Hello! My name is Marina Stagnaro and I am an intern with Performing Arts Abroad at a dance company in Florence, Italy from Argentina. I am seeing the spring bloom in Florence. I’ve been in Florence a whole month, still…
Take small classes in dance at an accredited university in Florence, with the bustle and beauty of the city as your backyard.
Students on PAA’s Dance Semester in Florence have the unique opportunity to take dance classes at a university, while also pursuing an internship for credit at an arts organization in Florence. In addition, we recommend enrolling in an Italian course, and consider expanding your horizons by exploring another artistic field such as photography, culinary arts, music, fashion design, art history, or more! Also included in the program is an intensive 3-credit one-week “Cultural Introduction to Italy” course, where you will travel around Italy with professors and fellow students immediately before the semester begins. You will arrive in Florence with 3 credits of the semester already under your belt!
Performing Arts Abroad intern abroad participants are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to take on a self-driven capstone project to complement their internship experience. This is a unique opportunity for you to complete a project of your own design and choosing with the guidance of a PAA advisor. In the end, you’ll feel a deeper connection to your international internship experience, and you’ll produce something that demonstrates your professional aptitude, what you have learned, and what you have contributed to your host organization.
“Most people do not get the opportunity to experience another culture while doing what they love, which in my case is dance. The personal growth I experienced through this internship was life changing. I would definitely do this again and recommend anyone that has the means to go!”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
Florence Dance Center
The Florence Dance Center was founded in 1987 with the objective to create and bring to life the full experience of a multi-purpose center for the art of dance open to a wide audience, while also offering a socio-cultural reference point. The center offers dance courses in ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, and flamenco.
Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
The Teatro Comunale di Firenze or Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino was built in the 1800s as an open-air ampitheatre seating 6,000 people! After fires, damage from WWII bombing, and other closures, it finally re-opened permanently in 1961 as a 2,000 seat auditorium. The theatre now hosts Italy’s most important music festival, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
The Alfieri Space is a creative theatre venue in Florence that houses cultural events such as plays, film, music, and visual arts. The Alfieri Space theatre houses performances ranging from works of local playwrights to Shakespeare. Film opportunities in the Alfieri Space include festivals year-round. Past festivals have been the annual International Documentary Film Festival and the Sea Film Festival of 2017.
NoF Club Firenze
The NoF Club in the Oltrarno area of Florence opened in 2011 is a popular local band venue. Bands perform from an AstroTurf stage in the shop-front window overlooking Borgo San Frediano. There is a second bar beneath wrought iron fixtures and leafy plant life. The venue hosts live music six nights a week, music starting from 10pm with free entry.
Odeon Firenze Cinehall
Cinema Odeon Firenze is an elaborately designed theatre in Florence inaugurated in 1922. Here you can find English film screenings along with Italian films. The cinema hosts events as well as film screenings, including the British 100 Film Festival.
PAA Home Base
Our programs in Florence are based at the Florence University of the Arts (FUA), where you will take classes and attend many student activities. You will have access to all FUA facilities as a Performing Arts Abroad student, including the gym and culinary arts school dining hall. All buildings are in the very heart of Florence with the main student life center overlooking the Arno River.
About the Location
Experience the breathtaking magnificence of the cafes, art museums, and architectural wonders of this Renaissance city. History is alive everywhere you look, from Giotto’s Campanile and The Duomo to the Baptistery of St. John. Attend one of the abundant dance shows throughout the city and enjoy the legacy of Italian dance and movement styles, evidenced in the many professional dance companies and dance training schools.
Surrounded by style and elegance in everything from food to fashion, you’ll feel the artistic heart of Florence the minute you step off the plane. The region’s mild climate makes strolling the cultured streets a popular activity, and the city is enclosed by the rolling hills of Tuscany. World-famous vineyards and olive oil producers are minutes away, while the cities of Venice, Milan, and Rome are just hours away by train.
Experience independence and build friendships with fellow study abroad students while living in a student apartment. You will live in a double room in one of many apartments located in charming neighborhoods throughout the city of Florence.
All apartments offer a full kitchen, and utilities are included in the price of housing. You will be located within a 15-minute walk from where you will take music courses as well as the bustling downtown.
Your roommates will be fellow study abroad students, both with Performing Arts Abroad and our partner organizations in Florence. You will be part of a cohort of a dozen or more students from around the world who will attend performances and other cultural activities together.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
You wake to the sound of the cobbled streets below, bustling with eager travelers and Italian merchants peddling their wares. Light streams through the shutters of your apartment’s tall ornate windows as you sit down to breakfast with your flatmates. On your way out the door, you hop across the street to your neighborhood cafe where they already have your coffee waiting, just the way you like it. You greet the staff with a friendly “buongiorno” and make small talk with the barista as you enjoy a pastry with your coffee, standing at the counter. It’s amazing how much your Italian has improved with these small daily interactions, even in the few short weeks since you arrived in Florence. You walk down the street to the university dance studio where you collaborate with the professor and the other three students in the class to develop choreography for the end-of-semester showcase. Following your second dance class that afternoon, you will walk a few blocks to the studio where you are interning to assist with classes in ballet, hip hop, modern, and more. You pinch yourself. A few months ago, you never would have believed you would be doing all this, AND earning academic credit toward your dance degree.
You will book your flight to arrive at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (FCO), where PAA representatives will greet you and begin your orientation to Italy with a 3 credit week-long travel course called “Cultural Introduction to Italy.” During this intensive class, you will travel to several key sites throughout the country, exploring their historical and cultural significance. Upon arrival in Florence, you will have already completed 3 credits, which will free up your schedule for more artistic pursuits, or for spending more time relaxing and exploring the beautiful Tuscany region surrounding the city.
A Typical Day
In addition to attending classes, you will join fellow PAA students on excursions and cultural activities led by our Site Director. You will also attend several performances we have booked for you, and will have the opportunity to join clubs and student organizations at the university. You will have plenty of free time to explore Florence and the surrounding areas, as well as nearby countries such as France, Spain, and even the United Kingdom on longer weekends.
Your dance classes are taught at the Florence University of the Arts, which is accredited through the University of South Florida, meaning you will be issued an official academic transcript with credit being awarded through USF.
Courses are taught in small groups of 5-10. You will also have the option of completing an internship during your time at the university, in which you will assist with a local professional dance company or other arts organization, depending on your dance background and Italian language level.
Deb is the primary PAA contact for all participants once they have applied to their programs. She processes applications, conducts applicant interviews, communicates with overseas partners regarding acceptance decisions, orchestrates all pre-departure preparation, supports participants while they are on their programs, and oversees re-entry counseling as she ushers them into joining the ranks of our fabulous PAA alumni.
Deb grew up at a small, independent school surrounded by the languages, music and cultures of students from around the globe. Her passion for exploration has brought her to many out-of-the-way places such as studying variable stars at a Nantucket observatory, flying a small plane over the skies of New England and mapping ancient lava flows in southern Arizona. Without a doubt, though, her favorite place is anywhere in a theater. As an award-winning stage manager, Deb has collaborated on productions throughout the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts and always enjoys challenging and innovative theater. She happily admits to an obsession with all things organizational and considers a trip to the office supply store a totally valid form of therapy.
She has studied and traveled extensively in England and Scotland, has journeyed through parts of France and currently shares her space with cats, humans, and far too many books.
Erin Hardee Patterson
Erin advises everyone who expresses interest in PAA’s programs. She responds to e-mails, answers questions submitted in online forms, makes and receives phone calls about our programs, and communicates with those who begin an application.
Erin Hardee Patterson earned a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music, and her Master’s in Music Therapy from Florida State University. Her professional adventures as a cellist, singer songwriter, board-certified music therapist, event coordinator, admissions professional, project manager, and newly trained birth doula have helped her to live all over the United States – from her home state of Virginia, to New Orleans and Maine, to Tallahassee and Vegas (to name just a few!). In addition to her US travels, a ferocious case of wanderlust inspired Erin to travel to The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, France, and Belgium. (The wanderlust is no joke – this bio was written on a plane!). She enjoys practicing her conversational French and American Sign Language, and has aspirations of one day carrying on conversations in Spanish (hopefully on a beautiful balcony in Spain). Erin is a new transplant to the Northampton, MA area with her firefighter/paramedic spouse Max, their dog Eleanor, and 3 very fat house cats. She is passionate about tiny humans, music, yoga, beautiful bodies of water, succulents, two steppin’, empowering families to have joyous, satisfying births, and being a smiley muppet.
Florence Program Director, FUA
Cristiana coordinates all programming in collaboration with the Florence University of the Arts, including our semester and summer study programs and internships in Florence. She finalizes course schedules, coordinates university orientation events, provides academic advising, facilitates internship placements, and acts as a liaison between PAA and FUA’s academic departments of music and dance.
Cristiana graduated from the Università degli Studi di Firenze in 2008 with a Masters degree in Foreign Languages: English and Japanese. Her passion for international education and study abroad started at a young age with several summer study abroad experiences in the UK. At the end of her first year of university she decided to spend the three-month break in Boston, MA where she was able to enhance her understanding of the US culture and further improve her English. The following year she spent a semester in Paris, France, taking courses at the “Denis Diderot-Paris VII” through the ERASMUS project. Cristiana began working at Florence University of the Arts in 2007. Having gained experience in various departments of the university, since 2010 Cristiana is the Dean of Student Affairs. At the same time she also coordinates the various internship and experiential learning project opportunities at the school. A local Florentine, Cristiana has a wealth of knowledge to share with students about her hometown. She loves nothing more than spending her free time in the traditional artisan quarters of the city and encourages students to explore the lesser known areas of Florence.
Florence Site Director
Alessandro supports all participants on our Florence programs, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in Italy. He coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Born in Maryland, USA, raised in Rome with Italian and Guatemalan parents and having traveled extensively through Europe, Central America, North America and China, Alessandro considers himself a citizen of the world. During his travels, he acquired a passion for the environment, its preservation, cultures and languages. This passion led him to obtain a BA in Geography with a minor in Chinese Studies from Humboldt State University in California. In 2010 he spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Shanghai in China and this outstanding experience turned him into an even stronger proponent of study abroad programs, no matter where. After graduation, his passion for the outdoors and the environment led him to successfully complete the National Park Service Ranger Academy as well as the National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness First Responder certification. Wanting to get back into the international education world, he moved to Florence at the beginning of 2013 and has coordinated several study abroad programs in Florence and throughout Italy. Some of his hobbies are learning new languages (he speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French along with some German and Mandarin), cooking, traveling, sharing what he knows of this wonderful part of the world, and learning from other cultures.
“I spent the last 6 weeks completing a dance administration internship in Florence, Italy. Florence was such an incredible city and had so much more to offer than I ever expected. I made some incredible friends and visited so many amazing places – I have no idea how the time managed to pass so quickly.”
“PAA provided me with an opportunity to explore different aspects of the arts while also inspiring me to revise my career goals. Thanks to PAA, I have experienced an even deeper level of passion for Theatre and have started to map out my future in more fantastic ways than I ever imagined possible.”
“I really enjoyed the pre-departure guide PAA sent. It was very accurate and helped me with my preparations and it was also useful while I was in Italy. I also loved the people I worked with at the orchestra. I always had fun when I worked, and I learned a lot about the musicians and the maestro.”
From the blog
Christina Ebersohl is a Music Performance major (viola) at Portland State University. She just completed Performing Arts Abroad’s Summer Study Abroad semester in Italy. I’m not exactly a discrete study abroad student in Italy. I mean, I don’t exactly have…
My name is Marina Stagnaro, from Argentina, and I am now a PAA Alumni. I completed 12-week Dance Administration program in Florence Italy, 2 months ago. When I traveled, I knew I wanted to learn as much as possible about…
|Session||Application Deadline||Start Date||End Date|
|Fall Semester 2018||May 15 2018||Aug 26 2018||Dec 13 2018|
Important Fall 2018 Dates
|Event||Start Date||End Date|
|Students arrive in Rome||August 26, 2018|
|Orientation||August 27, 2018|
|"Cultural Introduction to Italy" travel course||August 27, 2018||September 2, 2018|
|Students arrive in Florence||September 2, 2018|
|Classes start||September 3, 2018|
|Midterm Exam Week||October 15, 2018||October 19, 2018|
|Fall Break||October 20, 2018||October 28, 2018|
|Classes resume||October 29, 2018|
|Final Exam Week||December 10, 2018||December 12, 2018|
|Classes end||December 12, 2018|
|Housing check-out (by 10 a.m.)||December 13, 2018|
|Session||Application Deadline||Start Date||End Date|
|Spring Semester 2019||Oct 01 2018||Jan 20 2019||May 09 2019|
Important Spring 2019 Dates
|Event||Start Date||End Date|
|Arrive in Rome||January 20, 2019|
|Orientation||January 21, 2019|
|"Cultural Introduction to Italy" traveling course||January 21, 2019||January 27, 2019|
|Arrive in Florence||January 27, 2019|
|Classes start in Florence||January 28, 2019|
|Midterm exam week||March 15, 2019|
|Spring Break||March 16, 2019||March 24, 2019|
|Final exam week||May 6, 2019||May 8, 2019|
|Housing check-out (by 10 a.m.)|
|Fall or Spring Semester||$17,995|
Apply today — How the process works
Submit a simple online application
Schedule a live video interview with a Program Coordinator
Upload program specific materials to an online portal
Receive your aceptance decision and begin your journey!
How the Process Works
To apply, click the “Apply Now” button below. You will fill out a simple initial application online and pay a deposit that is refundable if you are not accepted, and will be applied toward your overall program cost if you are accepted (not an additional fee). At this point, we will ask you to send us the following materials:
- Your resume/CV
- A copy of your academic transcript
- Official university online application
- Audition video (optional)
- A cover letter (if you choose an internship as one of your classes)
- Your availability in U.S. Eastern Time for a 30 minute video interview with your Program Coordinator. If you choose an internship as one of your classes, you will use this interview to schedule a second Skype interview with our Internship Placement Coordinator in Florence. You will receive an acceptance decision within two weeks of finishing the application process.
- The Skype interviews are our first face-to-face impression of you. Show up on time, dress well, and be personable.
- Be very clear in your interviews about your intentions for your semester, and the classes you hope to take. If you are pursuing an internship as one of your classes, be clear about your goals. We work hard to customize placements to your needs, and to do this well, we need a clear picture of who you are and what you want out of your experience (and don’t want!).
- If you are pursuing an internship, use the cover letter template we will send you to help organize your thoughts for the cover letter. Remember that we will be sending these to companies for consideration to take you on as an intern, so put your best foot forward!
Participants must be 18 or over the day they begin the program.
GPA / Student Status
You do not have to be a student to apply for this program, but keep in mind that you will be paying tuition and receiving an academic transcript. For currently enrolled students, we recommend a GPA of 2.5 or higher, although exceptions can be made in special circumstances. A student visa is required, and your Program Coordinator will walk you through this process upon acceptance.
The language of instruction is English. Although it is not required, a basic understanding of Italian before beginning your program will improve your semester, lead to a richer cultural experience, and open up more possibilities if you choose to do an internship.
This program is open to dancers at a wide range of levels, but applicants should have at least one year of dance experience before applying.
We are looking for open-minded, flexible applicants who can clearly convey their passion for dance and an acute interest in international travel and exposure to new ideas.