TROY dance students, faculty return to Pietrasanta, Italy for annual international arts festival

Ten students and two faculty members will collaborate with artists from around the world.

Ten students and two faculty members will collaborate with artists from around the world.

Troy University dance students and faculty once again have the opportunity to visit the artistic community of Pietrasanta, Italy for a two-week study abroad trip as part of the resumed Summer Arts Academy.

The trip coincides with the annual Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta (DAP) Festival, a unique international festival that combines dance and music with visual arts. TROY students have participated in the event since its inception in 2017.

“Any study abroad experience is always wonderful, but this one in particular is a very hands-on and immersive experience,” said Tori Averett, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “They’re doing the work of their profession in a global setting, and that’s what’s really cool about this particular opportunity. It is not just a trip—they’re working in their fields and connecting with other students and professionals from around the globe.”

Over the two weeks abroad, 10 students will have the opportunity to learn from world-renowned performers and eventually showcase their skills.

Study abroad students pose in front of an outdoor hanging art exhibit.
TROY students have attended the DAP Festival since the inaugural event in 2017.

In addition to the Colleges of the Globe, the DAP program that allows different educational outlets— such as studios, colleges and other programs from the countries in attendance— to collaborate, students will have the chance to participate in a new initiative intended to encourage and develop young choreographers.

“We always take choreography from our students, the pieces that TROY students currently in school have created and rehearsed, and it’s usually very well received,” Averett said. “We have several students and alumni whose work will be featured in these two performances. It’s very exciting that we’ve got so much original work represented there.”

Adrienne Hicks and James Boyd, lecturers in the department, have also been invited to teach and perform at the festival.

While the DAP Festival exposes students to unique lessons in their respective fields of study, it’s also a rewarding cultural journey. Taylor Dewberry, a recent dance graduate from Spanish Fort, Ala., said she’s excited to be able to combine her passion for the arts with experiencing a new country.

“I am most excited for all the connections and experiences I will be making in Italy. I cannot wait to do what I love every day,” she said. “Sharing and creating art in a new country I have never been to will be amazing.”

TROY’s relationship with the DAP Festival began thanks to the festival’s artistic director, Adria Feralli, who served as an adjunct dance professor at the Troy Campus in 2016. After watching the department’s fall student choreography showcase that November, she invited the student choreographers to showcase their work at the festival.

Students attended in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The 2020 festival was a virtual event, and attendance at the 2021 festival was limited due to travel restrictions. Averett said she’s happy to see international travel back open.

“It feels good to get back into contributing to something that is a vital part of Troy University’s culture, reputation and significance as Alabama’s international university,” she said. “I think these young people are more grateful than ever to have this opportunity, one that is particularly supported by this University in the scholarships and initiatives we offer.”

The group departed on Friday, June 24 and will return July 10.

To support future trips, click here and donate to the Travel Study in Dance fund.