Parole che danzano (Dancing Words) – Roberto Bolle's new book
Over the years, there have been several coffee table books dedicated to the career and physique of Roberto Bolle. Parole che danzano (Dancing Words) is rather different in that – although it has many photos from through the years – it contains many words too though, at this time, only in Italian.
Apart from a handful of photos of him with a colleague (there's a beautiful one with Alessandra Ferri) and one double-page spread with a montage of Bolle with some of his dancing partners, the main content is of him alone: in the studio, on stage, imaginative external photography, and some informal shots. There are photos from Luciano Romano and Andrej Uspenski who have accompanied him during his Bolle and Friends galas, some stunning shots at the Paris Opera from Julien Benhamou, photos from Maki Galimberti who went with Bolle to Africa when he visited as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, some moody, sexy photography from Bruce Weber, and emotionally expressive photos from Fabrizio Ferri.
The subtitle of the book is ‘An atlas of thoughts on his life and dance' and here the book departs from other picture books on Bolle. The sections of the book run through the alphabet A (acqua/water) to V (volontà/willpower)… there's no ‘Z'. There are words on Apollo, injury, inspiration, mime, eyes, strength, education, diet, Boléro, laziness, hope, Nutcracker, dreams, social media, sensitivity, body, friends, family, shyness, and many more. There are around 100 to 700 words under each ‘chapter'; I asked him where they came from:
Almost all the words are written by me, some ideas were suggested by friends and the publisher, some parts are things I've read. For example, there are several quotes from Martha Graham's book [Blood Memory, 1991], also from other authors and dancers, but the other 80% or so was written by me.
Do you find it easy to express yourself with words alone?
It's not very easy, and it takes me a while in the sense that I write, I rewrite, then I think it over. I don't have an instinctive ability, but in the end, I manage to express myself by writing.
The book's sections have the name of a character, a ballet, an emotion, food, objects… what was your idea behind it?
I wanted to make a vocabulary, so in alphabetical order, because it is a simple way in which even a child can read just a few lines on a page. It means that it can be consulted in different ways. So sometimes there's an impression, sometimes an anecdote, feelings, and thoughts about values.
So for younger readers it is also educational.
Yes, in fact there's a section on education, also about talent and passion. Some things are funny – there's a section on chocolate! – and others are more profound. We tried to make it work on various levels.
P is for Passione:
“I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.” – George Balanchine
Hardcover: 240 pages
Dimensions: 19.50 x 26.50 cm
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.