Anna Harsh made a vision board in 6th grade about dancing professionally, traveling to Italy, and meeting the Pope. Fast forward to her senior thesis project that catapulted her journey fulfilling that vision and so much more. Her quest to find traditional Italian dances create questions about her own life. Be prepared to immerse yourself in Italian dances, how families deal with grief, and the highs and lows of directing a dance company.
La Danza – Conflict, Passion, and Healing is a travel memoir of an adventure that has forever changed the life of this Italian American dancer. Through experiences and humor, Anna invites you along her dancing journey, exploring villages steeped in tradition and local culture. Take a contemporary look of Italy through the eyes of a dancer and experience firsthand the Italian gusto, traditions, history, culture, and family legacy in this exciting read.
Praise for La Danza
Anna Harsh is a gift to the world of dance and dance education. Her passion for capturing the stories and soul within Italian dance resonates throughout her memoir.
– Tina Calabro Italian Heritage Collection Citizens Library
La Danza – Conflict, Passion, and Healing shares Anna Harsh’s story of connecting with her Italian heritage through movement and dance. Part memoir, part guide, Harsh reminds us that the tarantella and other folk dances are just as healing as nonna’s recipes and worthy of preservation for the next generation. La Danza adds a new voice to the cannon of Italian American memoir writing.
– Melissa E. Marinaro Director, Italian American Program
Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA
La Danza is a vibrant and exciting chronicle of the quest for authenticity in regional Italian dance. Anna Harsh writes of her insatiable passion for seeking out these historical recreations which she has gathered and presented for decades, and connects them with her own experience as an Italian, foodie, music lover, and educator in this beautiful text.
– Daniel Karasik
Ballet Faculty, Point Park University, Pittsburgh, PA
Anna Harsh’s La Danza – Conflict, Passion, and Healing is an intimate travelog from an artist who “never thinks that ideas are too big to achieve.” Her undying love for Italy and its culture creates an efficacious backdrop in this story of her passion for dance. Interspersed with heartfelt recollections, Harsh celebrates the integrity of classic Italian folk dance with unusual facts – who knew that the Tarantella was once danced as a means of sweating out the poison from a spider bite! Moments of hardship and life disappointments are shared as well as Harsh’s deft navigation through the recent pandemic, but the reader is always left with a sense of optimism in each stretch of the journey.”
– Steve Rooks, Professor of Dance at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York and former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company
La Danza reflects upon and documents Harsh’s life-long passion for dance. Her memoir addresses Italian dance as culture, history, community, and continual learning. With humility, Harsh offers the reader opportunities to personalize the chapter topics. A must-read for those who would like to develop and manage their own dance company.
– Nola Nolen, Professor Emerita, Slippery Rock University Department of Dance
This program is free to attend. Please register in advance.
Anna Harsh, a professional dancer and Artistic Director of Allegro Dance Company, is the author of La Danza – Conflict, Passion, and Healing. With over three decades of research and teaching experience, Anna offers a unique and refreshing voice in the Italian American community on how to preserve Italian traditional dances for the next generation. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Communication from West Virginia University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Slippery Rock University, an RYT200 in yoga, and is also a certified Pilates Instructor. She has traveled extensively throughout Italy to research and study dances from various regions. Her adventurous personality and passion for her Italian heritage has taught her unique life lessons. Her work has been featured in magazines such as: Fra Noi, Ambassador, and Dance Spirit.