Gaga Dance Hits Lucca - Dance Italia Summer School Lucca

Lucca can sometimes appear to be a bit reactionary but in August the city has seen a group of young American and European dancers extend the limits of the  dance scene here.Stephanie Nelson chose to run her three-week intensive international contemporary dance summer school here, bringing together students and young professional from America and Europe.

It always amazes me the number of dance schools we have in this small city so it seemed a wonderful opportunity for the dance scene to become more international, when Stephanie Nelson of the “Stephanie Nelson Dance Group” based in New York City brought over a group of young American dances both students and professional to work intensively mainly in the area of contemporary dance. Other students arrived from Europe and a few from Italy. My daughter joined the classes for a week and was bowled over by the injection of enthusiasm, free spirit and the ability to interpret both intellectually and through movement. Stephanie’s wonderful mantra “It is what it is” gave any student with inhibitions the courage to experiment without fear of judgement, giving the dancers the chance to extend their boundaries in a totally holistic fashion. The course had an impressive line up of teachers. I was particularly

intrigued by the GAGA technique and persuaded my very classically trained daughter to go and try it. I envisaged that they would all be draped in Florentine steaks or pasta but in fact this dance form has nothing to do with Lady Gaga but hails from Israel. Shaked Dagan from the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, which is headed by Ohad Naharin, the founder of the method, steered the class through the idea of imaginary guided movement. The appeal of Gaga dance for me is that fact that anyone can do it from these young dancers to small children and the general adult population of. For a week the dancers where supported by a physiotherapist from London, Mark Archer and shiatsu and pilates expert Dominique both who have a wealth of experience with dancers .

The dancers at the end of the course gave an impromptu performance in the piazza using San Michele as a prop accompanied by Stephanie’s small son on his violin, a wonderful New York moment in Lucca. I can't wait to welcome them all back next year.

useful links  for next years course dates   Stephanie Nelson's dance company (New York) Gaga dance (Tel Aviv)

ttp://   Mark Archer physiotherapist (London)  pilates and shiatsu (London)


  1. wow this dance course looks so interesting and stimulating for the young teenagers who believe that imagination and creativity are no longer part of life.

  2. I think the dancers against the backdrop of the church look stunning.


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