AHK - Allison Kimmel

Amsterdam Reflection - Modern Dance department

'I flew to Amsterdam on the first of January. 2009 was just beginning and I reflected at my almost spontaneous decision to study abroad this semester. So many things ran through my head as I flew to the Netherlands. I wondered what I would learn, how would I be challenged, would I be accepted in my class?

My goal in doing part of my education abroad was to get the opportunity to travel and to experience the dance world outside of the US. De Theaterschool, located near the center of the city is a wonderful place to study and work.

The building has numerous dance studios, many of which have full length glass windows that allow you to see the canals that surround the school. So much space allowed me to work independently in empty studios as well as taking classes with the other dancers.

I was placed with the Modern Dance Department levels two and three and danced with them throughout the semester. The dancers that I met formed a wonderfully warm and diverse group of people. The style of dance was different that what I have experienced in the US and I had to work very hard to get used to moving in such a different way.

In many classes, we would take time to discuss in detail what we were doing. These discussions helped to deepen our understanding of our bodies and the tasks we were required to do. I participated in discussions and very quickly felt at home in the school. After allowing my body to become more comfortable with this new information, not to mention a great deal of practice, I was able to see the connection between my training in the US and my training in Amsterdam. I feel that approaching movement with a completely different intention than I have in the past has added a new flavor to my dancing. I feel more empowered and prepared as a dancer having found a way to be even more versatile.

Like New York, the city of Amsterdam is full of art and culture. I was able to see countless performances by local and travelling companies. DeTheaterschool also encourages their dancers to perform and I saw many pieces and small shows while I was there. Being constantly exposed to performances stretched my artistic mind. I found myself asking questions about the pieces, deciding what I liked and disliked, and ultimately refining my own voice as an artist.

At the end of the semester, I was able to perform in a piece choreographed by a student in the Choreography department. I remember being excited and proud to be performing and I was thrilled at the support of my friends and classmates. I believe that coming half way around the world to study reinforced my passion for dance. I was inspired, terrified, confused and successful every single day that I was there. I believe that for a dancer, an international education is absolutely invaluable and I am profoundly grateful to have had the opportunity to have had a piece of it.'