Springfield College Students Experience Renaissance Dance Abroad


Cynthia Nazzaro, Ed.D., professor of dance, is teaching a five-week course, "Passion, Power, and Creative Process: Unmasking Dance in the Italian Renaissance," to 10 Springfield College students at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy.

The course introduces students to the historical and artistic origins of dance as a theater art with the focus on its development during the Italian Renaissance. The students are learning about Italian folk and court dance forms; ballet and contemporary forms; and Renaissance art, theater design, music, and costumes.

One of the highlights of Nazzaro’s course is a field trip to Florence, where students visited the Uffizi Gallery and the Boboli Gardens.

“(The visit to) Florence enhanced what we were learning in the classroom, giving us more of the background of Renaissance dance,” said dance major Sarah Perry.  “In class we were relating the development of the art to the development of the dance during the Renaissance, so it was really cool to see it all in person.”

Nazzaro agreed: “The students were able to apply the principles of art that come to us through Renaissance innovations [such as] Lorenzo de Medici and Botticelli, as well as such artworks as La Primavera at the Uffizi and the garden architecture of the Boboli.  We link these elements directly to the dances we are learning and the dance history we are studying.”

The Renaissance Dance Program is hosted by the Umbra Institute, an American study abroad program located in the central Italian city of Perugia.