Dance offers London study abroad

Dance offers London study abroad

This summer, TCU dancers will pack their bags and travel to London to participate in the department’s inaugural session of its study abroad program.

The session, titled “Physical Theatre in the U.K.,” is different from typical TCU dance classes, said Elizabeth Gillaspy, associate professor of ballet.

“We have students who are interested in abroad experiences, this one specifically because it’s a kind of opportunity that is so unique for them as dancers and as performers,” Gillaspy said.

Gillaspy and Susan Douglas Roberts, associate professor of modern dance, said they worked together to create the program along with TCU dance graduate Sarie Mairs Slee. Slee is a lecturer at England’s Edge Hill University, where students will spend the first two weeks of the program working with Gillaspy and Roberts to learn about physical theatre. Roberts said Slee has asked several European guest artists to participate, as well.

“Edge Hill is a university that is growing – they have a degree in dance, a degree in theatre and a degree in physical theatre,” Roberts said. “It seems like the perfect place to have a workshop.”

Following a two-week workshop at the university in Ormskirk, England, Roberts and Gillaspy decided to have participants travel to Scotland to take in the 61st annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The professors said they traveled to the performing arts festival nearly two years ago to learn what it has to offer students.

“We’re really intrigued about how to help students discover the broad field that is dance, and the Fringe Festival is such a tremendous opportunity to do that,” Gillaspy said.

Students will earn three dance credit hours for the study abroad class. There are typically two prerequisite classes, but Gillaspy and Roberts said they encourage other majors to apply for permission.

“It’s open to theatre majors, music majors, or anyone who has had some physical experience that they feel they could receive something from this experience,” Roberts said.

The $2,370 cost to students makes the program the second-least expensive offered in London by the university, according to the TCU Study Abroad Web site. The cost includes travel from England to Scotland, housing and some meals, as well as entrance to the Fringe Festival. Like other TCU Study Abroad programs, the $865-per-credit-hour tuition fee is not included in the cost.

Gillaspy said the program is offered to any student expressing interest. One student is enrolled, and the application deadline is Feb. 15.