Frances Marinay is a dancer from the Philippines studying on PAA’s semester program in England for a full year. She is just finishing up her spring semester and will enroll again in the fall. Here is what she has to…
Spend a semester training at the best university dance program in all of the United Kingdom. Classes are offered in a variety of styles and levels by renowned dancers from all over the world, including an official partnership with the Royal Ballet. You can choose to have a full course load of dance intensive studio classes, or include courses in dance studies and theory also. As with all PAA semester programs, you can also choose courses from the university’s offerings in other disciplines. You will stay in a single room in an on-campus house and will have the chance to meet students from all over the world. Our Site Director Anna will lead regular trips and excursions including a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum for a guided tour of the Theatre and Performance Collection, a day trip by train to Bath to see the Fashion Museum, Roman Baths, and Victoria Art Gallery, and a day trip by train to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and grave, tour backstage at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) theatres, and attendance at an RSC performance.
“I had no idea that study abroad opportunities for dance majors were available. PAA made this possible for me and I’m very grateful. I highly recommend every dance student to experience dance in a new culture and add a new perspective to their dance repertoire.”
Performing Arts Points of Interest
English National Ballet
The English National Ballet is one of the four major ballet companies in Great Britain alongside The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and the Scottish Ballet. The company employs an internationally diverse group of dancers and a symphony orchestra known as the English National Ballet Philharmonic. The company has performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London as well as international tours. The English National Ballet offers classes ranging from beginner to advance as well as dance workshops.
The Rivoli Ballroom is one of the last remaining ballrooms preserved in the 1950s style architecture. The ballroom attracts an eccentric, enthusiastic crowd looking for a fun night of dancing and dressing up from “night out” clothes to David Copperfield inspired costumes. Open infrequently to the pubic, check the website and Facebook to find out their next event.
The Rivoli Ballroom has been a location for many TV shows, movies, and music videos. Musicians such as Kings of Leon, Florence and the Machine, and The White Stripes have used the ballroom for music videos and gigs.
Hailed as one of the most exciting, innovative dance spaces The Place, is a space that houses the London Contemporary Dance School, the Richard Alston Dance Company, and a 280 seat theatre. The Place offers classes, workshops, and other professional development opportunities for artists young and old. Performances are open to the public year round as well as festivals and special events. The Place is a member of the European Dancehouse Network aimed to support UK artists.
PAA Home Base
Throughout your program in London, your home base will be the University of Roehampton. You will stay in a single room and take courses in the iconic dance studios from faculty in the best university dance program in the entire country. Roehampton is located about a half hour commute from the center of London, tucked away on a beautiful campus near the tennis club where Wimbledon is played, complete with green fields, quaint ponds, and families of geese roaming the grounds.
About the Location
London is filled with some of the world’s most diverse and celebrated dance groups, and offers more performing opportunities than can be imagined. In fact, we’ve had dancers on our programs join professional dance companies following their semester through contacts made during their time studying. London’s exciting energy is contagious and will have you hooked the moment you arrive. In addition to the vibrant dance scene, you will have the chance to explore the historical, political, and cultural landmarks of the city with other students. From Big Ben to Westminster Abbey, learn what it means to call London home.
Spend the semester immersed in the life of a British student by living in student villages right on campus. You will have your own room in a six to eight bedroom suite that you share with other British and international students. Your floor will have a spacious common area as well as a full kitchen where you can save money by cooking yourself meals. Take advantage of this small group setting to build friendships and community while you study abroad. Classroom buildings, the student center, and restaurants are all nearby. Enjoy the independence of living on your own while still creating lasting relationships with other students.
You will have your own single room in the housing. PAA usually has at least a dozen students on campus each semester studying dance and theatre, who join hundreds of study abroad students from all over the world. You will spend most of your time with other students in the dance department, as you log studio time and collaborate on performance pieces.
A Day in the Life
The Participant Experience
The sweat rolls off your face as you begin the sequence again. You see your British friend in the mirror sweating right beside you. The big final showcase is next week, and things are really starting to come together. The stress of the end of the semester is accompanied by an incredible sense of accomplishment as you’ve succeeded in three studio classes including a collaboration with the Royal Ballet. Tomorrow you will join other Performing Arts Abroad students to see a performance at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, and the weekend will include an excursion to Bath and a personal trip to the Harry Potter studios to see how the movies were made and drink a butterbeer on the Hogwarts set. And to top it all off, you have an audition with a local dance company who wants you to come back and join them on a tour next upcoming summer. When you arrived, you were missing home. Now, you never want to leave.
You will book your flight to arrive at Heathrow Airport in London (LHR) before 12:00 p.m. on the arrival day. A PAA Roehampton representative will be waiting at a pre-arranged meeting point, and you will be directed to a bus that will take you to campus.
Upon arrival on campus, you will meet our site director Anna who will give you a welcome pack and help you find your room. Your first afternoon will be a chance to unpack, settle in, meet other students, and join a Roehampton welcome dinner. The following day, Roehampton will lead several on-site orientation activities so that you will be prepared for your experience in London and can begin to get to know other students. The next day you will finalize your registration and class enrollment. Anna will take you out for a Welcome Meal and an additional orientation. This orientation will include important information about the city, an overview of British culture, information about the performing arts scene in London, food, transportation, and other need-to-knows. The following day, you will join additional university orientation activities, such as a “Photo Frenzy Day”, which is an epic photo scavenger hunt that will take you into central London for a chance to win a prize!
A Typical Day
The following few days will include additional pre-class activities, and classes will begin shortly thereafter. For the rest of the program, you will be living on campus going to class and exploring the city on your own as a student in London. We will provide excursions and cultural activities throughout your semester, and several day trips included in the cost of the program.
Add to your dance skill set and gain international experience while you spend a semester focusing on your development as a performer. From ballet and modern to hip-hop and beyond, you’ll be able to pick the dance courses that are right for you at London’s best university dance program, at the University of Roehampton. Train under distinguished professors and feel the benefit of small classes where you are immersed with local Londoners, as well as other international dancers. The university is located about 30 minutes from London’s bustling downtown and is a close-knit community filled with historically picturesque buildings. Thanks to the unparalleled international student support and the friendly, lively campus, you will feel at home the minute you step off the plane.
Founder and Executive Director
Reynolds graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008 with a degree in Theater and African and African American Studies. For an honors thesis Reynolds filmed, edited, and produced a full-length documentary in Kenya with Haba na Haba, a group using performance for education and social change in the slums of Nairobi. This project earned him the Forum on Education Abroad Undergraduate Research Award. A year later, Reynolds organized a trip to bring Haba na Haba to the United States for a tour of St. Louis and Washington University. Immediately after graduation, Reynolds worked in Rwanda as a filmmaker for Millennium Congregations, an interfaith organization connecting communities of faith in the United States with development projects in Rwanda’s Bugesera District. Reynolds then served two years with Teach for America, teaching in the South Bronx and receiving a Masters Degree in Education from Hunter College. He completed a second graduate degree in African Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his Masters thesis focused on the impact of donors on the creative process of Theatre for Development (TfD) groups in Kenya.
Reynolds has traveled extensively in Africa, spending time in Ghana, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He also studied acting, voice, and movement at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Reynolds is a two-time Rhodes Scholarship finalist, the inaugural recipient of the Dred and Harriet Scott Award for the Advancement of Human Rights, and the winner of two research fellowships. He was also a Dialogue Fellow for the Xenia Institute, has twice served as the co-director for the Roosevelt Institution’s International Diplomacy Center (Washington University branch), and was president of the Graduate Students of African Studies (GSAS) at Indiana University.
Reynolds lives in Northampton, MA with his wife Julia who is a professional costume designer and his daughter Lily who is a cute baby. In his free time Reynolds likes to play his guitar, go hiking, act in local productions, hit the karaoke bars, sing with his dog Captain (the best doggy singer in the universe), and play various yard games such as KanJam, cornhole, “cups”, and Kubb.
London Site Director
Anna supports all participants on our programs in London, acting as the main point of contact throughout their stay in the United Kingdom. She coordinates airport pickup, arranges housing, leads cultural excursions, and manages the 24-hour onsite emergency phone.
Anna holds a B.A. in English and German from Ca’Foscari University of Venice. The Italian village where she was born was never enough for her and from a young age she decided she wanted to see the world and meet a lot of people from different cultures. Fascinated by foreign languages and traveling she first studied abroad in London when she was in high school and then at Humboldt Universität in Berlin a few years after. New York City holds a special place in her heart, ever since she was an intern at the Italian Cultural Institute there.
After volunteering and working for the not-for-profit association AFS Intercultural Program helping hundreds of high school students enroll and prepare for their experience abroad, she moved to London and focused on working with university students. She loves West End musicals, fashion, drinking green tea, spending time at the V&A museum, studying Korean and backpacking throughout Southeast Asia.
London Program Director, Roehampton
Rhys acts as the university contact for PAA students studying at Roehampton on semester or summer programs. He finalizes course schedules, coordinates university orientation events, provides academic advising, and acts as a liaison between PAA and Roehampton’s academic departments of dance and theatre.
Rhys is the Study Abroad Manager at the University of Roehampton. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Modern Languages having spent a year researching the televised media and working in France, and volunteering in Ecuador. Rhys and his team work closely with Performing Arts Abroad throughout a student’s time in London to ensure they return home having had a transformative experience.
Despite a Tony-worthy performance in a school production of a TS Eliot play, Rhys today finds himself much more at home seated in front of the stage rather than performing on it. A long time resident of London, he enjoys the performing arts across the city from world-class productions at the National Theatre to exciting new works off-West End. Drop by the office to discuss cheap ticket strategies.
Rhys firmly believes there is no city quite like London and no campus as friendly as Roehampton. He can’t wait to meet you in person.
My semester at Roehampton was a life-changing experience. With the incredible help of PAA, I was able to spend five indescribable months studying theatre in London. I met people from all over the world, saw game-changing theatre all over the city, and learned so much not only about theatre, but also myself.
“It was amazing to meet people from all around the world that share with me passions and dreams. This goes over any cultural difference. The city was great and the classes very interesting and useful, I hope to have the chance to do another program like this again!”
“I had a great time while studying abroad. I learned so much. I would honestly do it again if given the opportunity. I met a lot of amazing people and I hope that what I learned serves me well in the future.”
From the blog
Performing Arts Abroad alum Maria Frances Marinay is interviewed by GoAbroad.com about her amazing experience studying dance in London on the Dance Semester in Spain program. Check it out!
We at Performing Arts Abroad are incredibly proud of the Study Abroad programs we offer in Ireland, England, Italy, and New Zealand, as well as the participants who go on them. Students are applying now for Spring semester, and in honor…
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