InternationBalLET has arrived in Italy for two performances of its programme Passion, Love, Life…
The newly-formed group is made up of dancers from the Hungarian State Ballet in Budapest but, remarkably, six of the twelve dancers are Italian, underlining something that this Italian-based blog has held to be true for a long time: Italians dance, they dance well, but to work they must dance elsewhere; just look at the rosters of international ballet companies and dance groups.
The Milanese dancer Umberto Aragno, who trained at La Scala ballet school, says,
For me, to come back to Italy is important for my career as a dancer which, until now, has always been abroad.
In fact, he has danced with the English National Ballet, the Schaufuss company and others. Fellow La Scala Academy student Pierpaolo D'Amico, who is from Taranto and has worked at La Scala and the Brno company, echoes the thought,
It is wonderful to experience other cultures and to communicate your own, but to return to Italy is always something special.
Gaetano Cottonaro trained at Rome Opera Ballet's school and worked with the company in Rome as well as at San Carlo in Naples:
I'm Sicilian and, though I have very strong ties with my homeland, I love dance more than anything else. I have accepted the compromise to live abroad in order to follow my passion. However, to dance in Italy is a small victory for me, courtesy of InternationBalLET, and I hope that it is the beginning of a long series of such performances.
Well luckily for Italy, during the summer some of these talents come back with touring groups to participate in the many arts festivals that dot the peninsular, and so it is with the zanily-named InternationBalLET who will be performing tonight – Wednesday 6 July – at the Teatro Tenda Magnolia in Abano Terme near Padua, and on Saturday 9 July at Rome's Teatro Vascello.
Dancing alongside the Italian contingent are dancers from Croatia, the Ukraine, Japan, Russia and, yes, Hungary itself!
The group is classical in formation and their programme conserves and exalts their classical training, but the choreography – including two pieces new to Italy – are easily accessible for a generic audience with neo-classical and modern leanings.
The programme contains eight pieces with works by the choreographers Yosuke Mino, Fernando Duarte, Yukichi Hattori and Wayne Eagling as well as the pieces I.F.E.L. and Anthemoessa which are the result of a collaboration between other two Italian expats, the composer Christian Calcatelli and choreographer, and co-founder of InternationBalLET, Mark James Biocca.
Mark created the company with Angela Mingardo. Angela, who comes from Padova in the Veneto region, has a curriculum which sums up the Italian dance world right now: she has danced with Arena di Verona and MaggioDanza Firenze, both of which are now closed.
This project for me is a continuation of my dream to become a ballerina, and I hope that this tour is just the first of many opportunities which will allow me to return and dance in Italy and show that despite funding difficulties and a general cultural crisis, ballet is still appreciated by the Italian public.
Mark, who comes from Rome but from his schooling onwards has always been outside Italy – Royal Ballet School and then the Northern Ballet – adds,
Dance as an art form is essential and necessary, and I hope that we manage to communicate our passion for it and help to reawaken the love for dance in this country, a country that we all love so much.
As company member Mario Genovese (another product of La Scala's ballet school) says,
I love Italy. A country like this is impossible to replace.
Wednesday 6 July, Teatro Tenda Magnolia, Abano Terme
Saturday 9 July, Teatro Vascello, Rome
details on InternationBalLET's website
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.