Someone even symbolically waited for the stroke of 00.01 of June 15 to give life to the first live show in Italy in the phase of recovery of a sector heavily penalized by the pandemic. It was done at the Experimental Theatre of Pesaro, by Amat, the Circuit of the Marche, with 100 spectators (out of 500) well spaced and a single performer on stage: Ascanio Celestini. The star actor and narrator repeated his Underground Radio, a cult show, now in its twentieth year of life, which runs from the tragic memory of the Nazi occupation to the Fosse Ardeatine.
Long before, last May, in the heart of a COVID-19 even more quivering than it is now, a choreographer, Michele Di Stefano, rightly argued that all possible structures could be exploited, keeping them open to allocating them for a research project "containing in itself all the questions relating to our difficult time", and inviting the audience to steps in various theaters, without seats. Therefore, not to attend to events, to completed works, but, precisely, to research, remaining at a distance and maybe “with a blanket on one’s head", savoring a risk that the theater “nevertheless contains in itself".
The intelligent wish has remained unheard of. However, we will find Di Stefano in one of the few really summer festivals: the ones not moved in autumn and of which we have the programs. "Bolzano Danza" entitled for the occasion Eden-Dance for a spectator, will offer from 15 to 31 July the occasion of a "tu per tu" between the stage and the stalls of the Municipal Theatre of South Tyrol. Accustomed to full-bodied staging for 35 years, the festival has done, in its 36th edition, of necessity virtue, returning to the origins of a unique and personal dimension for those who will find themselves alone in the vast audience and of course will be able to choose which of the three events continuously repeated, they will be able to pay their attention to, or to the entire trio. The famous Carolyn Carlson melts the ice with Eden of Carolyn and two performers on stage, followed by Eden secondo Michele (by Di Stefano, in fact) with six performers and finally Eden selon Rachid, another duet for Rachid Ouramdane, French choreographer of Algerian origins. With 30 performances per day (from 11 in the morning to 22.30 in the evening) the three choreographies with a maximum duration of 10 minutes will have 5 slots each and, last but not least, will be free, upon reservation required.
The majestic "Ravenna Festival" (21June-30 July) chooses the duets, but between joint dancers/spouses that eventually can also embrace themselves. This year, despite the move to the Rocca Brancaleone (300 seats against 3500 in Pala Mauro De André…) but also a program that extends to Cervia and Lugo, the festival does not seem to suffer any particular low stomach pain, at least in the starting ranks…With forty events mostly musical - Ravenna is the reign of Maestro Riccardo Muti who, among other things, right at the Rocca Brancaleone, on July 1, 1990, inaugurated the first edition of the festival now at its XXXI showcase.
Concerts alternate with the young Orchestra Cherubini, founded by the great conductor who will be led by Muti also for the concert of Friendship, replicated in the Archaeological Park of Paestum, and for the evening with Tamás Varga, the cellist of the Wiener Philharmoniker, as well as by another great conductor, Valery Gergiev, for a tribute to Beethoven, whose 250th anniversary is celebrated.
For the rest, the festival radiates in one hundred and more sound directions: from songwriters to folk, to music for the cinema and the musical (Jesus Christ Superstar fifty years after his debut, but according to the Piano Variations by Stefano Bollani). There is room for a bit of theater and a single occasion for ballet, the sector everywhere most penalized, if life, for its need for contact bodies. But here the obstacle has arisen with the debut of two new productions, born during the lockdown, to transform social distancing into potential. On the one hand, the marriage between music and dance unites great soloists - the cellist Mario Brunello and the pianist Beatrice Rana - and étoiles, between steps that involve the "stable affections" of couples of art and life (Silvia Azzoni and Alexandre Ryabko of the Hamburg Ballet, Iana Salenko and Marian Walter of the Berlin Opera) and solos entrusted to Hugo Marchand of the Paris Opéra, Sergio Bernal, former National Ballet of Spain and Matteo Miccini of the Stuttgart Ballet. So on July 18, at the Rocca Brancaleone, will be staged Duets and Solos - Beatrice Rana and Mario Brunello with the Stars of Dance, for the care of the organizer Daniele Cipriani who however offered the same program the night before - with choreographies by Michel Fokin, Jerome Robbins, Antonio Ruiz Soler, Roland Petit, John Neumeier, Ricardo Cue, Uwe Scholz, Edward Clug, Kristina Borbelyova and Sergio Bernal himself - at the second, reborn edition of the International Ballet Festival of Nervi (17 July-2 August).
Born in 1955 from the genius of Mario Porcile (1921-2013), a man of culture and strong curiosity, this festival framed in the magnificent Parks of Nervi, temples of flora and fauna of unchanged charm. For thirty years it remained an obligatory reference for dance fans that Porcile never failed to show modern, folk, and exotic chorographical expressions with an open mind unfortunately still rare today. After him, the festival fell and got up again and again but never reached the fullness of the beginnings. Now the Teatro Comunale of Genoa takes care of it with a twofold path - after all its current name is "Festival del Balletto e della Musica di Nervi" and this year it has in store: Eleonora Abbagnato in Love, a first solo created by Giuliano Peparini (July 29) and more a curiosity (August 1st) *The Creatures of Prometheus - The Creatures of Capucci *on Beethoven's music in the performance of the Carlo Felice Theatre Orchestra, with the stage movements of Simona Bucci, in a national preview.
The debut, in fact, will be on August 28 at the Festival of the Two Worlds of Spoleto, more explicit in telling that this event, brought in Piazza del Duomo in Spoleto, just by the Carlo Felice Foundation, will present The Creatures of Prometheus - The Creatures of Capucci in the form of a scenic concert. On the one hand, we will approach Beethoven with his Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43, the only ballet in three acts set to music by Ludwig van between 1800 and 1801 - and among other things intended for the great choreographer Salvatore Viganò who made his debut at the Burgtheater in Vienna on 28 March 1801, on the other hand, Roberto Capucci. Master of international haute couture, an innovator in the style "able to communicate clothes with nature and architecture", Capucci will be here the protagonist with a series of sketches, say from Spoleto, with a strong visual impact. It will be up to the stage movements of Simona Bucci to combine such precious music and fashion closes to art. So even the Festival of Spoleto does not give up the front row, albeit in a reduced form: eight days of programming (20-23 and 27-30 August 2020) and as many shows that will be held at the Roman Theatre and Piazza Duomo, for maximum capacity, 250 and 400 seats respectively. High-sounding names alternate between directors, musicians, actors, but for the dance remains the anniversary of the 250 years since the birth of Beethoven, once again organized by Cipriani.
Returning to the area of contemporary dance from which we started, it is worth mentioning the multiform "Kilowatt Festival", born in 2003 (this year 21-26 July) from the evocative and auspicious title Journey to the end of the night. Among many proposals also meeting the public, which in part revolve around Roberto Latini, actor, author, director, will marry the dance and immediately will place it in Piazza Torre Di Berta in Sansepolcro, its beautiful location, known for being the birthplace of Piero della Francesca, with the Berliner Frantics Dance Company. At the start in 2013, winner of Danza Urbana XL2020 with its mix of b-boying, acrobatics, hip-hop and breakdance (20 July) this Company is paired on the same day in Manbuhsa, the first show of the Italian-Swiss Company Ivona, founded in 2019: selected by the Anticorpi network, it won "Twain Direzioni-Altre" and the audience award at the choreographic Certamen in Madrid. Pablo Girolami, choreographer and performer is involved, along with Giacomo Todeschi, in a duet that from childhood passes to courtship almost animal and instinctive: of cranes and spiders, for example.
With Stretchin' One’s Arms Again by Lucrezia G. Gabrieli and with Sofia Magnani the painter Mark Rothko enters the field, or rather his suggestion of color in the liveliness of Mozart’s music in a preview of July 21. Instead, the debut of the talented Stefania Tansini in Refreshment Points (22 July), all leaning towards the search for an ecstasy strongly desired, coincides, in the same evening, with his presumable technological opposite: T.I.N.A., There Is No Alternative by Giselda Ranieri in collaboration with Sandro Mabellini, a magma of online connections in which "you risk losing your compass".
With Bambula Project, a Company born in London in 2015, thanks to Gabriella Catalano and Paolo Rosini, will be presented at Kilowatt 2020 Oriri, playing the same Rosini with Chiara Tosti. The duet won the Tendance Award 2019: combines dance, poetry, visual art under the aegis of a title that in Latin means "rise" (July 23). On the last day of the festival Sorry but I feel slightly Disidentified by Benjamin Kahn, entrusted to the dancer Cherish Menzo, questions the boundaries and stereotypes of gender identity. And while the famous French choreographer Jérôme Bel, known for his live and/or "resurrected" portraits, will have Elizabeth Schwartz and Chiara Gallerani dance in Isadora Duncan, it will be up to Salvo Lombardo, at the head of the Chiasma Company, close the dance section of the festival with Outdoor Dance Floor a Dj set performance in which will be the interpreter with Daria Greco, between video and sound impulses of live-set multimedia.
Like Kilowatt, the historic Festival of Santarcangelo, founded in 1970, no longer makes clear and inappropriate distinctions between spectacular disciplines. This year focuses on an emergency edition of only five days (15-19 July) in various open and unexpected locations. Yet, it gave itself a high-sounding title perhaps ironic but decisive: Fantastic Future. With the wanted and sought-after help of the inhabitants, technicians, volunteers it aims to emphasize gender and racial discrimination, the difficult conditions of many non-commercial Italian artists, and the neo-fascist escapes of the moment. Also here we will find, and indeed in preview, the Disidentified by Benjamin Kahn and Cherish Menzo and, for a dialogue with the territory, Four lessons on the political body and the care of distance, a project-workshop created ad hoc for the festival by Virgilio Sieni on the forms of transmission, participation, and vision. Other events not to be missed will be: Be Water My Friends, workshop of Mara Oscar Cassiani on group dances; The treatment of waves by Claudia Castellucci, future "Silver Lion" at the Biennale Dance in October, with teaching for a new sport discipline for girls and boys between 8 and 12 years of age, followed by a "dance given for the public", plus Energheia a site-specific version of the dancer/choreographer Paola Bianchi, with music composed and performed live by Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo. There will also be online links, but this 50th edition of the Festival pandemic, which also focused on the original version on the dialogue between cinema and theater, has not given up. The town of Santarcangelo will be transformed into an expanded film set thanks to the Filmmaker Festival in Milan, in collaboration with Fuori Orario on Rai 3. Moreover, the team with the project Transfert for Kamera will invite to the festival five young Italian directors, girls or boys, of the experimental film scene, to make portraits of some of the artists in the program and translate them into short documentaries (which will also compose a special episode of Fuori Orario on Rai 3, dedicated to the Festival, aired on Saturday, July 25).
Finally, "XL" was the formula originally designed for the 40 years of Drodesera and the 20 of “Centrale Fies " which is now entitled Collective training to thought, action, now, a title to be stolen. The pandemic has scaled it down in an investigation of an "out-of-format" festival that breaks the tradition of the summer one-shot weaving all the annual events in various chapters already exposed and/or still fair. On the weekends (17 July-8 August) Hyperlocal - life and on life reports Michele Di Stefano and mk with Bermudas (already reviewed here), and launches the talented performer Chiara Bersani in Cordata, Alessandro Sciarroni, already Golden Lion at the Biennale Danza 2019, in Turning_Orlando’s version, Jacopo Jenna in Some Choreographies, the Kinetic Collective with Alessandro Sciarroni in Third Dialogue: in a Landscape and Marco D'Agostin in Dear N. But we would not like to forget the multi-faceted and multidisciplinary Venetian collective Anagoor, born in 2000, in Mephistopheles/eine Grand Tour. After debuting on July 2 at the Courtyard of Honor of Palazzo Reale for the “Napoli Teatro Festival Italy” and elsewhere, it will bounce also to “Centrale Fies” just to make more graceful that "We will be together as in a dream", chosen as an epigraph of this performative chapter. July and August will therefore not be devoid of dance, physical theater, interdisciplinary hybrids, circus, and much-exposed body with prudence. It starts again in September and October but this is another reality - COVID-19 allowing - and we cannot tell.