was anxious about the new language and culture I was about to encounter, but excited to submerge myself into something new. Leaving home is never easy, but knowing all of the benefits I would receive in the end, kept me motivated.
I enrolled in Modern Dance Technique IIIB, Creative Process in Dance, and Independent Study in Dance with Professor Jillian Harris. Classes were twice a week, therefore, I had plenty of time to explore Rome, take day trips to other cities in Italy, and travel to other countries every weekend. Modern Dance Technique IIIB was a 2-hour movement generated class. We began each class with a 30-minute yoga-based warm-up, then went on into full-body movement exercises, phrases, and finished with across-the-floors, or a variation of the three. Throughout the 6-week semester, the dance material that we received got more more challenging as time went on. This class helped my body continue with the practice of Modern and helped me to gradually advance towards specific dance-related goals.
The next class, Creative Process in Dance, was a choreography-based class that dealt with each student’s own process while creating a short dance piece/study. The short study was influenced by a piece of art at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, a museum of modern and contemporary art that our class visited. We each picked one piece of artwork that stood out to us. That served as the basis of our creative choreography. We had frequent showings where we would show the class our piece and receive feedback from each person, which helped to aid and guide us into the right direction. Throughout the semester, we kept a journal of pictures, sketches, and words throughout our process that would help us to keep a tab of everything that is influencing us, feedback, visuals, and other necessary notes regarding the choreography or piece. To close out, we had a final showing, where each of us performed our dance piece to an audience at Temple University Rome.
The last class I took, Independent Study in Dance, was a class where we got experience in dance writing. We went to see two professional performances and documented them through writing. I had the chance to see ballet Manon at the Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma and The Leonardo da Vinci Experience musical and artistic visual performance in Via della Conciliazione di Roma. Experiencing music and dance performances in another country was an unforgettable experience, and it made me want to write my papers about them even more.
With all the time I had, I was able to explore many hotspots and ancient buildings in Rome. Within just 6 weeks, I was able to visit the Italian cities of Pisa, Todi, Titignano, Florence, and Pompeii. As well as the cities of Croatia, Austria, Greece, and Spain. As you can see, I had plenty of time to take my classes and complete the work while having the ability to travel to many destinations throughout Europe.
Overall, studying abroad taught me a lot. It gave me the opportunity to see the world while learning many new languages and cultures. I got to experience life as a dancer and student in a new place, which was incredibly enlightening. I met people from different countries which ended up strengthening my social network. I also gained a deeper sense of independence. Not only have I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the cities, countries, cultures, and languages, but also on the many landmarks, museums, and historical buildings. One of the most eye-opening parts of this experience was being able to view my home country from the lens of a different culture. I was shown that not all classrooms have four walls. Studying abroad was truly life-changing. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so don’t wait for the right opportunity to do something that you really want to do. Take the first step and create it yourself if you have to. Your future depends on it. After all, you only get to live once.
– Keri Lushefski, BFA Junior