When it comes to college, you've got countless options. University or conservatory? BA or BFA? East Coast or West? But there's one potentially game-changing option you probably haven't considered yet: U.S. or international?
The perks of going global are hard to ignore. For one, international programs are often significantly cheaper than domestic ones. "The tuition for schools in Europe tends to be less than half that of U.S. programs," says Nicola Conraths Lange, director of comparative arts and a dance faculty member at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. What's more, many programs offer a BA, a BFA, or an approximate equivalent in three years rather than four, which not only cuts tuition costs but also gets you into the professional dance world one year sooner.
And international programs will expose you to entirely new cultures, choreographers, and methods of training. "Our classes focus more on becoming thinking, creative movers than on perfecting technique," says Carlene Raibley, an American in her third and final year at London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS). Erica Badgeley, who joined a postgraduate student company at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD), had a similar experience. "As opposed to the typical U.S. focus on vertical alignment, we learned to be three-dimensional movers, almost like amoebas," she says.
Many dancers forgo the international option because navigating the ins and outs of the application process seems intimidating. And it can be complicated—but it's worth the effort. Here's a breakdown of the process.
Why are dancers getting psyched about New Orleans-based Heather Hansen?
Heather Hansen in Emptied Gestures (Photo by Bryan Tarnowski)
Well, you can probably tell by her perfect butterfly pose (and her charcoal-covered body) that she's no ordinary visual artist. In Emptied Gestures, Hansen experiments with something she calls kinetic drawing—basically, movement captured on canvas, with the entire body serving as the paint brush. Just like a dancer, she uses her body as an instrument.
Hansen opened her creative process to an audience at Ochi Gallery in Idaho, giving them the opportunity to witness the actual choreographed "gestures" that she "empties" onto the canvas.
Hansen performed Emptied Gestures for an audience at Ochi Gallery in Idaho (photo by Spencer Hansen)
So is Heather Hansen a dancer? A painter? A performance artist? All three? Does it matter? Check out this condensed video of Emptied Gestures, and then decide for yourself!