Programs » Dance

Spring Dance Program

Each spring semester Accademia dell’Arte offers a unique dance program designed in partnership with Professor Karen Dearborn at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, Pennsylvania) and Goucher College (Baltimore, Maryland).

For those students who would like to extend their stay in Europe after they have successfully finished our program, we provide possibilities for internships with choreographers and dance companies, in Germany or the UK.
In previous years, we have been able to place students from the ADA Dance program in Dance productions, summer workshops and guest training programs.
In the case of participating in a specific Dance company, students will have to audition for that particular company.
Most internships are not paid, but may provide accommodations.


Program Dates

Spring Semester 2015
January 26 - May 1

Spring Break:
 March 14 - 22

Spring Semester Application Deadline: November 1
APPLY NOW for this program.

Please visit the Tuition & Fees page for complete details on all program costs.

A note from the Dance Program Director Sabine Fichter and from Professor Karen Dearborn, Chair of Dance at Muhlenberg College

Finding its roots in the European tradition of modern dance, German Ausdruckstanz and German dance theatre, the Accademia dell’Arte Dance program combines post-modern performance techniques as well as somatic approaches with specific cultural movement traditions such as Butoh or the traditional Italian Tarantismo. Our European faculty aims to create an atmosphere that encourages authentic and individual expression thereby cultivating artistic development and personal growth. At the Accademia dell’Arte, you will have the chance to enjoy an enriching and challenging encounter with European dance culture in a truly inspiring environment.

Sabine Fichter
Director of the Dance Program

The dance program at the Accademia dell’Arte offers American college students a unique semester-long learning opportunity in the heart of Tuscany. During the program, students dance, improvise, and create daily, while working with superb European artists in an intimate artistic community. With an intense focus on developing one's own personal style, I find that students return to America with expanded self-awareness and more sophisticated skills as performers and art makers. Living collectively in a Renaissance villa surrounded by magnificent views, students advance their talents within an artistically fertile and supportive environment. Complementary course work on the Philosophy of Art invites further reflection and challenges students to comprehend their own responsibility as dancers, performers, choreographers, consumers and producers of art. The lovely town of Arezzo provides an authentic Italian experience and easy access via train to the capitols of Europe for weekend and spring break travel. This semester spent abroad is a positively beautiful and transformative experience for American college and university dancers.

Karen Dearborn
Professor, Chair of Dance
Muhlenberg College

Program Overview
Working intimately with a variety of European artists, students will have the opportunity to explore various approaches in order to further develop their personal dance expression and their creativity.

Students will expand their choreographic range through the creation of solo and small group pieces, and will be encouraged to incorporate a range of disciplines including song and text into their work. Students’ choreographic skills will be challenged as they are exposed to diverse musical and thematic materials.

Students will have the opportunity to cross-train with other tracks at the Accademia dell’Arte, in both the undergraduate theatre and the graduate physical theatre programs. Throughout the semester, dancers will be invited to join actors in movement and voice classes.

Application procedure requires submission of supplemental materials by July 1. For further information on the spring dance program student application process, contact

Course Descriptions

Semester Courses (3 credits each)
  • Extended Performance Topics: Dance Performance and Laban-Bartenieff Studies, Contact Improvisation
  • Cultural Dance Studies: Butoh and Tarantismo & Popular Dance of the Mediterranean
  • DanceTechnique: Modern Dance and Ballet
  • The Philosophy of Art and Performance
  • Italian Language I or II

Extended Performance Topics: Dance

Dance Performance, Laban-Bartenieff Studies, Contact Improvisation

Dance Performance, 45 hours
Instructor: Giorgio Rossi

“Dance is all about the man, including the voice,” said the choreographer and theorist Rudolf von Laban. Giorgio Rossi starts from this idea. Seeking to encourage sensory memory from his students, he invites students to explore tactile, auditory, visual and scent memories. Rather than offering answers, Giorgio encourages students to listen, ask and answer questions. He believes that the most important thing to teach is the ability to improvise while listening deeply to what is inside and around, and from there the dancer builds his work.

From Bach to Balanchine, from music to dance, many great artists began their journeys with listening. Imitation is an important teaching tool, but when you invite the energy of a movement to enter your body--for example the leaf in the wind, or the river, or the butterfly-imitation can be enhanced. Students will confront their sensory memories and reproduce the perceived energies and rhythms.

Laban-Bartenieff Studies, 30 hours
Instructor: Sabine Fichter

The course has two components:

In this course students will be introduced to Rudolf Laban’s ideas, particularly his theories of Choreutics (use of space) and Eukinetics (use of dynamics). Within the framework of the Laban principles, guided exploration and improvisation will deepen the understanding of movement concepts and enable students to generate genuine movement material. Compositional exercises will enhance students’ ability to reflect on choreographic processes as they investigate the use of compositional strategies. The course provides students with an opportunity to develop more refined insight into the relationship between choreographic form and theatrical content.

The classes in this part of the course are somatic-based movement classes. The Bartenieff work is a method that utilizes basic developmental movement patterns that reinforce the neuromuscular building blocks of movement. We will work on dynamic alignment, spatial intent, weight shifting, core support, rotary factor, breath support and initiation/sequencing of movements. The system enhances strength, function and mobility, thereby helping to improve overall coordination, efficiency and expression. Students will be guided in the use of anatomical information as well as imagery as a base for technical competence.

Contact Improvisation/Feldenkrais Method, 10 hours
Instructor: Thomas Kampe

The Feldenkrais method is understood as a playful embodied process of assisted enquiry, concerned with our creative interaction with the world through movement. This is achieved through non-corrective, pleasurable and structured inquiries in empathic improvisational dialogues, which will be used as kinesthetic –tuning-scores to lead us into expansive, skillful and daring dance process. Feldenkrais method offers a gentle and organic movement practice, which encourages the mover to access and explore a multi-directional and polycentric movement range, always in relation to a dynamic social environment.

Cultural Dance Studies
Butoh & Tarantismo and Popular Dance of the Mediterranean

Butoh, 30 hours
Instructors: Mitsuru Sasaki 
                   Mark Alan Wilson

Technique imparts precision and discipline, which are fundamental to any craft, and which play a significant role in Butoh performance. Each morning begins with a class in contemporary dance technique and is immediately followed by exercises in the physical and metaphysical concepts from which Butoh was born.

1. Butoh Fundamentals 1 looks at the recent history of the art of Butoh.
2. Butoh Fundamentals 2 looks at the the art forms and culture that preceded Butoh and that gave rise to it.
3. Butoh Fundamentals 3 looks at the present Butoh and ideas of where it may go in the future.

Tarantismo and Popular Dance of the Mediterranean, 45 hours
Instructors: Gianni Bruschi
                   Ashai Lombardo Arop
The Tarantella, in the south Italian tradition, can be subdivided into several dancing-musical forms: love dances, war dances, honour and expiation dances, and ritual dances. The very ancient origins of these dances date back to Dioniso’s cult, and the traditions of these dances reflect a cultural heritage of great human and artistic value.
The assonances and expressive roots of the cultures of the Mediterranean area inspired the creation of a teaching method that, besides developing techniques, will allow the participants to increase their physical, mental and emotional talent through body exercises, expressive movement, intense dance training, and the use of the voice and theatre. Through improvisation, transposition, and interpretation of proposed thematic contexts (Tarantismo, Dionysiac mysteries, Myth, Greek Tragedy), the course is based on the study of the expressive-technical practices common to the dances of the ritual and tribal culture of several people, revised for the contemporary scene.

Dance Technique
Modern Dance & Ballet

Modern Dance, 50 hours
Instructor: Rita Petrone

This course is based primarily on the pedagogical technique of Alwin Nikolais and movement principles of Rudolf Laban. Focusing on theories of Time, Space, Shape, and Motion, this dance technique develops the complete artist. Nikolais redefined dance as “the art of motion which, left on its own merits, becomes the message as well as the medium”. Rather than following a fixed set of exercises or movement patterns, the technique plays with and explores the main movement principles, emphasizing the dancer’s unique gesture and its relation to gravity, momentum, space, and the mover’s motivational energies.

Ballet, 30 Hours
Instructor: Carolina Basagni

This class is based on principles Vaganova and Stanley Williams

Philosophy of Art and Performance, 40 hours
Instructors: Emilija Dimitrijevic, PhD
                   Scott McGehee, PhD

In this course, we will read and think about art and the role it plays in our lives. We will read famous writings on art by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Marx, Baudrillard, Bakhtin, Debord and others, and consider the variety of ways in which art has been perceived throughout history. We will begin by considering the classical view of art as an art of measure and imitation, and proceed by examining the relationships between art and systems of production, social discourse, power relations, and personal experience. The purpose here is not to provide rigid definitions of the nature and purpose of art, but to identify and analyse the grounds which inform particular perceptions. In this way, we will be able not only to examine writings on art in a broader context of time, but also to place these writings in a historical perspective, and to relate the analysis to contemporary conditions and personal experiences.

The class format will be based on lectures and seminar style discussions where each student will present a critical summary of at least one of the readings. A portion of the class will include a critical examination of the student’s own experience in other classes and workshops.

Italian Language, Beginning or Intermediate, 50 hours
Instructor: Accademia Britannica, Arezzo

The first semester course will introduce students to basic grammatical structures of the Italian language, enabling students to acquire a basic vocabulary and speaking practice.

In the second semester course, students begin moving toward fluency in Italian by focusing on communication and the exposure to a non-stereotypical, complex and modern picture of Italy and Italians.

The readings will provide a point of departure for conversation, which will be an essential component of both classes. Aspects of Italian culture and society will be covered as well.