I am Beautiful
4° step from the project Transiti Humanitatis
and idea by Nello Calabrò and Roberto Zappalà
choreography and direction Roberto Zappalà
original music by Puccio Castrogiovanni
live played by Lautari: Puccio Castrogiovanni (electric mandolin, kankl?s, percussions, sound effects, voice)
Salvo Farruggio (drums, cajon and percussions), Marco Corbino (guitars, cajon), Gionni Allegra (bass, guitars, cajon, voice), Salvatore Assenza (wind-instruments, cajon)
dance and collaboration to the construction Maud de la Purification, Filippo Domini, Alberto Gnola, Sonia Mingo, Gaetano Montecasino, Adriano Popolo Rubbio, Fernando Roldan Ferrer, Claudia Rossi Valli, Valeria Zampardi
Set, light and costumes Roberto Zappalà
Costumes assistant and realization Debora Privitera
Tecnical director Sammy Torrisi
Sound engeneer Gaetano Leonardi
Sound editing Salvo Noto
Production and management Maria Inguscio
a production by Scenario Pubblico/Compagnia Zappalà Danza Centro di Produzione della Danza
the project transiti Humanitatis has been realized in collaboration with
ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival
Teatro Comunale Claudio Abbado di Ferrara
Teatro Garibaldi /Union des Théatres de lEurope (Palermo)
Teatro Massimo Bellini (Catania)
With the support of
Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali
and Regione Siciliana Ass.to del Turismo, dello Sport e dello Spettacolo
Worlpremière 18 March 2016 Teatro Comunale Claudio Abbado, Ferrara (I)
I am beautiful is the latest step of Roberto Zappalà’s ongoing project Transiti Humanitatis, which launched in 2014.
In Zappalà’s translation, the studia humanitatis, a field of 13th9-century classical studies, are clearly the study of the body and movements transfigured into a choreographic universe, in which the natural beauty of the body is a founding element and inevitable transit. The subtext is always that “it is necessary to have a body in order to find a soul”. (1)
Everything begins and everything ends with the body. The beauty of the body, its role as a secular sanctuary of humanity, must be defended and encouraged in a world where beauty, bodies and secularism are increasingly disrespected.
The title of the performance comes from the sculpture by Rodin, which is in turn inspired by the first verse of the poem La Beauté by Baudelaire: “Je suis belle, ô mortels! comme un rêve de pierre”. The dream of stone is transfigured into movement, by means of a language whose grammar and syntax are found in the nerves and joints, in trembles and jerks.
In I am beautiful, Zappalà abandons almost every dramaturgical fiction, every scenic pretence, and eviscerates and exalts the language of his company. The fundamental characteristic of the dance is thus a viscerality of the sort experienced in the rural world, that is to say as something natural, familiar and everyday. (1)
The languages that are on show, the deformed faces, the unbalanced bodies challenging the law of gravity, in a rigorous, scenically scarified choreographic design: these are some of the aspects that make the dance hit the spectator’s nervous system directly rather than the brain – much as Bacon does with painting. (2)
In I am beautiful, the dance speaks in the third person, through the bodies of the dancers. It declares itself beautiful, and as it affirms itself, it becomes aware that the beauty it aims to achieve is never a response or a solution but always a question and an incessant seeking. It is as if uncertainty – including the uncertainty of beauty – were at the basis of all dance.
The contemporary nature of the resulting choreography arises from the exaltation of this uncertainty, an approach of suggesting rather than affirming.
In the journey from the stage to the audience and back again, the platforms that lead the dance to its destination are simplicity and rigour, viscerality and uncertainty. In I am beautiful, these four characteristics come together to provide a synonym for beauty.
(1) From “Soltanto” by Jan Twardowski
(2) John Berger “Presentarsi all’appuntamento”
Photos by Franziska Strauss, Giuseppe Distefano, Marco Caselli Nirmal