The choreographer and dancer Ismael Ivo has died at 66 from Covid.
He was an important artistic director and organizer in the world of dance spending eight years as director of the Biennale Danza in Venice, and he served for 15 years as the artistic director of the ImPulsTanz Festival in Vienna.
Ivo was born in Sao Paulo in Brazil, but it was in New York and Berlin where he forged his career. Alvin Ailey invited him to New York in 1983, where he became a member of the company. He later moved to Europe, living in Berlin from 1985 to 1996, where he collaborated with the German dance theatre choreographer Johann Kresnik and with Ushio Amagtsu, the Japanese artist of Sankai Juku: different experiences that merged with his Afro-Brazilian roots.
Ismael Ivo was a guest artist and solo dancer in productions by Johann Kresnik, George Tabori, Marcia Haydée, Yoshi Oida and Koffi Koko.
The news of his unexpected death has shocked La Biennale di Venezia, where he was the Director of the Dance Department from 2005 to 2012, and a statement reads:
This is a loss for the entire world of dance, as well as for the city of Venice, which loved him for his charisma and his joie-de-vivre, and for the institution in which he had helped to expand and consolidate the Dance Department at the international level.
In Venice and at La Biennale, Ismael Ivo made his first awe-inspiring appearance in 2002 with the solo Mapplethorpe, for which an unscheduled repeat performance was organized following the great audience acclaim.
Over the span of eight years, Ismael Ivo created important works – Erendira, Illuminata – and conceived unconventional Festivals, in addition to teaching many young dancers in the Arsenale della Danza. It was for these young dancers of the Arsenale della Danza that he created other unforgettable works: Oxygen, Babilonia. Il terzo Paradiso, The Waste Land, Biblioteca del corpo.
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.