And what if choreography was about making rules, exceptions included, and sowing clues? And what if dancers were above all a social group? The answer is given by Ambra Senatore and her little theatre of life, testing the possibilities of filmic effects. And what if the audience got involved?
What avenues did you explore for this piece?
When I was creating Passo, in 2009-2010, I developed methods of composition with my company. These methods were created at the time to work on the presence and unity of the group, but I found another use for the methodology which stirred my desire to go deeper, and with a larger group. We could say that this work is based on rules, a bit like in a game. That first desire led to others which emerged while creating the next pieces, in particular the desire to construct a uni!ed dramaturgy which is made of accumulations and evolving clues that reveal their meaning as the piece unfolds. This construction by means of clues wasn’t inspired by the cinema, but I do see now that it resembles cinematographic modes of editing and treating time and action.
How did these rules and actions take shape on the stage?
Your choreographic style includes a very theatrical dimension. What have been your references, in either dance or theatre?
I often use the image of a sponge which soaks up everything that comes its way: any life experience, be it direct or indirect, becomes part of one’s heritage. I’m not sure I’m fully conscious of what has influenced my work. There were many important encounters; I certainly couldn’t list them all here. But there are two names I should mention: Roberto Castello and Raffaella Giordano who trained me, taught me to be on a stage and to follow a theatrical drift. I think Pina Bausch had a decisive influence on her followers. One way or another, I think we are all influenced by her work, whether we choose to follow or reject her path. The first performance I remember is in fact Ifigenia in Tauride. Postmodern dance, or “non dance”, along with the Dadaists and Kantor, are a reference, among many others. I don’t really see a difference or boundaries between dance and theatre; I generally tend to speak of the performing arts. My figures of reference have all asserted and shown in their work that there is no such boundary.
In 2004, you wrote a thesis on Italian contemporary dance, you taught at the University of Milan and danced for various companies before becoming a choreographer. What was your training?
When I was six years old, I went to private school, which is pretty common in Italy. I had dance class every a"ernoon: modern, classical and jazz dance. What I enjoyed was the work on interpreting and acting. Everything changed when I discovered contemporary dance at university, especially during my Erasmus year in France, at the end of the 1990s. I began seeing as many shows as I could. Seeing more, more and more performances... I think that seeing so many shows was a large part of my training. I worked for two years with a hip hop company which was touring with a nightclub singer, and I learned a lot from that, too. It helped me to “shift” my habits as a dancer. In fact, I think I was hired because I didn’t know anything about hip hop and because I was a misfit, in my movements and in my appearance.
Was dance important in your family culture?
There was no real dance culture in Italy. And there still isn’t. But my parents went to plays and concerts. For them, intellectual aspects are always connected to the concrete aspects of life, to practical activities. Both of them, each in their own way, are very creative. My father is a doctor at a public hospital (by choice) and he loves nature and people, in general; my mother is a neuro-psychiatrist and is very sensitive to people’s state of mind, and she observes a great deal from their body language. I think that, above all, they taught me that relationships are central to our existence. For me, they are also central to creativity.
"It is as if you were watching under a microscope the little things that bring us all together. But I’ll do this by shifting the perspectives and observing in a different way the things that lend themselves to humour, or even to the surreal."
Piece for 9 dancers — 2014 — Run time 1h15
Chorégraphe : Ambra Senatore
Assistant : Tommaso Monza — Sur scène : Ambra Senatore, Caterina Basso, Claudia Catarzi, Elisa Ferrari, Simona Rossi, Matteo Ceccarelli, Pieradolfo Ciulli, François Brice, Romain Bertet — Lumières : Fausto Bonvini — Musique : Igor Scavolino — Organisation : Marta Belforte — Comptabilité : Céline Clerc — Producteur : Jacques Maugein — Remerciement à Andrea Roncaglione et Mikel Aristegui
Spectacle présenté avec la participation exceptionnelle de la région Rhône-Alpes — Accueil : Le Toboggan - Décines, Biennale de la danse
Production Compagnie EDA – Coproduction Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2014, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris, Scène Nationale de Besançon, MC2: Grenoble, Festival Torinodanza, ALDES, L’Arc Scène Nationale du Creusot, Centre Culturel André Malraux Scène Nationale de Vandoeuvre-Lès-Nancy, Théâtre Louis Aragon – Tremblay-en-France, Château Rouge - Annemasse, Le Phare CCN du Havre, Ballet de l’Opéra National du Rhin - CCN de Mulhouse, La Comédie de Valence – CDN Drôme-Ardèche, DSN Dieppe Scène Nationale – Avec le soutien du Ministère de la culture et de la communication - DRAC Franche-Comté - Aide au projet 2014, de la Région Franche-Comté, du Conseil Général du Doubs, de La Saline Royale d’Arc et Senans
Spectacle présenté avec la participation exceptionnelle de la région Rhône-Alpes.
Photo © Olimpio Mazzorana - Portrait © Viola Berlanda