IStage Dance Theatre Ensemble Takes the Stage in Brixten, Italy

The teen members of the IStage Dance Theatre Ensemble received the chance of a lifetime this June, when they became the first American performers to attend the Sapperlot International Meeting of Youth Theatre in Brixten, Italy. This festival created by teenagers for teenagers develops an international community of young theatre practitioners by inviting groups from around the world to perform. This prestigious festival aims to expand students’ worldview and perception of theatre by presenting performances from various cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Our ensemble performed pieces choreographed by Imagination Stage faculty members as well as the students themselves. “I reminded them of how amazing they are to not only perform in a professional theatre in Italy, but to also have their choreography presented…They will always have this experience and memory,” said Marcia Howard, Senior Faculty of Dance Education.

These new experiences didn’t end at the theatre doors. The ensemble stayed in a youth hostel, savored traditional food, and hiked Plose Mountain. “We got to drink water straight from the snow on top of the mountains which was incredible. We even got to pet the cows wandering around on the mountain!” said Dance Theatre Ensemble member Kathleen Quinn.

Initial challenges with language barriers illuminated new questions for the students, who were inspired to have invaluable discussions about interpretation, views of the world, and the universality of theatre. “Even though our groups were so linguistically and geographically separated, we had so many similarities and that’s something I’ll continue to remember,” said Dance Theatre Ensemble member Gracie Luna. Luna recalled learning Russian Sign Language in order to communicate with some new friends, “they were incredibly supportive and patient with us…learning signs as we went and gesturing to get some meaning across, we learned so much about each other and became good friends.”

Joanne Seelig Lamparter, Director of Education at Imagination Stage, said, “[The students] learned to open their hearts to the differences of others’ experiences by seeing theatre from around the world. They made new friends and had a cultural experience. I feel it’s experiences like this that can make our world a better place.”

IStage Dance Theatre is an intensive training and performance program for students in grades 7-12 who demonstrate a strong foundation in dance technique. This program focuses on advanced technique work in contemporary ballet and modern dance. Students collaborate on choreography, character development, and performance skills in order to develop an original Dance Theatre performance.

Auditions for the IStage Dance Theatre Ensemble as well as the IStage Dance Academy are on July 26 and August 16, 2018. More information regarding auditions can be found at

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