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Course Descriptions

Core Courses

Movement and Body Work

TART i35: 3 credit hours

Movement and Body Work

Instructor: Nhandan Chirco

Designed as an introduction to the methods and aims of Physical Theatre, this course provides movement and acting options that reflect the inter-disciplinary thrust of the program. It is divided in Body Work – with focus on physical training – and Creative Work – that aims to provide tools and principles for developing individual and collective performances in the field of physical theatre.

Currently Extended Performance Topics combines: Movement and Creative Work (devising and improvisation); the sessions of Physical Preparation in the early morning three times a week (Yoga, EBAS, running); the course includes master classes and the intensive workshops by guests teachers: EKG dance company, Yo-El Cassel and Elaine Evaans by Boston University, GAGA dance intensive.


Movement and Creative work

The Movement course focuses on development of the performer’s movement and body-awareness, preparing students for physically demanding stage performance. The physical training – specifically designed by Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards for movement based theatre practitioners – helps to form both a more spontaneous and a more articulated body and approaches the core of acting technique.

In the spirit of forming independent artists, who are at once performers and authors, the Creative Work aims to provide students with methodologies for improvising and structuring performance materials in a personal way. Different processes are proposed as “triggers” for creative impulse and students are accompanied by mentoring in the creation of devised fragments, the working process being oriented toward the discovery of a specific and personal artistic language in the field of performance creation. Textual materials are used as an offspring for devising solo and group performances. Students are invited to experiment with principles of collective improvisation.


Lectures & Performances

This module integrates lectures and workshops by guest artists, scholars and ADA faculty addressing contemporary performance trends, the relationship between art and society, theory and practice and specific artistic approaches. Lectures involve students and faculty of all ADA programs (MFA, Undergraduate), which becomes an occasion for the entire ADA community to gather and share an academic experience.The seminar has featured lectures by PhD: Scott McGehee, Leonidas Martin, Branko Popovic, Marco Baravalle, Tomi Janezic, Sabine Fichter, Kevin Crawford, Janez Jansa, Nikolai Jeffs, Fabio Mangolini.

During the Ljubljana Study Tour ADA students and faculty will attend a selected performances in the field of contemporary theatre, dance and experimental music, followed by a talkback with the artists whom students will have the opportunity to pose questions and discuss the work they have just seen.

In Spring Semester 2020: the contemporary dance performance Vertigo Birds by EKG

Commedia dell'Arte: Acting I

TART i15: 3 credit hours

Acting and Dramaturgy

Instructor: Giangiacomo Colli

From the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century the itinerant players of the Commedia dell’Arte developed a style of acting and performance that was to have a tremendous impact on the development of the European theatre. In the twentieth century this style was rediscovered and once again influenced such movements as the expressionist theatre, theatre of the absurd, and the futurists’ experiments, as well as individual artists such as Meyerhold, Gordon Craig, Samuel Beckett, Lecoq, Ariane Mnouchkine and many others.

A study of the techniques rooted in Commedia dell’Arte provides modern actors with a vastly expanded artistic repertoire from which to develop a personal style. Through work on gesture, voice, and movement, this acting class will explore the features of Arlecchino, Brighella, Pantalone, Capitano, Colombina and other masked and unmasked Commedia dell’Arte stock characters, with the intention of developing the student’s own personal version of the character.

The class format will be based on intensive studio work. Students will practice the use of half-face masks, will learn traditional lazzi (stunts, gags and pranks), and will work on improvisational techniques. Scene study in the form of short scenes or more complex canovacci (scenarios) that the students will learn to write, will be a regular component, as well as historical lectures and discussion. The course will culminate in a working demonstration.

As part of the Commedia dell’Arte course, students will participate in a week-long Leather Mask-Making workshop with Andrea Cavarra, as well as Voice in the Mask coachings with Dory Sibley.

Leather Mask-Making

Instructor: Andrea Cavara

In addition to the intensive commedia dell’arte studio component, this course will include a mask-making workshop. Students will sculpt a clay version of one of the stock Commedia masks, making a mould from this that serves as a “negative” for the fabrication of a mask in leather. The student then completes the mask through applying layers of finishing coating and finally paints and highlights its dramatic potential. The students may have the opportunity to use their masks during their commedia acting intensive.

Voice in the Mask

Instructor: Dory Rebekah Sibley

In this workshop students will discover unlikely characters in a surprising way, through the resonance of the mask.  Using vocal resonance within mask work can unlock potential characters and help artists make strong choices. Students will use half and full masks to explore sound and breath. This technique builds unique, informed characters with layered voices supported through a resonant mask and an open body. The creative process works with elements built within the Voice and Ensemble Performance course to align the vocal and physical actor.

Voice and Ensemble Performance

TART i20: 3 credit hours

Instructor: Dory Rebekah Sibley

The Voice and Ensemble Performance course will focus on bridging the voice, movement and masked voice using Fitzmaurice Voicework® as well as techniques from various other fields including Roy Hart Experimental Voice and the Vocal Body. These techniques allow the performer to maintain the integrity of vocal production while speaking and singing in extreme or unconventional situations: as a masked actor or acrobat for example. Weight sharing, kinesthetic response, body mapping and emotional engagement will be utilized in order to free the whole voice. Students will be guided through practical exercises and warm-ups tailored specifically for the physical actor. These exercises are employed to find unlikely characters and unleash a three-dimensional sound to uphold the rigorous demands of masked physicality. Students will develop greater range, flexibility, sustaining power and emotional presence through concentrating on ‘sound for storytelling’ and systematically challenging their boundaries in terms of pitch and quality.

Overall, this course investigates text and song in order to free the imagination and create unique, informed choices in the vocal body. The work centers around ensemble building and performance and will end in a final showing of the creative materials.

Philosophy of Art and Performance (The Western Perspective)

PHIL i20: 3 credit hours

Instructor: Scott McGehee


The Philosophy of Art and Performance (The Western Perspective)


Credit Hours: 3

Prerequisite: none

Language: English



The many paradoxes of the modern world, perhaps first clearly articulated by Rousseau, continue to provide a backdrop of all of our social activity: greater personal freedoms encased in a world of greater social regimentation, increased diversity of choice amidst an inexorable drive towards homogenization, increasing production of wealth along with the dramatic growth of poverty, vastly expanded communications providing the tools to increased isolation and so on. These paradoxes often go unnoticed as they appear a natural part of life, but these phenomena had and have a historical development that in turn profoundly affected individual perception. Through an exploration of: the development of mass production, the fragmentation and specialization of life and work, the development of the information age, the commodification of culture, the compression of time and space, the disassociation of the body and the aesthetic shifts that have accompanied these developments, this class will philosophically analyze the significance of each. We will think about art – about its nature and its important place in human life. To facilitate this, the course brings together the writings of philosophers and the work of artists from a variety of domains. The goal here is not to intellectualize art but to understand the intelligence that goes into it, to enrich our experiences of art, and to foster our own creative sensibilities. We will consider famous writings on art by thinkers such as: Plato, Aristotle, Schiller, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Breton, Artaud, Eisenstein, Debord, Baudrillard, Foucault, Butler, Fanon, Freud and others in relation to important works of literature, theatre, painting, music, architecture, and film.

A philosophical analysis will help the artist situate both the work of art and the actual work of the artist in a broader framework where the role of social mediation between the  artist, the work of art and the reception of the work is revealed.  Likewise, the potential role of the artist and work of art as social mediation can emerge as a stimulus to the creative impulse itself.

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, when possible, will include a critical examination of the student’s own experience in a particular workshop experience and may include: Butoh Dance, Clown Training for Actors or other special workshops or master classes in which students participate.

Italian Language: Beginner or Intermediate

ITAL i10, i11: 3 credit hours

Instructor: Accademia Britannica

In the first semester course introduce students to basic grammatical structures of the Italian language. Students 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 not stereotypical, more complex and up-to-date picture of modern Italy and Italians.

The readings in the text will provide a point of departure for conversation, which will be an essential component of both classes. These courses will cover aspects of Italian culture and society, as well.

Contemporary Performance Seminar

1 Credit

Instructor: Nhandan Chirco and Guest Lecturers

This short theoretical module aims to introduce artistic currents and relevant artists and companies active in the field of physical theatre, contemporary dance and performance art in the 1900s and to contextualize their work within the broader field of contemporary art. The module wishes

to challenge the idea of what theater and performance might consist in, providing a broader view about work of inspiring artists in the previous century and in recent time and presenting the diversity of approaches and researches that flourished in this art field.

The opening conversation is based on the 20th Century Performance Reader (by Michael Huxley and Noel Witts) and addresses major shifts in conceiving what an art work might be, key passages and phenomena deeply affecting the art field in last century – as the ready made by Duchamp, the contamination among visual art field and live performance practice, the happenings and the performance art created by visual artists, the conceptual art, the questioning of the borders among art and life, improvisation and experimental approach in contemporary dance and in music – and it will bringing into discussion artists and theoreticians that played a major role in this shifts.

This introduction is followed by presentations about single theater artists and authors, developed by students in working teams, utilizing the 20th Century Performance Reader as a main tool.

The students will be introduced to the new library available in the Accademia for further studies and personal researches with which

to integrate their knowledge about contemporary theatre and performance and be further stimulated to think about theater in the prospective of an artists-author. The sessions are completed by four performance screenings to give a direct insight about aesthetics and approaches in contemporary theatre and dance, followed by brief discussion.

Lectures and Performances

Lectures & Performances

This module integrates lectures and workshops by guest artists, scholars and ADA faculty addressing contemporary performance trends, the relationship between art and society, theory and practice and specific artistic approaches. Lectures involve students and faculty of all ADA programs (MFA, Undergraduate), which becomes an occasion for the entire ADA community to gather and share an academic experience.The seminar has featured lectures by PhD: Scott McGehee, Leonidas Martin, Branko Popovic, Marco Baravalle, Tomi Janezic, Sabine Fichter, Kevin Crawford, Janez Jansa, Nikolai Jeffs, Fabio Mangolini.

During the Ljubljana Study Tour ADA students and faculty will attend a selected performances in the field of contemporary theatre, dance and experimental music, followed by a talkback with the artists whom students will have the opportunity to pose questions and discuss the work they have just seen.

In Spring Semester 2020: the contemporary dance performance Vertigo Birds by EKG

Devising Course

1 Credit

Instructor: Sam McGehee

26 hours + Mentoring (Spring and Fall Semester)


What does a process of composition look like? How do we assemble fragments to create a poetic whole? What are the questions we should ask ourselves along the path from exploration to presentation?

In this lab we will explore how different processes in theatre interact and come together to create significance. Our time will oscillate between creation and analysis, in order to gain a compositional awareness usually reserved for the ‘directors seat’.

The work will encompass elements of ritual and play. A portion of our time will be dedicated to watching each other in order to ask our-selves what is communicating and where is interpretation taking place? The outcome of our encounter will be a heightened awareness of how space and time are perceived and what it means to ‘let go’ of our ideas, for the sake of uncovering a meaning behind our creations.

Guest Workshops and Intensives

Movement Composition

Fall and Spring Semesters

Instructor: Iztok Kovač and EnKnapGroup

The intention of the workshop is to introduce some of En-Knap’s movement specifics and for every participant to establish her/his own relation to it. We will be dealing with terms such as: bubble (attention of the focus), home (safe, peaceful sensation of the gravity center of the body), separation (upper/lower part of the body in tourning/jumping/falling), staccato (sharp reaction on start and stop – suspensions)… We will work individually, with partner and face some group exercises as well. We will also meet some compositional principles and devices based on the use of chance that we developed over 20 years ago. “Since my movement origin lies basically in sports, my work is a lot about the communication: “How do the people interact?” I wish to create an atmosphere where every individual depends on collective, while only her/his technical and creative input results as a group quality. Within the group everyone has enough space and my support to define and develop its own presence and spontaneity/freedom and share it with others after the rules and collective alertness is mastered.”

Movement Master Class

Spring Semesters

Instructors: Yo-El Cassel and Elaine Vaan Hogue

Gaga Intensive

Spring Semesters

Instructor: Shahar Binyamini

Gaga is the movement language developed by Ohad Naharin, the choreographer and Artistic Director of Batsheva Dance Company. Gaga challenges the dancer on multiple levels. We are working with the power of imagination and a constant flow of energy. Gaga enhances the intuitive, spontaneous movement and connects the conscious with the unconscious. Gaga provides a movement experience of freedom and pure joy.


Fall & Spring Semesters

Instructor: Ginevra Scaglia

A journey through the basic fundamentals of Jacques Lecoq pedagogy. Classes will be divided in two parts: Movement Analysis and Neutral Mask; Using some of Jacques Lecoq 20 movements ,Neutral Mask and short impro, students will explore how to find an economy of movement, how to move responding to space, how to articulate and structure an action, finding a state of calm, silence and balance, how to be on stage with pleasure and aliveness.

Laban Movement Studies/Improvisation/Movement Composition

Spring Semesters

Instructor: Sabine Fichter

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 will enable students to generate genuine movement material. Compositional exercises will enhance their ability to reflect on choreographic processes and they will investigate the use of compositional strategies. The course provides students with an opportunity to develop more refined insight into the relationship between Laban themes such as Space, Effort, Shape and Body and choreographic content.

Experimental Lab - voice & movement & space & improvisation

Fall and Spring Semesters

Instructor: Tomaz Grom, Sam McGehee, Saso Vollmaier, Nhandan Chirco

The Experimental Lab is an intensive week dedicated to improvisatory research on the relationship between sound, movement and space.

The usual structure of classes -in which a teacher relates to the group of students – will be modified. During the Lab, the teachers – contemporary musicians and performers – will be present both as teachers and as performing artists, aiming to turn classes into performative sessions.

The lab will focus on a particular condition where the work with sound – rather than soundtrack as the background for movement – is intended as a principle that might be transferred and embedded into movement work, into dynamics in space and as principle for improvisation. During the Lab we will look for detail, an augmented sensitivity towards rhythmic (tempo), dynamic (energy), harmonic (group – space) elements in relationship to silence. The work will address elements that are common to sound and movement, ways in which they can permeate each-other (voice/body work, relationship to objects, materiality of spaces, actions & rhythm and vibrations) and all various possibilities that will allow a particular interdisciplinary communication.The research on language types in both sound and movement wish to implement a perception of sound as movement and movement as sound.

Voice Intensive - Experiencing Speech (only Spring Semester)

Voice Intensive Experiencing Speech

Instructor: Andrea Caban

12 hours – (only Spring Semester)


Experiencing Speech is the introductory Knight-Thompson workshop, and is designed for actors, voice/speech teachers, clinicians, and coaches. This workshop delves deeply into the work laid out in Dudley Knight’s Speaking with Skill. The focus will be on the physical actions that produce all the sounds of the world’s languages. Participants then use these skills to explore formal and informal speech actions while maintaining complete intelligibility. These skills prepare the actor to move easily into any accent or vocal characterization that might be required onstage or in film, television or new media.


Fall and Spring Semesters

Instructor: Gianni Bruschi

This is an interdisciplinary course of the Italian traditions of dance, voice and theatre. The course seeks to offer an opportunity to discover an expressive form that comes from the Pizzica (the traditional Tarantella dance of Salento) and the Tarantismo in Italy in relation to the ancient mysteries of Dionysus in the Roman and Greek world. Through the understanding and use of different dance languages, over time the Tarantella adapted itself to the stage. The body is our musical instrument, the sounding board through which our voice manifests itself. Tuning it up in harmony with the internal imagination and emotions requires concentration, breathing and increased somatic awareness that will open the performer’s body.

Somatic Work

Spring Semesters

Instructor: Sabine Fichter 

This course is based on the Somatic body work of Irmgard Bartenieff (1900 – 1981), also known as Bartenieff Fundamentals. In the classes we will gain greater awareness of the ways we use our physical structure, find connections of body parts by using the idea of kinetic chains and will learn how to move with more ease and efficincy. The focus of the practice will be on the illiopsoas function and integration aiming towards increased flexibility and mobility of the physical core. We will practise calmly with an emphasis on inner physical awareness, some sessions will also include hands-on partner work or massages.

The Collaborative Project

Instructors: Core Faculty of Theatre Program and Dance Program

Fall semester

Working collaboratively with the dance students, everyone in the theatre track will have specific opportunities throughout the semester to undertake the final working demonstration as an ensemble. This will be a collective use of creative materials from all courses including the proposals from your dance colleagues. The commun creative process will develop since the beginning of the program, within the Devising Course led by Sam McGehee and by interventions of each of the core faculty of both from Theater and Dance Programs.

Ultimately the materials created by students ensemble will converge in a collective performance This is a unique chance for students to learn from each other, make connections beyond their primary discipline and reimagine what theatre and dance can be, revealing a new understanding of art, dance, theatre and one’s self.



Fall 2020: August 31 – December 4

Fall Break: October 10 – 18

16 total credit hours

APPLY NOW for this program

Application deadline: April 1


Spring 2021: January 21 – April 24

Spring Break: February 27 – March 7

16 Total Credits

APPLY NOW for this program

Application deadline: October1


Spring 2020: January 20 – April 24

Spring Break: February 29 – March 8

16 Total credit hours


PLEASE NOTE: The dates above include arrival and departure. The Accademia dell’Arte does not accommodate students before or after these dates.The Accademia dell’Arte undergraduate program is fully accredited by Hendrix College.


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