Il ballo del qua
A project by
Direction and choreography by
MICHELE ABBONDANZA e ANTONELLA BERTONI
TOBIA ABBONDANZA, JACOPO BERTOLDINI, NAIMA FIUMARA, MATILDE LAEZZA, EMILY MANICA, FEDERICO PETROLLI, FRANCESCO PETROLLI,
MARCO DALLARI – DOCENTE DI PEDAGOGIA GENERALE E SOCIALE ALL’UNIVERSITA’ DI TRENTO
Organisation and press office
DALIA MACII e FRANCESCA LEONELLI
With the support of
COMUNE DI ROVERETO – ASSESSORATO ALLA CONTEMPORANEITA’
PROVINCIA AUTONOMA DI TRENTO – SERVIZIO ATTIVITA’ CULTURALI
The children stand upright like stems,
their eyes full of amazement.
This B A M B I N I project by the Abbondanza Bertoni Dance Company goes far beyond being a performance of the finished product for an audience. The real heart of this project lies in the whole creative process of its construction done together with the children.
After holding a dance-theatre course for children for three years we were struck and encouraged by the potential we saw in them and so decided to push ourselves further, following our desire to create an artistic work which managed to “talk” to the adult world through children's bodies.
The childhood world has much to tell us. The possibilities to talk to people through theatre provides children with the chance to both discover and in turn make others discover a new way of perceiving the world. Their words and actions can come as a surprise to us adults who have lost touch a little with childhood inhibitions and expression. We can see that they represent the future but by seeing their youth as a transitional phase, we often fail to realise that their tender age already holds a revolutionary influence on the future.
This project is precious to us, as are the children involved in it. As well as being an ambitious project it also carries that element of transgression which culture thrives off and is always in need of. The project is closely linked to where it was created; theatre is indeed inseparable from the community, being a public event and a base for community life and spirit.
We have always been attracted by the children's irresistible desire to play. Through their play they make us feel intensely alive, make us laugh, feel embarrassed and at the same put us to the test(always!).Their sense of play is: their not knowing how to keep still, heir being so precious, their lies, their ongoing life, their being so beautifully inappropriate. Their conscience and innocence is absolutely sacred, they are void of prejudice and these traits of theirs save us from taking life so seriously.
We have put together a series of pictures disentangled from a story, working closely alongside the astounding abilities of concentration and physical action shown by our young performers.
Continually attracted by our own constant quest to find some “new” form of beauty but paying attention not to work against the childrens' spontaneity and natural abilities, we guided them into a “non-space” within a “non-time” only to find that they themselves guided us back to the here and now. Blindingly obvious really! It was as though they were showing us that we will be lost and disarmed if we try to forget or abandon the real and the present.
And so, at every starting point, drawing on our professional ethics of resistance, we listened and watched with bated breath, ready to make mistakes again, like finding our feet suspended in mid air , each movement of balance lasting for one fleeting moment, only to then be swiftly undone.
Watching them work allowed us to question the world(as theatre so often does)and we ourselves, thanks to the children, were able to grasp this instant and fly away with them, more free than we were.
“Qua”(here)is the work of these small children, outlining true humanity, more true than the truth. (A.B.)
IL BALLO DEL QUA. To the audience, to the parents, to the children.
Our “scuola d'azione” is where we started, after thirty years on stage, to try to transmit what we knew(knew how to do).Now, for the first time we open the doors in order to share the purest and most fragile actions of these seven exceptional performers. We always concentrated on letting them play and when the children realised that our own desire to play was even stronger than theirs we decided to start rehearsing. We often asked ourselves what we could have to teach them as they looked back at us so free and proud; we therefore started by looking to teach those who couldn't keep still for a minute about immobility, of the possibility in a theatre to create dark without it being night and daylight without the sun. From this we built small river banks through which streams could flow, free to express their strength, swelling into rivers, taking on a direction, maybe going on one day to wet other unknown and distant lands, far away from the source. By constructing a fence around them we also gave them the freedom to come out of it. Coming in, going out. Left with the choice.
This work is the result of their creativity, of their wish to grow, to get to know, to do. Thanks to the parents with their patience and generosity, to the trust they had in us as they “unconditionally” handed us over what was dearest to them. Thanks to Professor and friend Marco Dallari who “explained” what we instinctively and intuitively were doing and reassured us, with his usual availing rationality, throughout the process. I like to remember my class mates as “upright like stems and with eyes full of amazement” and that the truth, as quoted in “Romanzo d'infanzia” (our production dedicated to children)lies exactly in these upright stems. Bon Voyage! with this magnificent seven, our seven dwarves. This account of the work is both biased and neutral, partly written by a constant pupil(I didn't skip one lesson, I played the part of the tree for all seven to climb up me, they made me feel like Gulliver, at first they were scared to but then came round to subjecting themselves to my terrible challenge of “Don't dare to laugh!”. All this was made possible thanks to the strong anchorage and patience of the teacher (“Nooo!! I've told you a hundred times, don't call me teacher! Antonella!! Call me Antonella!” And if I may I'd like to address my little protagonists directly: Dear Children,
Soon you will grow up and this work, as we thought, will disappear, only to become something else, who knows....maybe to become a surging river. With all the love I can send you. Yours sincerely, The Eighth Dwarf
PS: “There's none wise here, of course not, we're all children..” Before becoming “wise”, a production must be a “child”. A “child” production is one which, having still to grow up, doesn't need to demonstrate anything but just simply has to be, in the full, here and now: in short.. “Here(qua)!” (M.A)
The body doesn't represent human nature in contrast to the mind intended as a place for culture and instrument for our conscience: the body itself, since its definition, is a piece of symbolic and cultural equipment.
Our body and the body of each girl and boy is the sensitive interface which permits and determines our relationship with others and the outside world: for this reason the attention in education which we give to the relationship children have with their body, how they “feel” it and how they use it and its resources is (or should be)one of the most vital aspects in education. This basic pedagogical aspect is however rather neglected, as we well know, both within the educational system where physicality is refused and frustrated, and also in the prevalent extra curricular activities which are monopolised by sports mostly taught in favour of performance level, competitiveness, strength and negatively influenced by role models, glorified by the media, the more negative they are the more they are glorified.
The educative value of a dance workshop correctly set out and run, forms without doubt one of the most ideal prospects for a correct physical education, attentive towards an integrated and well balanced growth of the psychological-physical development in children and the young. Marco Dallari
This Abbondanza Bertoni Company Production was not foreseen for a child audience.
First part – Enfant Terrible – Centrale Fies – Dro (TN)
Italian debut - Auditorium Melotti – Rovereto;
Castello Pasquini – Festival Inequilibrio – Castiglioncello (LI);
Festival Bolzano danza - Teatro Comunale di Bolzano.
Teatro Cuminetti – Trento;
Teatro I.Nieri – Ponte a Moriano (LU).