Your work, Kudoku, brings together dance and live music. How did the collaboration with the composer Dan Kinzelman come about?
I met Dan Kinzelman thanks to Enrico Bettinello and to an initiative of Novara Jazz. Enrico proposed to me and Dan to work together, and get know each other through an exchange of artistic practices. So we started to look for real opportunities to work together, and we wera able to do so thanks to the support of CSC Centro per la Scena Contemporanea (Center for Contemporary Scene) of Bassano del Grappa, Piemonte dal Vivo Foundation – Lavanderia a Vapore, CAOS-Terni with indisciplinarte e Associazione Demetra, and thanks to Fabbrica Europa, which included Kudoku in the first edition of the project DAN+Z.
Improvisation is a building block of Kudoku, and it involves music as much as dance. How does the creative process unfold, before and after the show?
Both Dan and I often work with improvisation and instantaneous composition, each of us in his own art. We are both curious and pushed by the desire to discover the element of risk. For this creation we started to work via email: sometimes just with long word flows, other times sharing thoughts and purposes of each of us, so as to meet on a more spiritual level. We were surprised by the words in common and the many coincidences which occurred. This passage was necessary in order to decide together what to bring into the research. We met for the first time in Bassano del Grappa for a residence at Garage Nardini. We understood each other and got along almost instantly, and we decided to work every day on physical and sound practices which could live the same energy process, the same intention. At that moment we were interested in creating a ritual where sound body and physical body could experience persistence, in the constant attempt to open perimeters, renew the way of looking at things and clean up the senses. So we understood since the beginnig that his music, his path inside the pièce, would guide and influence mine, and my dance, my path, would guide his own in turn. In each performing, Kudoku attempts to enter this dimension, to really live this experience.
Improvisation coexists with the presence of a dramaturg, who in this case is Carlotta Scioldo. What is their role and why is it so important?
I have worked with the presence of a dramaturg for some years already, and this is my third production with Carlotta. For me, it is essential that the work is taken care of and supported by a dramaturg – in the case of Still we worked with Enrico Pitozzi. The role of the dramaturg is very important: they give shape and enrich the artistic process, providing several elements for the creation; they understand its identity; they support the nature of the creation and its development; they understand what the balances inside the work are. And most of all, they give an external, global look and one aimed at the details at the same time.
Still, your second work with Dan Kinzelman, debuted last month. You are still the author but not a performer, and the performers are now four. What can you tell us about this second work? Is it connected with the first one? And if so, in what way?
Still is a newborn work, but I am already very attached to it. It was awarded the Prospettiva Danza prize and is part of a wider project which is called “STILL Body experience with digital brain”, which won the call “ORA! Linguaggi contemporanei produzioni innovative” (NOW! Contemporary languages innovative productions) launched by Compagnia di San Paolo. The creation was preceded by a long research process and comes from considerations on the work of Alberto Giacometti. It is the first time that I perform one of my creations, and this made the creative process unique and deep. Certainly, this work is connected to the first one in terms of its inner nature. Still, like Kudoku, has a ritualistic performative dimension, characterised and supported by the relationship between the performers and the presence though which each dancer carries out the task which constitutes the framework of the work itself.
In Kudoku, the relationship between Dan and me is one of great complicity and empathy. In Still the three dancers (Marta Ciappina, Pablo Andres Tapia Layton and Alessio Scandale) share e similar experience, and the process itself went alongside with the desire to create a pièce where the three dancers could share a ritual, a parallel experience. Indeed, the choreographic and dramaturgical writing was suggested and supported by the energy dimension created by the dancers while elaborating the compositional practices involved in the work. There is always an extremely fragile tightrope among them. Their professionalism, their skills, and the passion they showed for the work were a constant source if inspiration. Like in Kudoku, also in Still the dancers are called to rebuild and live together each single time as if it were the first time, a collective ascent since the very beginning: in both works the internal element of risk is very strong. Together with the dramaturg Enrico Pitozzi we worked a lot in order to lead the pièce and the dancers in this direction.
Dan Kinzelman initially worked with Emanuele Lomello, an interaction designer who used EEG helmets and specific softwares to get data and frequencies from the dancers and from their experimenting this practice. These data were necessary for Dan and for the musical composition, because like in Kudoku, but in a different way, the musical course in Still directs the energy flow of the dancers.
You are also the director of a permanent research and composition laboratory, Il corpo intuitivo (“The intuitive body”) and hold many seminars on dance. On the basis of your experience, and also as a teacher, what sort of advice would you give to a young dancer or choreographer?
The permanent research and laboratory Il Corpo Intuitivo arises from the desire to share and develop, together with all those willing to do so, movement and choreographic compostiton practices which I have had the chance to test and verify over time through several creations. Being on the floor with the dancers thrills me. The lab is very diversified in terms of proposals, and is made up not only of dancers but also of actors, painters, architects. For me, the lab is above all a chance for sharing, a moment of exchange, a space dedicated to the development of the creative self.
To a young dancer, I would give the same advice I have always given to myself: be open and curious, determined and passionate. I think it is important to carry on your work with total honesty and freedom, cast a light on the current darkness and acknowledge your worth every day.
This is your second participation to NID Platform. What do you expect from the 2017 edition?
I think that NID is a good chance to present your work to a number of important professionals. I hope I have the chance to meet many of them, and I hope that they can meet my work.
After attending the Rotterdam Dance Academy, he began working with international choreographers (Bruno Listopad, Felix Ruckert, Virgilio Sieni etc). Since 2007, he has presented his creations in National/international festivals. Starting in 2010 his productions have been included in the network “Anticorpi XL”, and he presented his work internationally. In 2010 he was invited to participate at “Transforme” under the artistic direction of Myriam Gourfink at the Fondation Rouya-mont. In 2012 his work TROIS CORPS was selected to perform at DNA Romaeuropa Festival and in 2013 he was a finalist in the Premio Equilibrio Roma. He worked with the company EASTMAN (Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui). ROCK ROSE WOW (2013), the first production of his own dance company, was supported by Movin‘Up and the prize ‘Teatri del Tempo Presente’. L.A.N.D. WHERE IS MY LOVE? (2014) was awarded the production prize “COLLABORACTION”. He danced with internationally renowned musicians/composers including Kai Gleusteen, Ezio Bosso, F.Romano and his work is supported by festivals and National/international dance centers. KU-DOKU (2016) with the musician Dan Kinzelman, debuted at the International Contemporary Dance Festival – La Biennale di Venezia and was selected by AEROWAVES TWENTY17. STILL (2017), received the Prospettiva Danza Prize 2016. STILL is part of the project “STILL Body Experience with Digital Brain with the support of Compagnia di San Paolo.
Interview by Lisa Cadamuro, NID Platform staff
Translation by Chiara Andreola, NID Platform staff