Scarlet Cicero is a Dancer from Miami, Florida who’s traveled the world from a young age. She is currently on PAA’s Dance Administration Internship in Florence, Italy.
“That which cannot be spoken can be sung; that which cannot be sung can be danced.” — French proverb
This is a quote that has stuck with me since my love affair with the stage began, however, it has taken on a new meaning as of late. Since I arrived in Italy, my personal language priorities seemed to focus on food to successfully navigate those decadent menus and the use of “quanti costa” after I’ve been drawn in by one too many beautiful vintage handbags and the intoxicating smell of leather shops. With passable communication and mediocre translation skills under my belt, I embarked on dance training here in Italy.
Not knowing the language around you is like losing one of your senses. We really never realize how much we rely on our subconscious to know what is going on around us. Going into dance classes here, I was told “è la guerra – it is war”. This comment refers to the fact that no teacher was going to stop and explain anything in English. The task seemed daunting, but I was prepared.
I embraced my anxious jitters and dove into class — head first. It was just like being back in a studio in the States, I picked up the center work quickly, swore under my breath whenever I lost my footing, and did the best I could to interpret the jubilant corrections (not always a simple task in english either). I came in with preconceived anxiety about not be able to understand and fear of being completely lost, but it really was no different from stepping into an unfamiliar class in the USA. Movement is movement. It is beautiful and used differently all over the world. Dance, passion, expression, art; none of it needs translation, in the words of Martha Graham, “Dance is the hidden language of the Soul.”
I think as performers and artists, this is a struggle we often internally face, no matter the language. Living here has lead me to realize that art does not need to be fully accepted or understood, but rather aim to evoke emotion, conversation, and interpretation. They say living abroad will bring new realizations to all aspects of your life, and it is beyond true. I am able to use my language impairment as a positive study for body initiation,movement details, and visual leads. In addition, I can develop my own meaning for each composition – a skill that is often under developed in all of us.
As my language and dance skills strengthen in unison, my recent artistic realizations will also thrive. I encourage anyone reading this to take the plunge, jump out of your comfort zone, escape your norms, and see what personal discoveries you find.