Tristi Tropici
Venice - Belgrade - Berlin, 10,11 June 2010 - 18,19 September 2010 - 21 December 2010

10 June, 8 p.m. and 11 June, 10 p.m.
Teatro Piccolo Arsenale
Tristi Tropici (2010, 60’)  [world premiere]
freely inspired by Tristes tropiques  by Claude Lévi-Strauss
concept, choreography, stage sets and lighting Virgilio Sieni
interpretation and collaboration Simona Bertozzi, Ramona Caia, Elsa De Fanti, Dorina Meta, Michela Minguzzi
original music by Francesco Giomi
costumes Lydia Sonderegger
lighting Marco Santambrogio
produced by La Biennale di Venezia, Berliner Festspiele – Spielzeit’europa, Bitef Theatre as part of the ENPARTS - European Network of Performing Arts
with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Commission
in coproduction with the Biennale de la Danse de Lyon, Compagnia Virgilio Sieni
Further performances:
18-19 September, 8 p.m., Bitef Festival, Belgrade
21 December, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin
The creator of some of the most significant research in the field of dance, of which he is one of the protagonists since the 1980s, dancer and choreographer Virgilio Sieni will be in Venice with his company to present the world premiere of his latest work, Tristi tropici. Created as part of the ENPARTS project, the collaborative network set up by the Biennale di Venezia with European festivals and institutions operating in the sector of live performance, Tristi tropici is coproduced by the Biennale di Venezia, Berliner Festspiele - Spielzeit’europa and Bitef Theatre, joined on this occasion by the Compagnia Virgilio Sieni and the Biennale de la Danse de Lyon.
Tristi Tropici takes its inspiration from the eponymous text by Lévi-Strauss of 1955. The book is essentially a travel diary in which Lévi-Strauss noted his impressions, mingled with a series of brilliant considerations about the world in general. The result is an intellectual autobiography in which appear the experience of the traveller, the research in the field and the comparison between modern and primitive societies.
Virgilio Sieni’s work will concentrate on the meaning of the diversity and travel, seeking a possible relationship in the quality of the gestures and differentiation of the characters; at the same time, focus on the appearance of the marginal categories of man from, which to draw the resources for a development based on exchange and beauty.
This is how Virgilio Sieni tells of the genesis of his work: “In the summer of 2008 I was in Avignon, and after discussing dance, couscous and the idleness of the body with Giorgio Agamben, I picked up an essay he wrote on bricolage dedicated to the 75th birthday of Claude Lévi-Strauss. It was then that I decided to work on those “tramps lost at the bottom of their swamp” and how their brutalisation had despite all preserved some aspects of the past: aspects reflected in body and facial decoration of an ancestral nature and relationships between cosmic hierarchies and myths. Bodies and populations that reveal a possible bond with the inaccessible, indicating a flicker of hope for us. And once again, I felt a strong desire relating to dance, not so much as a metric, symbolic, poetic form, but as experience of inertia, as exercise in reanimation during the process of disintegration of man. These cannot be the stories but only the physically fragmented defecations of the stories of the groups of Tupi-kawahib, Nambikwara, Caduvei, Bororo told by Lévi-Strauss in his travels around the 1940s in the Mato Grosso area of Brazil. Populations that were already declining but surviving in which the ‘noble women’ refer to what Lévi-Strauss defined the lost occasion offered to the West of choosing its mission”.
Composer Francesco Giomi will create the audio part of Tristi Tropici.
Virgilio Sieni (Florence, 1958) trained in classic and contemporary dance in Amsterdam, New York and Tokyo, but his education also includes studies in the visual arts, architecture and the martial arts. In 1983, he founded the Parco Butterfly company, which in 1992 became the Compagnia Virgilio Sieni, currently one of Italy’s leading choreographic companies, with ties with the most important theatres and festivals: Festival d’Avignon, Biennale de la Danse de Lyon, Charleroi Danse of Bruxelles, Théâtre du Merlan in Marseilles, Scéne Nationale of Marseilles.
As guest choreographer, he has created ballets for leading Italian opera and theatre companies: Teatro alla Scala of Milan, Teatro Comunale di Firenze - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Massimo of Palermo, Balletto di Toscana.
The Compagnia Virgilio Sieni has received numerous awards: after two UBU prizes (2000 and 2003), the Sonate Bach_di fronte al dolore degli altri show received the Danza&Danza prize as “best Italian novelty of the year” in 2007.
Among his most recent works are Osso (2005), in which Sieni was on stage with his 80-year-old father in a gestural, intimate and transfigures dialogue, and Interrogazioni alle vertebre, both of which were invited to the Festival d’Avignon; La natura delle cose (2008), adapted from Lucretius’ De rerum natura, for which he collaborated with philosopher Giorgio Agamben for the drama; Oro (2009) and the Ultimo giorno per noi (2010) conclude the Lucretian trilogy.
Since 2003, Virgilio Sieni has directed CANGO Cantieri Goldonetta (a historic building in the Oltrarno equipped for body works, hospitality for artists, research into the contemporary languages of art) in Florence, and the Accademia sull’arte del gesto since 2007.