The University of Iowa

Alyssa Gersony awarded first UI Fulbright in dance to Latvia

April 14th, 2020

Alyssa Gersony, who will receive an MFA in interdisciplinary studies (choreography and intermedia performance)from the University of Iowa this May, is the winner of a Fulbright Study/Research Arts grant in dance to Latvia for 2020-21

Hometown: Rutland, Vermont
Award: 2020-21 Fulbright Study/Research Arts grant in dance to Latvia
Degree: MFA interdisciplinary studies (choreography and intermedia performance)

The University of Iowa is thrilled to announce that Alyssa Gersony, an MFA candidate in interdisciplinary studies (choreography and intermedia performance) at the University of Iowa, has been awarded a 2020-21 Fulbright Study/Research Arts grant in dance to Latvia, where she'll develop a performance piece and create an after-school dance program for students at the Riga School for the Blind

Gersony is the first University of Iowa student to receive a Fulbright in dance and the recipient of the only Fulbright grant offered by the country of Latvia.

Gersony, who has completed graduate work in both special education (blind and visually impaired rehabilitation) and interdisciplinary performance, is especially looking forward to her first opportunity to bridge her two passions of dance and vision rehab.

"My career goals include pursuing a PhD that focuses on researching the intersections between choreography and vision rehabilitation," said Gersony. "Focusing on improvisational dance and guided auditory explorations, I plan to develop an after-school dance program that builds skills in body awareness, spatial orientation, socialization and creative problem-solving." 

"The University of Iowa Grant and Fellowship Writing Seminar was a revelatory experience for me and absolutely changed the way I think about grant writing."

Over the course of her nine months in Lativia, Gersony will also conduct genealogical research at the Jewish Museum and State Historical Archives, choreographing a new solo performance that engages topics about racial categorization, personal identity, immigration, and belonging.

"This is truly exciting news," said UI Fulbright Program Advisor Karen Wachsmuth. "Alyssa’s project combines her dance performance background and interest in Jewish identity and historical erasure with her training in working with the blind and visually impaired through movement. I am very excited about her project."

In addition to the support she's received from mentors, professors, and advisors, Gersony credits a valuable course she participated in last spring as a big part of her Fulbright success.

"The University of Iowa Grant and Fellowship Writing Seminar was a revelatory experience for me and absolutely changed the way I think about grant writing," said Gersony. "Since participating in the 2-week program I have gone on to receive a GPSG Research Grant and a GSS/Graduate College/OVPR Research Grant  for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences - both of which served as critical funding sources for my thesis project.  I know that my career as an independent artist will thrive due to these skills."

explore the many funding opportunities available to UI students and alumni 

Students are encouraged to begin their funding searches and applications at least six months to one year in advance.  Schedule an advising appointment with Karen Wachsmuth to discuss your interest in an international fellowship or begin an application (as a UI undergraduate student, graduate student, or alumna/us).

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