The head of the Illinois State University dance program, Sara Semonis, and College of Fine Arts Assistant Dean Laurie Merriman accompanied 13 dance majors and minors to the Universidade Federal De Vicosa in Vicosa, Brazil, for a little over two weeks this summer.

This faculty-led program provided students and faculty with numerous experiences learning about the culture, heritage, and dance of Brazil. The students studied Brazilian folk dance, Capoeira, contemporary dance, improvisation, and the history of Brazilian art and people. Illinois State students and UFV students enjoyed taking classes, collaborating on a performance piece, and spending time together, both in and out of class.

While in Vicosa, Semonis choreographed an original piece for more than 20 UFV students, and both Merriman and Semonis taught and collaborated with numerous dance faculty, plus faculty from the School of Architecture. They traveled to four different cities while in Minas Gerais (one of the states of Brazil).

The college plans to repeat this experience next summer. The partnership will also result in the director of the Dance Department at UFV visiting the School of Theatre and Dance this September, two colleagues visiting from UFV in the spring, and a collaborative article and conference presentation.

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