Compagnia Zappalà Danza, founded by the choreographer Roberto Zappalà 28 years ago, is today one of the most important dance companies in Italy.
In 2002, with the help of private individuals, the company acquired its own premises, an early-20th-century building in the historic centre of the city of Catania in Sicily. The company was granted European funding to renovate the building, which became Scenario Pubblico, the headquarters of the company and a flagship for contemporary dance in southern Italy.
In 2015 Compagnia Zappalà Danza, together with Scenario Pubblico, has been recognized National Dance Production Centre by the Italian Ministry of Culture, one of only four Italian dance companies to be awarded this honour.
Scenario Pubblico has an extremely well-equipped theatre with 150 seats, two dance studios, a café/restaurant, offices and a video archive. It is a complete choreography centre, specialising in contemporary dance and carrying out production, planning, hospitality, training and dissemination activities.
In Scenario Pubblico, the company has a creative context suited to its needs. In the spaces of Scenario Pubblico, the companys new productions take shape, and there are frequently premiers of performances which are then taken on tour internationally.
The structure also supports the search for and production of talented young choreographers and emerging companies, especially within Sicily. Since 2015, the main hospitality activity has been the ACASA artistic residence project, dedicated to emerging or established artists who need a suitably equipped space in which to develop their creations. They can carry out choreographic research either with their own dancers or with the students of MoDem, the company’s advanced dance course.
The frequent shows and other activities have led to the formation of a regular audience, and winter and summer festivals have hosted some of the most important Italian and European companies, with established groups performing side by side with emerging organisations. This has allowed our audiences to have frequent contact with an artistic discipline that was until recently almost absent.
Over the last 13 years, Scenario Pubblico and Compagnia Zappalà Danza have run MoDem, a project created by Roberto Zappalà for young dancers who have finished their training. The participants come from all over the world and are selected in annual auditions in major European cities. They work on contemporary techniques and languages with internationally-renowned guest teachers and choreographers, as well as with Roberto Zappalà and the company itself. They also carry out individual research, with some of them staging their first choreographical projects. During the MoDem course, original creations are commissioned from guest choreographers, who are selected by the artistic and teaching directors, or from the artistic residence project ACASA.
Among its activities, the company provides extensive training for audiences. Every year conferences and seminars are held, in which connections are drawn between contemporary dance and a wide range of social themes. In addition, meetings are held between the performers in each show and the audience.