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la Biennale di Venezia
Main Visual Sezione Danza EN (new)


Degree Zero

Biennale Dance

30th March > 30th June 2009

Arsenale della Danza
Ismael Ivo - The Waste Land

Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 June, 8:00 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese – Arsenale
repeat performances:
Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 June, 8:00 p.m.

Teatro alle Tese - Arsenale
Arsenale della Danza / Ismael Ivo
The Waste Land - world premiere  [Buy your tickets online]
a choreographic essay inspired on the investigation of senses and physical possession
concept and choreography Ismael Ivo
music Igor Stravinskij “The Rite of Spring”, Andreas Bick “The Waste Land”
scenery and costumes Marcel Kaskeline
choreography assistants Franca Pagliassotto, Karl Schreiner
production assistant Joseph Candeloro
dancers: Arsenale della Danza (Deniz Aygor, Beniamino Borghi, Monika Born, Ivelice Brown, Alessio Calciolari, Sara Catellani, Veronica Cornacchini, Eleonora Folegnani, Valeria Galluccio, Alice Guazzotti, Roberta Maffioletti, Simona Miraglia, Tomoko Ogawa, Reiko Okada, Stefano Roveda)
executive production: La Biennale di Venezia Servizi Spa – Servizi Tecnici per lo Spettacolo
stagehands Giuseppe Avolio, Gianluca Bolla, Matteo Cicogna, Marco Cimatti, Katiuscia Meli, Marco Preatoni, Marco Quagliozzi, Pablo Trujillo
electricians Delio Baoduzzi, Massimo Candiotto, Francesco Citterio, Orazio Li Vigni, Andrea Margarolo, Bruno Pino, Fabio Trotta, Paolo Zanin
sound operators Alessandro Barbina, Rudy Citossi, Igor Del Piccolo
dressmakers Grazia Monelli, Carmen Rambaldi
physiotherapist Fabrizio Murtas
produced by La Biennale di Venezia
with the collaboration of Goethe Institut – Mailand
thanks to Kryolan Italia
The first season of the Arsenale della Danza concludes by bringing to focus teaching and practice under the Masters invited over the past few months, with the creation of a performance under the director and choreograph, Ismael Ivo. The 15 dancers of the Arsenale della Danza, young performers aged between 22 and 30 from Italy, Switzerland, Venezuela, Turkey and Japan will thus have the chance to test their skills and creativity in a truly professional setting.
From this process arises The Waste Land, based on a masterpiece of the early 20th century, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, rendered immortal by Nijinsky, questioning our relationship with our environments in a world increasingly at risk. The celebration of the rite, the return of spring, the joy of the dance all seek a new horizon of meaning. Similarly, the music sees the introduction alongside of the sound-based experiments of the German composer, Andreas Blick, which reproduce noisy natural events by sampling or recording, “the scream of the earth and its disintegration” (I. Ivo), which will accompany Stravinsky’s Rite, which already expressed a barbaric, primitive work, with all its explosion of senses and violence.
This is a creation that seeks the degree zero of movement and of the relationship with the earth to spur the dancers to find a new beginning for today’s tormented world.
Walking, running, falling
A choreography inspired by the exploration of the senses and physical control, which reflects profoundly also on the major problems of our time: the unfettered exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources and the planet’s survival.
The art of dance is a celebration that has always been associated with the joy of movement. But we cannot fail to consider that we are living on a vulnerable planet that is rapidly transforming itself into a place undergoing decay.
Walking, running and falling; we constantly move and at the same time we constantly fall. This is a paradox and a physical action that is linked to the human capacities for survival. We are brutally reminded that a theme such as global warming and climate change have brought the quality of our life cycle to the threshold of a dramatic risk. Life continues and we must move forwards. It is a physical way of thinking. Movement is generated by the inner energies of life and their conflict. Walking, running and falling. To arrive at “ground level”, in a state of Degree Zero. But it is not a matter of thinking but of reacting. A search at the borders of choreographic practice.
Igor Stravinsky described the sudden vision that presented itself to him with these words: “In my imagination, I saw a solemn pagan rite: an old sage, seated within a circle, while he watched a young girl dancing until she dropped dead. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring”.
I feel a strange fascination when I look at the photographs of Sebastião Salgado. The images he has taken in the Serra Pelada, in Brazil, capture the mysterious movement of hundreds of workers digging a gigantic hole to find a gram of gold. Covered in mud from head to foot, these sub-humans or new aliens probably reflect our image. Witnesses of a sort of renewed slavery within a complex and economically troubled society.
In The Waste Land, the starting point is the physical involvement of the body in a ceremony of survival and struggle. It is a rite. A celebration that goes beyond celebration and causes us to reflect on various questions. Our home is a place we call Mother Earth. Are we sure that next spring will arrive? We have changed the periods of the Earth’s fertility. Its populations are wounded by the bloody struggle to grab the planet’s natural resources. The intense use of oil, as though it were “liquid gold”, has led modern society to a point of no return. Indeed, we wait like vultures for the next oil well to exploit. In traditional societies, ritual was central to life. Dance was used to construct meaning. We are still trying to understand the world and our body is one of the most important catalysts. Walking, running, falling. The actions are movements and our way of acting a social ritual. Movement demands responsibility and passion.
Ismael Ivo