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London Calling: the School of Dance and Theatre Goes to England

Group Picture

Radford University’s School of Dance and Theatre went to London. During the winter break, RU faculty Wesley Young and danah bella, accompanied 15 theatre and dance students to study abroad in England.

Director of the School of Dance and Theatre Carl Lefko helped plan this trip and says that, “I have a strong interest in supporting these opportunities. They are invaluable experiences that I wish could be available for every student. Almost everything we do in the arts touches on ideas, people and experiences that are new and different ways of experiencing the world in which we live.”

The purpose of this trip was to learn about different cultures in regard to the arts. London has a rich culture for theatre and dance, making it a logical location for such study.

Ashley Dobrogosz

Ashley Dobrogosz during an aerial skills class.

Students from the school, which encompasses both the departments of dance and theatre, left from Dulles Airport Jan. 4, 2014, and arrived back home on Jan. 17.

Once they arrived in London they took a tour of the City and had dinner together that evening. The next morning the two departments set out to focusing on workshops, classes, museums and other points of interest to their particular disciplines. Between these activities different groups of the students moved about together seeing the sights and purchasing their own theatre tickets.

The students visited historical sites such as the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and also spent time in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Dance education major Erin Bradley and theatre major/dance minor Maddie Cindrich, said that their favorite part of the trip was the clowning workshop at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Cindrich explained that the workshop was fun and intense; she was surprised at how comedy is really deep and has a lot of character.

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At the Royal Shakespeare Company

Theatre students also took a workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre while the whole group experienced a class at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Junior theatre major James Bristow said his favorite part of the trip was seeing his first professional Shakespeare show, “Henry V,” starring Jude Law.

During the trip, Bristow observed the differences in the culture, noting that, “In London, the arts are a lot better funded. They have a National Theatre that is funded by the government. Also, they do a lot more straight plays than musicals, unlike our Broadway.”

Theatre professor Wesley Young’s favorite memory of the trip was, “Having tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace with two of the theatre students and then having to jump the fence to get out because we were apparently locked on the palace grounds.”

The dance department was just as busy as the theatre department. They attended shows such as “Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake” and a production of “Le Corsaire” at the English National Ballet.

Dance professor danah bella recalls the events from the trip saying that, “We were all over London. For dance, we spent the day at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance. We also took classes at The Place, Pineapple Dance Studios, Flying Fantastik, Aerial Yoga London and Trip Space Studio. We also did a workshop at the Royal Shakespeare Company.”

Junior dance major Ashley Dobrogosz says that her favorite part of the trip was the aerial skills class. She reminisced that it was hard and very different from anything she has done before but she had lots of fun and would love to try it again.

Dobrogosz found that dance in London is not much different from dance in the U.S., saying, “The way the classes were taught and set up, and also how students dressed for class was what we're used to here. The one thing that was different was that there was live music in almost all the classes, which I loved!”

Across the board this was an incredible experience for everyone involved. As professor Lefko says, “One study abroad program completed and looking forward to our next.”

Feb 3, 2014
Elizabeth Dreher

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