“A Dream of Passion and Sacrifice”

Sometimes Pursuing your dreams takes a lot of effort. Sometimes, at only 15 years old, You have to pack your bags, hold your loved ones tight before saying goodbye, leave home and friends to live that dream, catch it on the run. Sometimes life doesn’t wait, “One shot“, as the Americans say, and you have to grow up fast. This is what happened three years ago in Ravenna Francesca Threehow, after overcoming a difficult audition, she started a new, big adventure for a very young girl of her age: National Conservatory of Dance in Lisbon, Portugal, one of the most renowned classical dance institutes. Today, 18, he is returned to Italy with a diploma in his pocket and with another dream come true: Admission to the National Dance Academy of Rome, where he received his diploma.

Francesca returns to Italy after three years of conservatory in Lisbon. Tell us your experience
“Yes, I’m going back to Italy with a diploma from the national conservatory, but above all with a life experience that it made me grow from an artistic, intellectual and personal point of view and that will remain in my heart forever. In those years I was lucky to deal with an international environment, with teachers from different countries of the world and I immediately learned and spoke Portuguese. I won’t hide from you that even nowadays I think in Portuguese and use words that don’t exist in Italian.

You went home very young, what was it like living alone in a foreign country?
“Yes, I arrived in Lisbon when I was only 15 and it was not easy to be away from my family, to whom I am very attached, although I always felt like my parents. There was no lack of difficulties, starting with everyday life. For example, when dealing with simple administrative procedures, such as talking to the employee of the metro to get a free pass for me as a student, making a card for the school canteen, traveling with Uber (taxi that you directly can book with an app from your mobile phone and costs less). I don’t know the language, I had left all my friends in Italy. Basically I started from scratch, but living in a big and beautiful city like Lisbon helped me a lot. It offers many opportunities for growth, it is an international city and is open to many young people like me who go there for study purposes and follow their passions. Of course, having my family close would have been a big plus, especially during the two-year pandemic. In 2020, for example, I couldn’t return to Italy for the Christmas holidays because they canceled my flight at the last minute. It was not pleasant, also because after months away, I really wanted to go back. I spent the holidays alone at boarding school. Fortunately, my parents were close to me. They have always supported and supported me. We also talked several times a day with phone calls and video calls.

Advantages and difficulties of living abroad compared to Italy?
“I have many memories of Lisbon, some beautiful, some less so. In my heart are the emotions of the audition and the first day at the conservatory. The first conversations in Portuguese and the smiles of my companions to my “Bunders”. Then Portugal is a great place to live: the climate is great with a mild winter. Lisbon is a very safe city, I never felt in danger. Many school services for students are practically free, such as the school cafeteria, which was very cheap, the books are handed over to the schools and then given to the students for free the following year. The metro is also free for students. In Italy, people are certainly more expansive and the food is better!”

Now a new chapter opens in your life: the National Dance Academy, which you enter in Rome. Are you happy to go back to Italy? Where will you live?
“I am very happy with this new milestone and to be back in my country. Living away from home has caused me a lot of pain, so this is a great opportunity! I will be closer to family and will still be able to work in one of the reputed institutes to study my discipline. In fact, I chose the National Academy because it is the only Institute of Higher Artistic Training in the field of dance in Italy. With this path I hope to improve my artistic preparation, moreover in a culturally very lively city like Rome. I will live in a shared apartment with other dancers from the academy, met during the selections for the final audition”.

What are your next goals?
“I just turned 18 and today I tell you that my plans are to continue dancing, studying and living a life like any girl my age!”

What would you recommend to a young person, projected on your same path?
“I would say that this experience gives a lot, in all respects, but it requires a lot of sacrifice and commitment. If I had to give advice to a peer of mine, I would say to think a lot about it, especially on how strong his passion is”.

What is a typical day like for a dancer? Are the trainings, for example, very long?
“Back then, in Lisbon, the alarm clock in the boarding school was at 6:30 every day. After breakfast I took the metro to Bairro Alto, where the conservatory is located. The school subjects alternate with dance lessons in the morning and afternoon, with a very short lunch break. You ask me if the trainings are long… Well yes, at least four to five lessons every day, often arriving by 8pm. This involves many sacrifices and physical problems may also occur due to injuries. This year, for example, I had tendonitis and it was not easy to manage the lessons and live with the pressure of the professors”.

A war conflict has been going on for months In Ukraine, have you happened to meet and compare with foreign colleagues, maybe those who live in those areas?
“In our boarding school, we experienced the desperation of a girl, a cleaner who had her whole family in Kyiv, after her. The conservatory took immediate action, hosting several Ukrainian dancers, providing accommodation and giving them the opportunity to study .I think it is indispensable get to the end of the war as soon as possible and give Ukraine the opportunity to live back intact, in peace and freedom”.

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