Tag Archives: Creative and Performing Arts

Ni de Aquí Ni de Allá (“Not From Here or There”)

By Carmen Román, 2015-2016, Peru


Carmen Román, 2015-2016, Peru, sitting in front of the chapel at Hacienda Arona in Cañete

Friday night I was invited to the U.S. Embassy in Lima for a live viewing of the soccer match between the United States and Peru. I was expecting a small gathering but as I walked up to the Embassy, I noticed a long line outside. I asked the guy at the end of the line what the line was for, and he responded: “To view the soccer match!” I lined up behind him. He turned around and said, “You need an invitation.” I assured that him I had one.

Apparently, 180 people had been invited, including the national press and local students learning English. As I passed through security, I could hear the vibrant sounds of the Batucada playing in the background and of course, I did a little samba–– an upbeat dance of Brazilian origin performed during Carnival parades.

As I walked in, I felt like a queen. This was the place were my parents had come more than twenty-five years ago to ask for a Visa to purse their American dream. I remember hearing about bank statements and other paperwork they had to bring; I imagined my dad sitting, nervously awaiting his turn. And now, here I am more than two decades later, walking the same grounds as an American, invited to this private event.

Dance to Love

By Minh Tuyet Bui, 2013-2015, Vietnam

Minh Tuyet Bui

Minh Tuyet Bui, 2013-2015, Vietnam (center), performs her dance “Dreamer’s Café” with Heidi Stonier and Bryan Wilson at the Center for Modern Dance Education, New Jersey.

My dance/movement journey started in 2010 when I read the book Dance as a Healing Art by Anna Halprin. To this day, I am grateful for her spirit and wisdom. It empowered me to cross the ocean on a Fulbright grant to become a Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) student in the United States at Sarah Lawrence College.

After 10 years of experience in education, I have observed that the teaching methods currently in use in Vietnam cause students to suffer. Students are rarely encouraged to observe, ask questions or think critically in order to make their own decisions. In an ideal environment, students must learn inner leadership, personal responsibility, and self-discovery. They should add value to the world by playing a part in it. In this respect, traditional education is failing.

By experiencing my own body through movement and applying this experience in teaching, I see how creative movement empowers students to develop personality and strengthen their inner leadership. In one of my classes, “Movement with Nature,” I guided children to make physical contact and engage all the senses with a tree. Students pay attention to feelings, emotions and images stimulated by their contact with the tree, then are asked to dance with the tree and find their relationship to it. The tree is in you and you are in the tree. After that, they draw the tree and write about their experience. Children identify with nature by projecting themselves into the form of a tree through movement. From this process, they can obtain rich insights and meaningful connections to their life needs. One shy girl shared, “My tree is scared to sleep alone.” Another said, “My tree doesn’t like being hit.” Another child saw the trees as endless, a home that offered strength and safety. “I am here if you need help” her tree said.

Are You an Artist Interested in Applying for a Fulbright Grant? Check Out Brian Rutenberg’s Video and Attend Tomorrow’s Webinar.

Thinking of applying to Fulbright in the Creative and Performing Arts and wonder how the program can influence your career? Listen to Brian Rutenberg, Fulbright U.S. Student alumnus, describe how his time in Ireland on his grant continues to inform his work. Want to learn more about the application and requirements? Attend tomorrow’s webinar at 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET. For further details, click here.

A Bit of My Culture for a Bit of Yours

By Derrell Acon, 2013-2014, Italy

Derrell Acon

Derrell Acon, 2013-2014, Italy, performing “Da Dove Viene La Black Art” at the American University of Rome

And so it all began with an email stating that I had been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student grant. I would present on Black American Art while I researched operas by Giuseppe Verdi in Italy. I arrived in the country with wide eyes ready to buckle down on my research and tailor my Black Art presentations. Almost immediately, however, it became clear that it was not only about my projects. I could sense from the very beginning that I would be changed as a person. As an opera singer, I have traveled throughout the world quite often, but I have never lived in a place with a different culture and language for as extended a period of time as I did in Italy. From registering with the cities in which I would live to grocery shopping, to my one-on-one voice coachings with an Italian maestro who did not speak a touch of English, I slowly let the culture of the place wash over me. Time allowed me to notice subtleties in the language and the ways in which people interacted with one another. I began to gauge what was important in Italian culture and what was nonchalantly commonplace.

With the help of some old friends in Novafeltria, I first translated my Black Art lecture-recital into Italian (save the singing and poetry) and then contacted different venues that might host me. I performed “Da Dove Viene La Black Art” at places as awesome as the Liceo Leonardo da Vinci in Milan and the American University of Rome to a very packed audience. On the research side of things, I traveled to many beautiful cities seeking materials on the Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi. I attended lectures, operas, concerts, festivals, and so on to collect as much information as I could about the historic composer’s life and his music. I returned to the U.S. with hundreds of pages of notes and many great recordings.

“Mo Kapav Koz en Kreol Aster” (I Can Speak in Kreol Now)

By Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius

Diana Heise

Diana Heise, 2011-2012, Mauritius, filming for “Lame La Kone” (The Knowing Hand) in the sugarcane fields by Barkly

To give a glance into my Fulbright experience in Mauritius, I need to begin with the fact that I am a classically trained singer and it was through my relationship with music that I submerged myself in Mauritian culture. I hadn’t seriously sung for years and did not expect this impact when I was applying. So, as you start your application, I would recommend that you consider all the activities that have defined you, as these interests will help you connect abroad. For me, it was through this latent relationship to music that I became an adopted member of the band ABAIM, the crux of my Fulbright experience and my ongoing research.

ABAIM is a musical atelier with 30 members of mostly young people. Their songs are inspired by Sega Tipik, the lament music of African slaves. Additionally, they are one of the last safeguarding organizations of this musical tradition and who still teach the Ravann – a Mauritian drum and principle instrument of Sega Tipik.

ABAIM also considers itself a development organization, developing the lives of the community through music. On Saturdays, more than 60 children from throughout the island attend. Writing skills and traditional games are taught, children report news of the week during democratic assemblies, conversation can range from recounting birthdays to comments on the Syrian crisis. All in between singing.