TROY students, faculty headed to Italy for major dance and art festival

June 15, 2017

Troy University theatre and dance students will show their skills to an international audience this summer.

A group of students and faculty members will head to Pietrasanta, Italy, for the first Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta (DAP) Festival, a unique international festival of dance and visual arts that takes place June 18-July 1.

Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Tori Lee Averett works with students Wednesday, June 14 as they prepare for the DAP Festival in Italy later in the month.

Department of Theatre and Dance Chair Tori Lee Averett works with students Wednesday, June 14 as they prepare for the DAP Festival in Italy later in the month.

TROY was invited to attend the festival by Adria Feralli, the DAP Festival’s artistic director who served as an adjunct professor in dance last fall at the Troy Campus. After watching the department’s fall student choreography showcase in November, she invited the student choreographers to showcase their work at the festival.

TROY First Lady Janice Hawkins and departmental chair Tori Lee Averett helped organize and finalize the study abroad class. A total of 11 students are attending, including nine dancers and two theatre students.

In addition, theatre and dance graduate Ryan Wagstaff, Averett and dance coordinator Deborah Hicks will attend the festival.

“Our students will participate in the festival college, which is an intense two-week workshop schedule,” Hicks said. “They will stage their choreographic piece either around a beautiful sculpture or piece of art and then perform the piece during a touring performance. They will also audition for the opportunity to work with and perform in Sebastian Kloberg’s piece to be debuted at the festival’s gala performance.”

During the college portion of the festival, national and international students participate in master classes with a diverse group of international teaching artists.

Organizers believe the trip will help students by offering an international experience; global exposure essential to modern education; and professional development opportunities such as internships, employment; and invitations to a larger network of professionals and teachers.

“I hope they gain exposure to other cultures, as they will be participating in class with students from many different countries, mostly European but some Asian as well,” Hicks said. “I hope they begin to network professionally and that this opportunity introduces them to the possibility of working internationally upon graduation. Dance is exploding all over the world.  It seems limited for anyone not to explore international opportunities.”

The international exposure may also expand the students’ outlook on their art form.

“I am also hoping they will return with a much broader view of their art form and of themselves and that this exposure will influence their future artistic creations, their performance quality, their world view, their desire to seek out cultural diversity and to understand it, and that this experience will bring about gratitude and genuine appreciation,” Hicks said.