PATRIA (HOMELAND)

year 2013 duration 60'
(third step from the production 2013 “Sudvirus”)
an idea by Nello Calabrò e Roberto Zappalà
choreography  Roberto Zappalà

dancers Gaetano Badalamenti, Maud de la Purification, Alain El Sakhawi, Roberto Provenzano, Fernando Roldan Ferrer, Ilenia Romano, Valeria Zampardi
lights and costumes Roberto Zappalà
choreographer assistants Daniela Bendini and Paola Valenti
music various – sound effects Salvo Noto
photos Alfredo Anceschi

a production by Compagnia Zappalà Danza/Scenario Pubblico Centro di Produzione della Danza
in collaboration with GoteborgsOperan Danskompani, Civitanova Danza/Amat and Fondazione Nazionale della Danza (Reggio Emilia)
with the support of Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali and Regione Siciliana Ass.to al Turismo, Sport e Spettacolo
worldpremière: 2 May 2013 Fonderia/Fondazione Nazionale della Danza (Reggio Emilia – Italy)

Four years have elapsed since Roberto Zappalà first staged his original production in 2013. His new creation of 2017 has allowed him to wholly revisit his production Anticorpi (Antibodies) now entitled Patria (Homeland). Zappalà changed the title of his choreography to give prominence and relevance on stage to the status quo of the time, and redefine the notion of homeland in light of the new status quo in which “globalisation and immigration are bringing to the fore the fragility of democracies and liberal values as populist movements destabilize its political and social foundations.”

The choreographic style develops convulsively and meticulously as the company’s dancers’ move around the stage/slide to execute and transmit the chaotic appearance of microscopic viruses. The chaos is organised to reflect real life and dancers scatter away from the centre of stage before returning to it in search of moorings, a safety that not only represents the centre of stage but also their right that has unjustly been denied to them. In a laboratory, contrasting liquids are often used to discover and follow new paths of matter under analysis. Likewise, in Patria, a Bach prelude and Sicilian tongue-twister repeated as a mantra creep into the percussive, haunting fabric of electronic music to reveal new aesthetic and narrative paths. The production represents belonging through the body and the voice of dancers and through anthems (ultimate symbols of belonging). It represents the inclusivity of belonging by deliberately contrasting national anthems (French, Italian, English) to Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the European Union’s anthem and ultimate expression of fraternity worldwide, as per Schiller’s words ‘you millions I embrace you’).

The Sicilian tongue-twister stands as a caution against ‘national rhetoric’ and plea to vigilance, in which even most seemingly mundane actions, could slowly progress towards catastrophic consequences, like in comedies such as Laurel and Hardy. A caution to us all in our day-to-day lives and plea to never forget the ending of Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, seeking to recognize “who and what”, in the midst of inferno/the world that surrounds are, “are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space”.

Patria compared to Antibodies thus reinforces Sudvirus’ original representation of belonging, along with the next stage of the project Transiti Humanitatis (Passageways of Humanity). It conveys belonging not merely as exclusivity but also participation, because homeland is in the singular but should always be pluralized along with the word humanity. Indeed, to a certain extent we are all exiles and “homeland is not a physical place but a mobile need” (Richard Sennett, The foreigner).