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Rod Searcey via SALLIE

My ITALIC Story: Amber Levine

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Rod Searcey via SALLIE


“Hi! I’m Amber, and I’m a dancer. I also love to draw and write poetry.” In ITALIC, everybody has their own thing, their own niche in the arts world where their passion resides. Walking into ITALIC the first day, I was blown away by the sheer scope of the arts - our 6 professors each introduced their own explorations of the question “What is Art?” in their own preferred medium by showing photographs, clips of dances, or playing music. Upon meeting my classmates, I was even more impressed -  some people could play cello or piano like a pro, while others could take photographs that looked like they belonged in art magazines, or draw something gorgeous without breaking a sweat, or write like a beat poet, or speak like a film critic. With my classmates’ academic interests ranging from geology to pre-med to TAPS to English, I have never met such a diverse and fascinating group of people connected by the one thing we all had in common - a love and appreciation for art.

At first, I was frustrated by the lectures focused around music, because I don’t play an instrument and can’t hear the same subtleties my classmates picked up on. I reveled in Janice Ross’s dance lectures, while other students dragged their feet, convinced they didn’t understand dance. However, as I got to know my classmates, I realized that all the arts were connected, and I could use the theory we learned in class about music or film to not only help me understand my peers, but also to take little tidbits of truth and insight that I could apply in my own fields. For example, understanding how music becomes exciting when it plays with and subverts the listener’s expectations or soothes when it follows them helped me understand not only the music I dance to, but also how varying choreography that flows smoothly with sudden direction changes or timing changes can make my dances more engaging. I loved the structure of the class, where every quarter revolved around a theme. We learned in-depth art theory from many different perspectives, and - my favorite part - we had the opportunity to apply everything we’d learned to our own art practice in the “creative expression projects” at the end of each quarter.

It was easy to feel intimidated by the talent and big ideas all around me, but it was also inspiring, and eventually I realized how accepting and supportive a group ITALIC is. We learn to appreciate all art forms, no matter how erudite or popular, and we also learn to accept each other and what we do. For me, that mutual respect and encouragement helped me gain confidence in my own creations. ITALIC taught me the importance of supporting and collaborating with other artists, and of getting out of my own head in order to really appreciate how many different and valuable ways there are to express oneself artistically. ITALIC gave me a taste of being a part of a rich art community that I hope to seek out and find wherever I go for the rest of my life.

Amber Levine

Class of 2018

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