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 2017
January 23 - April 27

Spring Break: TBD

Spring Semester Application Deadline: October 15

PLEASE NOTE: The dates above include arrival and departure. The Accademia dell'Arte does not accommodate students before or after these dates.

APPLY NOW for this program.

We are now offering an Early Bird Discount of 5% off total tuition ($1,055.00) if you apply and pay the deposit before July 31! 
Contact for more information.

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

Our European faculty aims to create an atmosphere that encourages authentic and individual expression thereby cultivating artistic development and personal growth. Finding its roots in the European tradition of modern dance, German Ausdruckstanz and German dance theatre, the program combines classical ballet, modern and post-modern performance techniques as well as somatic approaches with specific cultural movement traditions such as Butoh or the traditional Italian Tarantismo. As a student in the Accademia’s Dance Program, 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, and will be exposed to diverse musical and thematic materials that will challenge their choreographic skills.

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
  • Cultural Dance Studies: Tanztheater, Tarantismo and 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

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.

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

Butoh, 30 hours
Instructor: Mitsuru Sasaki

Butoh was born in Japan in the sixties and derived from traditional Japanese dance and performance forms. Butoh encourages the occidental dancer to look beyond traditional assumptions about time and space in order to reach out to new ground in terms of performance.
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. The students will work towards a performance that will be shown in a venue in the town of Arezzo.

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 technique and will take place in a local Ballet School with Carolina Basagni, who studied at the American School of Ballet and was a prima ballerina at the London Festival Ballet.

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.