2019 Summer in Florence dates!

We  wrapped up a fabulous summer in Florence and are just getting back on our feet. We were lucky to have a wide range of ages and countries represented this year with our Commedia dell’Arte and Mask Making Workshops.

Now we are already getting ready for summer 2019. Don’t let time escape you! Sign up now to reserve your place and spend 2 weeks in Florence, Italy.

2019 Dates

Commedia dell’Arte: July 15-26

Mask Making: July 15-26

Italian Design: July 1-12

Roberto sharing his Mask Making knowledge

Roberto sharing his Mask Making knowledge


Students hard at work making their own masks

Students hard at work making their own masks

Commedia dell'Arte 2018



Commedia dell'Arte 2018 Commedia dell'Arte 2018 Commedia dell'Arte 2018

Italian Design Workshop in Italy Week 2

Week two started with a tour and tactile experience behind the scenes at one of fashions best artisans. We were able to see the many patterns and materials that go in to creating woven goods for the fashion industry, what a great way to inspire textile use in Interior Design!!! After a morning of looking at the samples he creates for clients we were able to tour his design work shop and his factory work shop and see how an idea from a design label becomes a reality in Andrea’s studio.

So interesting to see the artist process! 

Rain was not our friend for travel, but the group persevered and made it to the furniture icon showroom of Self Habitat where we were able to sit in some of the most renowned chairs in modern design history. Learning about Italian designers and the process from which they get their inspiration to how they create the end product and all the considerations was an eye opening experience for all.
The week was not all field trips as studio time is needed to get the final projects done! So a few days of creating and workin through their own artist process was accompanied by a visit and lecture from Fabio Leoncini, the architect for Ferragamo. Fabio showed his international works to the group and talked with them about the ideas and concepts of Ferragamo and what he has to produce for them. Fabio walked the group through the drawings that he did for the latest instillation at the Museo Ferragamo and explained the level of details, down to the exact shoe that he had to provide for his high end employer!
As week two wraps up the group is well on their way to creating amazing attempts at interpreting Equilibrium inspired by Museo Ferragamo.
Some even had a chance to go to the Ballet while in Florence!
Ballet and Design
Commedia dell'Arte

Celebrating Commedia dell’Arte and Commedia dell’Arte Day

Commedia dell’Arte Day


Commedia dell'Arte

Commedia dell’Arte Day is celebrated on February 25th each year. The Commedia dell’Arte Day is promoted by the Italian Cultural Association SAT. All over the world on February 25th there will be performances, concerts, workshops and lectures as people join together to celebrate Commedia dell’Arte and its origins.

For those of you unfamiliar with Commedia dell’Arte, here is a brief explanation into this interesting type of theatre.

The Beginnings of Commedia dell’Arte

Commedia is an improvised type of popular comedy that was born in Italy in the 16th–18th centuries and is based on stock characters. Actors adapted their comic dialogue and action according to a few basic plots (love, jealousy, money) and to issues at that time (most are still relatable).

Many Commedia actors traveled in troupes throughout Italy in the 16th century. They performed on temporary stages, mostly in city streets, but occasionally even in court venues. The better troupes—notably Gelosi, Confidenti, and Fedeli—performed in palaces and became internationally-known. Music, dance, and witty dialogue, contributed to the comic effects. It spread throughout Europe, with many of its elements leading into present-day theater.


Performances were based on a scenario which was a basic plot, often a familiar story, upon which the actors improvised their dialogue. Therefore actors were at liberty to tailor the performance to their audience, allowing for sly commentary on current politics and bawdy humor that would otherwise be censored. Sometimes using sexually challenging language and physical comedy, Commedia poked fun at elements of society’s respectable values by means of exaggerated styles and insightful character traits.

Though humor and jokes were the main part, Commedia dell’Arte was a very disciplined art which required both virtuosity and a strong sense of team playing. The unique talent of Commedia actors was to improvise comedy around a pre–established scenario. Playing off each other, or the audience, the actors made use of the lazzi (special rehearsed routines that could be inserted into the plays at convenient points to heighten the comedy), musical numbers, and impromptu dialogue to vary what happened on stage.

Sets and Props

There were no elaborate sets in Commedia. The stage was simple, rarely anything more than one market or street scene. Instead, they made great use of props including animals, food, furniture, and weapons. The character Arlecchino bore two sticks tied together, which made a great noise on impact. This gave birth to the word “slapstick.”

Commedia dell'Arte


The use of masks was important in the development of this type of theatre. Masks required the actors to “act” in other ways through their body expressions. They combined acrobatics, dance and stage combat into their acts.


Commedia dell’Arte actors represented fixed social types seen in Italian culture. For example, there were foolish old men, devious servants, and egotistic military officers. Each stock character of Commedia evolved a distinct set of attributes—characteristic speech, gestures, props, and costume—that became standard to the portrayal of the character and still remains today.

The Audience

Performances were accessible to all social classes. Language was no barrier because of their skillful mime, stereotyped stock characters, traditional lazzi’s (signature stunts, gags and pranks), masks, broad physical gestures, improvised dialogue and clowning they became widely accepted wherever they traveled.

The style and formula of Commedia dell’Arte survives to this day by continuing the tradition as an artistic institution where gifted actors create some of the most memorable, historic physical characters the theatre has ever seen. It is from the Commedia world where such characters as Arlechinno (Harlequin), Columbina, Pulcinella (Punch), The Doctor, The Captain and Pantalone emerged to reign in theatre for centuries.

Go Inspired offers a 3-week Commedia dell’Arte workshop in Florence, Italy each summer. The course is taught by 2 professional Commedia dell’Arte actors.

The course in 2014 begins June 30-July 18. It is Monday-Friday, 4 hours a day with weekends free to explore Tuscany. The cost is 2225 Euros with housing included. For more information, please check out our website at: Commedia dell’Arte Workshop with Go Inspired


Information for this article was taken from the following sites:





Historical Dance Workshop in Florence

An Interview with Marco Bendoni about the Commedia dell’Arte workshop in Florence

Go Inspired was introduced to Marco Bendoni a few years ago by chance and we are thrilled to continue to be working with Marco since then. He brings so much to the course that we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to share his talents with our participants. During the time spent with Marco, students find themselves challenged and inspired at the same time. For most of the participants, it is their first experience going deeper into their acting and also themselves as well as taking themselves out of their comfort zones.

We talked to Marco about Commedia dell’Arte so our future participants can have a better idea of what to expect from the workshop.

Marco Bendoni

1. First, tell us a bit about you.

I am a professional dancer. I was a contemporary dancer who worked with Philippe Decouflé in Paris, Vicecte Saez in Valencia, Simona Bucci in Florence and Luciano Padovani in Vicenza. Then I worked as a dancer and a mime in “Teatro Comunale” of Florence. I studied Commedia dell’Arte as part of the training.

I have my own company of Renaissance and Baroque dance “Il Ballarino” and I collaborate with different orchestras in Europe in order to bring these nobles dances all over the world.

I am also a Holistic operator who is specialized in movements, yoga, chi gong, energetic protocols, acro yoga, and aikido.

2. How did you begin your career?

I began as a contemporary dancer after working as an accountant for 5 years.

3. What can participants expect from this course?

They can expect a better knowledge of the period of Commedia dell’Arte, learning about the history, the way these characters were moving, dancing…


Marco Bendoni and Commedia dell'Arte workshops

4. What will participants learn from you in this course?

They learn about awareness of the body, mind, emotions and know more about the meaning of energy. They learn the basis of acrobatics, acro yoga, and training for dancing. They learn a few dances as from the books of choreography of the ancient times from the renaissance to baroque.

5. What are some things participants find challenging?

They will find out how important and challenging it is to be present, to grow and develop as a human, to learn about him/herself and the study of their own personalities. They will also have the chance to learn to be neutral in order to be the right tool to become a Commedia dell’Arte character.

6. Why is your part of the course important (as you divide the course with Roberto)?

Commedia dell’Arte is very physical work. The masks used to dance a lot and of my knowledge on the treatises of the time is a philological precious apport to the actor’s work of improvisation. To learn a noble or popular dance as it was and done with the body of the mask it allows the actor to have a solid structure that help him/her to give his/her best. To show one of his/her artistic talent…prestige.

Marco Bendoni and Commedia dell'Arte workshops

7. What do you like about Commedia dell’Arte?

Commedia is our history; the characters are like lenses pointed on our “negativities”, such as fears, greed, abuse of sex, to manipulate others, wanting to dominate, being a victim,etc…but in a comical way. So that allows myself to recognize which of these negative emotions are still in me and how ridiculous they are.

8. Why is it important for actors to study Commedia dell’Arte?

Commedia dell’Arte  teaches you to be a character completely with all of your body, emotions and thoughts. The use of the mask allows you to disinhibit from the heaviness of your own personality.

9. You do acrobatics and teach dance moves to the participants. Why?

How can you tease a noble if you don’t know what nobles knew about philosophy, their longing to be better humans through experiencing the different arts, playing music, dancing, painting. Some of the characters are masters and noble. The servants are normally acrobats in order to earn their living they have to jump from one place to another.

Also, acrobatics is a skill of most of the Commedia dell’Arte characters.

10. Who is your favorite Commedia character and why?

My favorite character is the Capitano, a bit like a Don Quijote; a crazy, dreamy character but full of hope and energy.

11. What is special about this course in Florence?

The course in Florence is held by 2 passionate teachers who love to transmit the preciousness of this art, giving an amount of details on the characters, the different arts and much much more.


Thank you Marco for your time!! We look forward to working with you in our next workshop!

Courses In Ireland

One more benefit of traveling abroad…and it isn’t what you think!

Another benefit to traveling abroad!

As if we needed more reasons why we should travel or study abroad-Now we have one more….and it isn’t what you think!


We all know the benefits of traveling-

  • Gain new perspective on the world.
  • Increase language skills.
  • Test your interests.
  • Meet people from different places and make connections.
  • Break out of your shell.
  • Enjoy life like never before.


But now there is one HUGE benefit that we can attribute to living abroad. Creativity! Yes, traveling and living abroad helps the brain with creativity. So let’s get to the bottom of this. An interesting book called IMAGINE by Jonah Lehrer talks about how our brain works in terms of creativity. Here are some highlights:


  • Traveling cultivates an outside perspective. Often, we are physically near the source of our problem. This means that our thoughts are “constricted” because they are “bound by a more limited set of associations” and so this inhibits the imagination. So this is where travel comes in. It helps you escape from the place where you spend most of your time. Those ideas that your mind had previously suppressed now are able to be awakened!


  • And what is more interesting, is that the longer you are away from home, the stronger the effect. One study showed that “students who lived abroad for an extended period were significantly more likely to solve a difficult creativity problem than students who had never lived outside their birth country”.


So really-how does traveling change us? Well first of all, experiencing another culture provides open-mindedness to the traveler and in this way, he/she has an easier time realizing that “a single thing can have multiple meanings”. An example given is the simple act of leaving food on one’s plate. In China, leaving food on a plate is often seen as a compliment, a signal that the host has provided more than enough food. But, in the US, the same act can be seen as an insult. These cultural contrasts mean that seasoned travelers are open to ambiguity, more willing to realize that there are different ways of interpreting the world. Because they have “felt like outsiders before, immersed in foreign places, they’ve learned to examine alternative possibilities”.

In other words, increased creativity, according to the book, appears to be a side effect of experiencing difference. When traveling, you need to change cultures, societal norms, “feel the disorienting diversity of human traditions. The same details that make foreign travel so confusing-Do I tip the waiter? Where is this train taking me?-turn out to have a lasting impact, making us more creative because we’re less insular. We’re reminded of all that we don’t know, which is nearly everything; we’re surprised by the constant stream of surprises”.

So when you are struggling to figure out which side to kiss on, or if you should even kiss, or what the cashier is saying to you, or how the heck to read the train schedule,  know that all of your struggles are helping your brain!

And as the book says, “when you get back home, home is still the same. But something in our minds has been changed, and that changes everything”.

Happy traveling!! 

Yoga In Costa Rica

Get to know Yoga for Peace Program instructor Sowmya Ayyar

An Interview with Sowmya Ayyar- Instructor for Yoga for Peace


Go Inspired is lucky to be working in collaboration with Sowmya Ayyar in our unique Yoga for Peace Program. Yoga for Peace takes place this September for 10 days in India near Jodhpur where participants will stay at a Bishnoi Village. Sowmya’s nature and background makes her a knowledegable teacher where students will thrive in a comfortable environment while also getting to experience the beauty and spirit of India.

A chat with Sowmya.


1) How did you learn about Yoga for Peace?

The day I moved to Peace School, someone asked me if I was a yoga teacher. She wanted to learn from me. So did others. We decided to start a weekly session. I thought it would be cool to focus each week on the theme that we were studying—Theories, Gender, Terrorism, Environment—and link it to the yoga practice. That turned into my term project, which turned into a full-fledged course. Now I adapt how I teach using peace concepts.

2)      What changes have you seen from Yoga for Peace (whether with people or experiences?)

I have gotten feedback that people now feel yoga is appropriate for them, for their culture, and for peacebuilding activities. I notice that people can relax better, and they are also more content with what they have. They become less greedy. I have also seen lightbulbs going off during workshops and sessions, where there is a realization of “I can be happy.”

3)      Why is Yoga for Peace important in your eyes?

Yoga has often been used as a tool for inner peace. I see it as a tool for world peace as well. I believe that if people in conflict zones practice yoga together or separately, they are more likely to turn toward peace.

4)      How does your background contribute to what you bring to a class?

I have a background in Sociology, Gerontology, Peace Studies, and Environmental Security. And then my yoga teaching background. Plus I have worked in large and small non-profits and NGOs. When I work with a particular group, I assess the group first (whether formally or informally). I collect relevant information about socio-economic status, geographic location.

5)      Where have yoga for peace programs been implemented? 

I have taught yoga for peace in different formats in universities around the world as short workshops; and then brought yoga to meet the needs of a variety of groups, from domestic violence survivors in California to HIV+ women and children in rural India, to special needs kids and corporate environments.

6)      What is special to you about India that you would like to share with participants in the program?

In India, you get a community sense of awe for any form of yoga. It is respected immensely. You get a chance to see a land where yoga is practiced off the mat, more often than on.

7)      What will be interesting for people participating living in the Bishnoi village?

The location we will be at is especially nice because the history and the culture of the people there is about environmental peace. They are known to be pro-nature and pro-women and children. We might be able to take our yoga practice out of the guest house and into the land—which is pristine and calm. And you never know if you will run into villagers walking with their cows or camels. The area is beautiful.

8)      Why should someone join the program?

You should join if you are a yoga teacher trying to do interesting projects and take yoga to diverse populations outside of studios. You should join if your NGO serves conflicted peoples and places (environments) and you want to find an alternative way of conflict transformation. You should join if you like yoga and you like peace!


Thanks so much Sowmya for sharing!

For more information regarding Go Inspired’s yoga programs, check out http://ventura.media/goinspired/programs/yoga-and-meditation-workshops/yoga-for-social-transformation/

If you would like to know more about Sowmya and her programs, take a look at her website! www.sowmyaayyar.com