Three study-abroad options for dancers
An FSU dancer at the Louvre in Paris. Photo by Devyn Kreeger, Courtesy FSU.
Studying abroad can be one of the greatest adventures of a dancer’s college career. Learning about the history and dances of other cultures—and simply experiencing life in another country—can help you expand your notion of the art form and build skills as a performer and choreographer. “Students always come back different in the ways they think about and create their art,” says Karen Dearborn, dance director at Muhlenberg College. Though almost every college has study-abroad sites, few are dance-specific. Here are three to keep on your radar.
Florida State University
Degree: BFA in dance
Study-abroad site: Paris
Length of stay: Four weeks in the summer
Open to: Up to 20 dance students from FSU and other colleges
Dance immersion: Students take classical ballet at the Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, and may take classes at other studios. Past trips have included master classes in court dancing and Isadora Duncan technique. An elective dance history course covers 17th-century ballet, Impressionism, Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, and American dancers in Paris.
Excursions: Students attend a Paris Opéra Ballet performance and take a backstage tour of the Palais Garnier. They visit major art museums, spend a day at Versailles and take a walking tour of Montmartre.
Dancers take technique class with French students to become familiar with the language and teaching styles.
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
Degrees: BA or BFA in dance
Study-abroad site: Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo
Length of stay: Four weeks, prior to Brazilian Carnival
Open to: 20–25 dancers from U of Iowa
Dance immersion: Students study Brazilian culture and history by visiting the headquarters of several samba schools for lectures and classes, and watching street rehearsals. They also dance in a Carnival parade dress rehearsal with students from a local samba school. Other activities include a history lecture at the Afro Brasil Museum in São Paulo, drumming classes to learn about the music of samba, a class in capoeira and a lecture with a Carnival costume designer.
Excursions: Students visit major Brazilian landmarks, like Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue, and tour historic downtown São Paulo.
U of Iowa also offers an on-campus course in Brazilian culture and Carnival to complement students’ experiences abroad.
Degree: BA in dance
Study-abroad site: Tuscany, in partnership with Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo
Length of stay: One semester
Open to: 16 dance students from Muhlenberg and other schools
Dance immersion: Ballet, modern and choreography classes are taken at the Accademia. There are shorter courses in the tarantella, butoh and tanztheater (taught by a former Pina Bausch dancer). Dancers also study Italian language, philosophy of art and performance, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and Laban Choreutics and Eukinetics.
Excursions: There is at least one trip to a major Italian city to see a performance and take classes. Past destinations include Rome, Naples and Venice.
Students perform for the local community throughout the program, sometimes with students from the Accademia.