Today, as the first classes of my senior year started, and the skies turned from sunnny and clear to grey and murky, I decided to apply for my dance major. Finally. Once approved, I’ll be pursuing one BA in Theatre and one in Dance, thanks to the many course options the Dept. of TFD provides. But the real reason I’m able to double major in four years so suddenly was this summer program.
Byron Suber, of the dance department, offers a unique study abroad option to students each summer. This year we went to Dublin, Paris, and Rome. I participated in the whole nine week escapade, though you can choose to do either Dublin/Paris or Rome for half the time. I was able to meet, live, and study with kids from all across the university (this year we had dance majors, gov majors, architects, etc) while dancing through some of the hottest cities in Europe.
Cool points: In addition to studio time taught by our favorite Cornell professors, we took dance classes in public Parisian dance studios, in French! I took electroclubbing, Capoeira, Hip-hop, modern, and more. We also learned about the architecture of the cities in which we traveled, and how it relates to the city’s politics, history, development, and habitation by its residents. This was truly not a typical dance study, to be sure! The food was unbelievable.
I also experienced many “typical” study abroad experiences, such as meeting people, using public transportation like it was an ipod (easily and frequently), getting lost, and exploring crevices of the cities only the locals know about. I got in the best shape of my life, took engaging classes, and had the most fun I could imagine from a study abroad experience.
Not-so-cool points: I got injured (personal, not dance related) and required hospital attention. I got a computer virus (from illegally downloading The Happening…totally not worth it). We walked EVERYWHERE; sometimes the only way to really experience a city is to get there by foot…every day for nine weeks.
These things aren’t so bad. Compared to dancing pieces we choreographed in public spaces such as the Circus Maximus, the Centre Pompidou, and the Louvre, and compared to getting a pasta with a red sauce only known to true Romans, and enjoying it with friends, any downsides become merely anecdotes.
I could go on forever. We studied film, worked with dancers from internationally known companies, and came back to tell the tales. You get University credit, you have fun, and you go to Europe. What more could you ask for? Well…you could ask to not have classes today…