Auckland Adventures in Dance

My Experience Studying Dance Abroad for the Second Time
by Keri Lushefski

Last spring, I expanded my horizons and studied dance abroad for a second time. During my first time abroad, I journeyed 5,000 miles away to Rome, Italy with the Temple University Dance Department for two months. This time, I chose to depart 10,000 miles away to Auckland, New Zealand to train and study with The University of Auckland’s dance program for four months. Having already studied abroad once, I felt comfortable in the process of pursuing yet another unforgettable and enriching experience.

The classes I enrolled in while in New Zealand were Dance Vocabulary III (a contemporary technique course), Professional Dance Practices (similar to Senior Seminar), Ballet, Hip Hop, and Improvisation, and Pacific and Māori Contemporary Choreography. I also joined an Acrobatics Club where I honed in on my strength and balance in performing unique acrobatic poses with a diverse group of college students. Involving myself in a cultural dance form I have never experienced before, Pacific and Māori, was very eye opening to how expansive dance really is, and the many traditions in which it is practiced around the world. It reminded me of when I witnessed dance through other cultural lenses, such as when I took part in Hungarian folk dance in Budapest.

In consideration of having a two-week spring break, I decided to travel to both Sydney, Australia and Queenstown, New Zealand. In Sydney, I surfed at the infamous Bondi Beach, petted kangaroos and koalas, explored the Sydney Opera House, climbed the mast of a ship, saw the breathtaking botanical gardens, and witnessed a 360-degree view of Sydney in the Tower Eye. Furthermore, Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world; therefore,  took part in activities I never believed I would do, such as going indoor skydiving, paragliding,  and upside-down zip riding. Throughout the semester, I also spent my weekends exploring Auckland; I hung off of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, hiked to the peak of a volcano, went on whale and dolphin safaris, enhanced my knowledge at museums, watched dance performances, etc.

Since my future aspirations are to move to Europe and take part in a graduate dance program to further build my professional dance career to become a performer, choreographer, university dance professor, and dance researcher/educator, these study-abroad opportunities have prepared me to become motivated in doing so. I now feel highly confident in being independent, moving to new places, meeting new people, experiencing new languages and cultures, taking various forms of transportation, and traveling by myself. I no longer feel the need to worry about getting lost, since there are multiple GPS systems and local advice that help me ease my way around. Having been on a 24-hour round trip flight, any travel time less than that seems like a breeze to me. Leaving for long periods of time also always makes me appreciate everything I left back at home even more. I now know what it is like to study dance in a different country as well as experiencing life in a total of fourteen countries. I am excited to see what my future dance career brings as I transition into yet another experience abroad. My adventures will surely last a lifetime.

Keri Lushfeski BFA in Dance Student

Summer Study NYC: A Contemporary Dance Intensive

4 weeks, 60 classes, 186 hours, and 6,840 minutes later, I am happy to say that I have recently completed the Summer Study NYC: A Contemporary Dance Intensive, at Steps on Broadway. I was given the incredible opportunity to study and perform under the guidance of some amazing artistic directors and choreographers working today. I knew this program was right for me because I still somehow managed to end my classes with a smile after a 5-7 hour day of dance technique and the creative process!

Since I get excited about meeting new people, I was beyond thrilled that our intensive group consisted of myself and seven other dancers, ranging from ages 19-32, lying somewhere between the pre-professional and professional dance world. I just love intimate class sizes! The smallness of the group gave me the chance to learn everybody’s name after just one day. Not bad for a girl who can’t even remember how old some of her family members are. Although I became fast friends with everyone, I ended up having a common bond with another dancer hailing from Munich, Germany. (Now I have an excuse to visit Europe again right?)

Besides sweating together in class, our little group loved to spend breaks in Central Park tanning and eating, chatting about life, and even hanging out on the weekend in Coney Island for a Mermaid Parade (yes those exist)! Not only did we bond socially, but we got to share our creative processes and learn collaborative approaches to movement creation and articulation. Our ultimate task was to create compositions in smaller groups that were to be shown at the end of the program. It was a huge hit! I feel so fortunate for this opportunity I’ve had here at Steps. The intensive was not only an excellent way to learn new skills, but we all agreed it was our key to getting one step closer to that dream we all share: being a professional dancer.


– Marina Di Loreto, BFA class of 2017