Just imagine a selection of Melbourne’s most passionate and enthusiastic artists congregated in Australia’s cultural capital with a shared vision of creating innovative art. I’m talking about contemporary performers, composers, dancers, actors, painters, and sculptors harvesting their creations nine til five each day of the week. Inspired yet?
Coming to the Victorian College of The Arts was a life changing experience for me. I attended an all-boys boarding school in Queensland with a completely different philosophy and culture to that of the VCA. One of the most exciting things about attending a university such as this is the opportunity to mingle with students from other disciplines. The caf (artistic nickname for café) is the meeting place where such interdisciplinary projects are commonly initiated, as it is located in the centre of the VCA. It’s often frequented by alumni who meet up with colleagues over coffee to discuss their latest projects. Thanks to such collaborative opportunities, I have already had the opportunity to perform a show of my original compositions with an eighteen-piece orchestra consisting of classical music students, contemporary music students, film and TV students, and production students.
When asked by fellow Ormondians what I am studying at uni, I usually get the same sort of reaction.
“VCA – what’s that?”
“Is that like a real degree?”
“Does it ever feel like you’re on the TV show Dance Academy?”
And if I’m honest, most days it does.
The Victorian College of the Arts is a faculty at the University of Melbourne, and is a community of contemporary artists from a wide range of disciplines. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s art precinct at Southbank, VCA’s focus is on artistic development, within a collaborative environment. I am studying a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in dance, and yes, it is a real degree.
After spending a semester at VCA, it is obvious that my university experience is different to most Ormondians. For me, VCA feels similar to a high school environment, where all your teachers know you and you can’t miss lectures. My timetable is set, and changes every week; it’s sent out by a year coordinator every Sunday night. We get lunch breaks and there are only twenty-four people in my year. Similarly, my contact hours seem like slightly extended school days; i’m there for eight and a half hours (on average) every weekday.
A standard day for me is usually about six hours of dancing, including classes of ballet, contemporary and choreography. My elective this semester is ‘Body Balancing and Mobilisation’, which is a fancy way to describe yoga. I spend my Thursday afternoon doing this for three hours, finishing with fifteen-minutes of meditation. Last semester we also spent a lot of time legitimately practicing cartwheels and handstands, which definitely made for fun days at uni.
Ben & Sheridan:
Some weeks it’s hard to sync Ormond life with VCA. Rocking up hung over most Thursday mornings to a 9am ballet or music theory class is never ideal. But it is nice to leave the college bubble everyday, as we venture down to Southbank, and get the opportunity to study something we’re both passionate about. Whether you’re studying a breadth, watching a performance, or even just having a coffee in the caf; we recommend experiencing a taste of the artistic atmosphere at VCA.