Elon students dancing their way through Florence this summer

Follow along with these students on social media as they practice and perform site-specific dance pieces in the capital of Italy's Tuscan region. 


This is part of a series of articles highlighting Elon students as they gain experience participating in study abroad, internships and undergraduate research during the summer. Stay tuned for more posts featuring the experiences of Elon students in their own words. 



Elon dance students are performing three new site-specific pieces in the heart of Italy's Tuscan region through the Dancing with Florence course led by Professor Lauren Kearns and offered in partnership with Accademia Europea di Firenze. 

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful city of Florence, these pieces created by Kearns are offering students a unique experience by immersing them in the city while providing the opportunity to participate in professional performances in Europe, Kearns said. The first performance was "Avant Garden I" performed June 19 at the iconic Giardino delle rose garden and the second is Avant Garden II to be performed next Wednesday, June 26, at Orti Dipinti, a community-based garden focused on sustainability and recycling. The third will be Avant Garden III, to be performed at the Piccolo Teatro in the ruins of Pompeii on Friday, June 28. 

The course is part of a two-year senior faculty research fellowship Kearns received to create site-specific dance pieces and also provides the students the ability to create their own site-specific dance solos based on their research of iconic sites in Florence. 

Among those performing are Jenna Kulacz '21 and Hannah West '21, both of whom will be offering guest posts on the university's Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts during the coming days. 

Kulacz said one of the courses she is taking is in contemporary dance and is taught by an Italian choreographer and dancer whose first language is not English. "Because of this, it provides an even bigger challenge for me to be able to pick up on the details of his choreography in class," Kulacz said. "I feel as though learning from him will prepare me to be a quick and attentive learner for when I start auditioning as an aspiring professional dancer post-college."

About the performance in the Giardino delle rose, Kulacz said that "not only is the view amazing but having the opportunity to dance such an exquisite piece of choreography with my best friends in such a magnificent place is incredible."

West echoed that sentiment. "Being able to dance with my best friends from my BFA program at Elon in a new atmosphere has been so inspiring," she said. "I also have made so many new friends, from other places in the US, Mexico, and even fellow Elon students I didn't know prior to this trip. Everyone in this program is so talented and my favorite memories are being inspired by, and feeling so supported by everyone in the program."

Along with looking for posts by Kulacz and West on the university's social media accounts, you can keep up with the program on the Accademia Europea di Firenze Instagram account and the Kearns Dance Project Facebook account. Look for the #elonglobal hashtag to view a wide range of Elon students, faculty and staff participating in global engagement programs and experiences.