di Laura Valente
Danza / Formazione / Mostre / Tendenze e Nuovi Linguaggi
1968-2018. Fifty years ago, the Americans bombed Vietnam, students in Paris set fire to the boulevards, the Italian artists of the Venice Biennale covered up their paintings in protest, declaiming words like “openness, research, democratization of culture”. A few years before, Peggy Guggenheim arrived in Venice, bringing with her to Italy American pop art and anticipating the revolutionary three days of Arte Povera più Azioni Povere /1968 in Amalfi, where Germano Celant, Marcello and Lia Rumma used materials such as iron and wood, plastic, rags and industrial waste put together in surprisingly original ways. So began the trespassing process “from painting to the environment”, and performances and happenings became the means of artistic expression and civil commitment, the fight for gender equality and innovative codes, all influencing the decades to come.
It is to this ‘spirit’ – its symbols and icons, legitimate (and illegitimate) children – that this year’s Ravello dance festival is dedicated. We begin on 4 July with Bill T. Jones, the symbol of contact-dance, a choreographer whose powerful, bitter work is the emblem of civil commitment focusing on the fight against racial and religious prejudice (“I want to make clear my point of view on life, rights, what I think about them, which side I’m on”). The New York Times called him “One of the irreplaceable treasures of America”. His Ravello Festival work is /Time : Study II 2018, which includes his Abballamm’! project, the crowning work of a three-year period of development in residence with invited artists and which at this year’s Festival sees the debut of young talents of Campania on the stage with the soloists of the American company. The 5th of July will be a day of happenings/performances entitled 1968/See me, feel me (titled as a homage to The Who’s Tommy, the first rock opera in history, with the dancers of Abballamm’! singing and dancing in the piazza with the by-now musical “classics” of the age before the debut, in the Auditorium designed by Oscar Niemeyer, of two new Festival productions; Antonello Tudisco’s Act of Mercy and Michela Barasciutti’s Peggy untitled 2013-2018 (a work inspired by the Guggenheim collection in Venice). If any artist can be called a symbol of the third millennium, it must be Wayne McGregor, whose style blends dance and the visual arts, technology and science. This British director and choreographer, the “most appreciated” according to The Times, brings to Ravello Icons (7 July), which, among others, relates works praised by the critics such as Autobiography (the human genome is made up of twenty-three chromosomes: McGregor asked two genetists to sequence his, then turned the sequence into an algorithm with the same number of choreographies) and Woolf Works, inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf. One of the protagonists is the étoile Alessandra Ferri, one of the greatest Italian dancers. The South African Dada Masilo was brought up in the township of Soweto before achieving success with the poetic reworking of classics of romantic ballet. “In my ballets I disclose violence, arrogance and nudity. None of these can be permitted, justified or tolerated.” At Ravello, in her “Giselle” (with ‘drawings’ by William Kentridge) she dances out the revenge of a woman against violence on all women, a theme which is at the very centre of public debate. “If God had thought of dance, He would have created Svetlana Zakharova” according to Baryšhnikov. This Ukrainian star, the queen of the Bolshoi, is at the centre of Russian Code, an original work which mixes classics of Fokine and the scathing creations of new stars of choreography such as Vladimir Varnava (29 July). Rudolf Nureyev, the undisputed myth of the 20th century, is paid homage to by the Solists of the Milan Scala 25 years after his death. The 4th of August is an evening which opens with a young Campania choreographer, Luna Cenere, who has been commissioned by the Festival to present a ‘nude’ on-stage portrait of Isadora Duncan (Natural gravitation). Sacred and free art for Isadora, this, which opens up infinite and brand-new paths to change. It is for this reason that we should celebrate all of those of ’68 who still set the spirit and the passions dancing.