year 2023 duration 65'

new creation by Roberto Zappalà for 6-8 dancers

site-specific avant-première | 16 July 2023 | Archeological Site of Solacium | Armonie d’Arte Festival

première | 13 October 2023 | Teatro Verdi of Gorizia | Visavì Festival

direction and choreography Roberto Zappalà | an idea by Nello Calabrò and Roberto Zappalà |

dancers Compagnia Zappalà Danza

music David Lang

a coproduction by Scenario Pubblico |Compagnia Zappalà Danza/Centro di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale and Fondazione Luzzati Teatro della Tosse (Genova) and TPE Fondazione Teatro Piemonte Europa (Torino)

in collaboration with Armonie d’Arte Festival, Visavì Dance Festival, Teatro Ristori di Verona, Teatro Comunale Modena

with the support of MiC Ministero della Cultura and Regione Siciliana Ass.to del Turismo, dello Sport e dello Spettacolo

After the creation ‘Kristo’, based not on a choreographic score but on a body language that accompanies the words developing from “acting”, where the protagonist is a character whose expressive material is not that of a body that dances but of a body that expresses its states of mind, Zappalà with this new creation, makes a powerful return to his dance full of creative contradictions, with flavours that are carnal and delicate, musical and yet atonal, erotic and explosive, but also poetic and intimate.

This new creation takes inspiration from the wonderful atmospheres of David Lang’s music, such as the voices from the 2007 play The Little Match Girl Passion, Pulitzer Prize winner for music in 2008.

These voices create a striking work of sound, with sacred atmospheres originally inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Match Girl, and which certainly make a reference to Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

In the new creation there will be no mention of Andersen’s fairy tale. The absolute protagonist is the pure, abstract dance. The inspiration also comes to Zappalà indirectly from Bach and his St. Matthew Passion, and from the passion itself as the ultimate suffering that Christ and humanity, every man, every woman, (and every little matchmaker) carries.


Cultus is born out of an urge and out of a challenge.

The urge felt by the artist, his need, to compare two languages in order to emphasise not only their contiguity and points of contact, but also and above all their rifts and differences; a comparison that is also a clash between two forms of expression, which Zappalà has addressed in many ways in his artistic career.

The challenge (which is also a bet with himself, with his work and his artistic career) is to transform what in the previous creation was considered dramaturgical and textual language into pure dance.

A structured choreographic score vigorously resurfaces out of the scenic material that was already present in the previous creation.

The new show enacts the transfiguration of a dramaturgy into emotional pictures of pure dance, while proposing a choreographic journey that travels from the suffering caused by torture to the happiness of resurrection.

A journey consisting of various stages, moving transitions where the bodies of the dancers pass through and immerse themselves in various states of abandonment, tenderness, joy, ecstasy – of poetry.

While in the previous production the presence of the words bearing a ‘real’ meaning anchors the performance to the here and now, in Cultus the physicality of the dance, its transcendence of the referential, achieves the result of making the spectator navigate in a ‘fluid’ place, where losing track of time and simultaneously feeling part of something challenging and exciting is a unique sensory experience. The bodies of the dancers, women and men, abandon themselves to a continuous movement that, through the bodies of the dancers and their relationships, brings to the stage the “passions” of individuals and multitudes.

Using the “mean” that is most appropriate for a choreographic elaboration, the human body, the creation is entirely part of the Transiti Humanitatis project that has characterised Zappalà’s artistic journey for many years.