Dance has always been able to surmount barriers, rub out frontiers, and overcome prejudices. This is why I have chosen the “wall” as a symbol of this year’s Ravello Dance Festival, the second I have directed. My intention is to show how dance manages to fill the gaps between ideological, religious and social differences and reveal the fragility of our preconceptions by breaking down the walls that separate us.
This is the power of art which, against al the apprehensions and fears of our times, still opposes all attempts to make us alike, founded as it is on the idea of different worlds living together through the language of the body and of movement.
It is no coincidence that dance has always been a territory which has welcomes the “migrants” of culture, making of their arrival a resource, transforming confrontation and fusion into the genetic code of its life.
The opening night sees the first ever performance of The Wall, with choreography by Karole Armitage, and one of the greatest contemporary artists, Francesco Clemente, painting the choreography live, a, idyllic garden where “one might live but also devastate”, while the voice of Alba Clemente (his wife, also the costume designer) recites verses by the Greek poet Kavafis. In this work walls make us think of the violence of the conflicts in our contemporary world. And part of the music, not by chance, is the unforgettable music of Pink Floyd.
Balanchine in the dark, in the first part of the evening, is a symbolic appreciation of the unique talent of the choreographer, who migrates here from the romantic ballet of the 19th century. If he had not undergone his voyage – from Russia to America – by sea, the “most liquid of walls”, we would today have no American ballet style. An all-American touch, in a paso doble which plays homage to the creations of George Balanchine, the founder of the New York City and American Ballet, danced by two soloists of the two companies led by the primo ballerino Daniel Ulbricht. The first day of the Festival will see the inauguration of the exhibition – a special project – which Francesco Clemente has dedicated to the theme, by bringing to Ravello his lowering curtains, as symbol and “artistic place” of refuge and migration.
Marie Chouinard, the subversive Canadian choreographer and new director of the Venice Dance Biennale, expressed the theme of the ‘wall’ with a personal return to her masterpiece Le sacre du printemps. In which the bodies of the dancers, covered in spines and quills, become a metaphor of strenuously searched-for protection from lunar primitivism, which erupts powerfully, erotically and spiritually all at the same time. Chouinard will also bring to us again his Les 24 Préludes de Chopin, during a period of residency with the dancers of our training project Abballamm’!.
For the first time at Ravello, the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin brings his Batsheva Dance Company, praised by the New York Timed as “one of the greatest choreographers at the head of one of the best companies in the world”. Naharin’s experiences in life have enabled him to break down many walls: born in a kibbutz together with his autistic twin, he invented a truly alternative language for himself, and this has become his way of expressing himself artistically. Today, Naharin is a cultural emblem of his country, the famous inventor of the “Gaga” method, symbol of that positive Israeli creativity which attempts to build bridges and find solutions. In his performance of Decadence in Ravello, Naharin will lead us into his best-known creations.
At the Paris Opéra, 11 of the foreigners in the company are of Italian origin. Les Italiens de l’Opéra de Paris is a new company, directed by Alessio Carbone. At Ravello they will dance Petit and Bournonville, Balanchine and Garnier, the traditional repertoire of the great French opera house. And also, to close the dance programme, a new choreography committed for the Festival which has been entitles Bread and Roses, from the title of a wonderful film by Ken Loach with the music, among others, of the French composer Pierre-Yves Macé, who has brought together over 150 emigration themes of songs in a unique musical work in collaboration with the Paris Museum of Immigration. A relay of two Italian talents: Matteo Levaggi and Simone Valastro. Costumes by that icon of fashion Christian Lacroix. World and Land, diversity and uniqueness become the guidelines which continue to mark Abballamm’!, the training dance programme project which enables talented dancers in the Campania Region to work with choreographers of the Festival within a network of well-known professionals. This year the special partnership is between the Academy of Dance and the Sareyyet Ramallah/Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity. Their work will contribute much to the futures of participants.
Walls to break down again. Always.
This year, a special partnership is that between the Academy of Dance and the Sareyyet Ramallah/Palestine International Award for Excellence and Creativity. It will show that futures can be changed.
And about walls. They must be demolished. Always.
Danza \ Tendenze e nuovi linguaggi \ Progetti speciali \ Formazione