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2016 Summer Photo Contest!

We hold a participant photo contest every summer, and 2016 was the most successful to date!  We had over 700 entries from 37 participants, so it was no easy task deciding on a single overall winner.  First we narrowed the field down to 45 “finalists” and then PAA staff filled out ballots ranking their favorite in each category as well as a couple of their choices for overall winner.  We defined “overall winner” as the picture that “best captures the essence of Performing Arts Abroad.”  The ballots were collected, points tallied, and now here we are!

We’re going to present the most voted for photos in each category, one category per week.  But rather than make you wait 4 weeks, let’s kick things off right now with the pictures that “best capture the essence of PAA” according to us!

Overall Winner:


Congratulations Shanice Stanislaus!  Shanice is a dancer from Singapore and she did the Dance Internship in Spain.  Check out this great blog post she wrote for us earlier this year about participating in “Dance to Death,” an interactive, entertaining and insightful dance theatre performance.

The joy and energy bursting through this picture is infectious and we hope we’re accomplishing the same thing with out work here at Performing Arts Abroad.  That’s why it received the most votes for “capturing the essence of PAA.”   Congratulations again Shanice!  Keep on flying!

Overall Runners Up:

The following photos all received at least one vote for “overall winner.”  (These aren’t all of them, as some will be featured in specific categories in the coming weeks.)  We hope they give you a sense of what we think is the essence of Performing Arts Abroad.  Enjoy!

We absolutely love this wonderful, candid shot from Sarah Pinto!  Volunteers make a real and meaningful impact when they bring music (or dance, or theater) to eager kids who wouldn’t get the chance otherwise.  It’s hard not to fall in love!


If there’s one thing we love it’s when PAA volunteers find each other abroad and bond over their love of sharing performing arts around the world, and then having all kinds of crazy fun!  Diana wrote an awesome, insightful blog post for us while she was in the middle of her program teaching music to children in Costa Rica.  Do yourself a favor and check it out here!

Holy craaaaAAAAPPP!!  It’s fitting that Nia was the very first participant in our brand new destination: New Zealand.  Clearly she’s comfortable taking leaps into the unknown.  Just like this photo, going on a PAA program is thrilling, can maybe be a little scary, but we’ve got you, so take the leap!

“If you’ve come here to help me, you’re wasting your time. But if you’ve come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. –Australian Aboriginal, Elder Lillia Watson”  Thus begins Mona’s incredibly insightful blog post she wrote for us about her experience, joys, and struggles teaching music in Costa Rica.  Read the rest here.

The hardest part about Sophie’s pictures was deciding which ones to pick as finalists!  One of the reasons she has so many amazing pictures is because of a remarkable project she did while she was in Italy called Dancing in 100 places.  As she put it: “Before I left for my Performing Arts Abroad experience in Italy, I was dared to film myself dancing in 100 different places over the course of my travels. A challenge? Most definitely!” Read the blog series about that project here!

Yes, it’s another one from Diana McLaughlin.  We’ve already introduced her, so we’re just going to let the absolute beauty of this picture speak for itself.

Tune in next week when we’ll show some of the best entries in the category: “You at work.”

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