1 meter CLOSER

1 meter CLOSER2020-06-01T16:35:56+02:00

1 meter CLOSER is our sreendance shot in quarantine, born both to celebrate the International Dance Day (April 29th, broadcast on Rai5) in a special way and to tell the period of COVID-19 emergency and isolation through our language.

1 meter CLOSER

Screendance shot in quarantine

First (video)performance: April 29th 2020 – International Dance Day – RAI 5

Choreography: dancers in partnership with Diego Tortelli
Shooting: dancers in partnership with Valeria Civardi
Direction: Valeria Civardi and Diego Tortelli
Music / original composition: Federico Bigonzetti
Voice and lyrics: Emily Denton
Sax and arrangements: Gabriele Virgilio Pribetti
Editing: Valeria Civardi

Dancers: Saul Daniele Ardillo, Damiano Artale, Estelle Bovay, Hektor Budlla, Martina Forioso, Clément Haenen, Arianna Kob, Philippe Kratz, Ina Lesnakowski, Grace Lyell, Ivana Mastroviti, Giulio Pighini, Roberto Tedesco, Hélias Tur – Dorvault, Serena Vinzio

Concept: Gigi Cristoforetti
Artistic coordination: Sveva Berti
And all staff of Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto

Production: Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto
With the support of Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia

Choreographer, director, composer and dancers created the performance between March 24th and April 21st 2020, each in isolation in their own home in Milan, Turin, London, Reggio Emilia and Lerici.

1 meter CLOSER is a choreographic creation for video inspired by the present day that we are living today. It is a difficult worldwide moment that is forcing us to face a new form of sensibility and creativity. The concept of 1 meter CLOSER is based on this.

The title clearly refers to the safety distance that we have to keep from people like ourselves who are human beings, or rather citizens of the world. This safety distance is what guarantees us a closer relationship in a collective goal. We are therefore talking about a new emotional experience that builds a connection determined by a physical/geographic distance, but a strong closeness in our desire to feel joined in overcoming and fighting an invisible enemy.

Nothing better than the body of the dancers locked in their homes can tell us what we are living and how this distance can turn into a bridge that joins us, where the private place turns into a common horizon changing its value and where every difference is combined in the sharing of a moment of virtual embrace. An embrace of a relationship at a distance, but with a global force. The strength of the body of the dance in captivity that is presented to its audience through the screen in a succession of moving images“.

Diego Tortelli

Talking about the creative process of 1 meter CLOSER is certainly a process dictated by the historical period we are living.
We can see it as a recipe that explodes creativity from dancers, but also from some limits due to distance and technicality.

All decisions are quick and instantaneous for the performer, but studied in depth by the directors and the composer.

Somehow the timing has been reversed. Normally the choreographer has a lot of time in the studio to retrace his steps, modify, make changes, but often there is little time for the general direction of the work, the light, the sound. In theatre these elements are hurried and dictated by technical editing times that are always tight, while thanks to the video the dynamics, the light, the colours, the rhythm of the music, can be in continuous evolution and change.

The work of direction and also the musical one has been growing just during the shooting with the dancers, which instead were very fast. A couple of days each for each performer. the order of shooting was defined by the geographical distance of the houses of the dancers who had to meet at the Supermarket to exchange the camera. So the dancers were not only the performers of the piece, but also the camera-man under the direction of Valeria Civardi.

All this has been made possible by the fact that I have collaborated with Aterballetto in the last 2 years on different and extremely varied projects.
Between me and the dancers there is a strong “understanding” of how to use the body and the qualities we were looking for. 

We worked mainly on the abstraction of the body. I, as a choreographer, believe that the complexity of the choreographic material is produced by an emotional abstraction at first, the body is told in its potential for expansion and restriction. These two concepts are sufficient to produce choreography that has a power of message and complexity. Emotion is something that happens when all the elements that make up a work meet: space, light, design, sound. Only in that final moment we understand that the body then turns into a strong message that we want to convey in common, it is no longer the individual emotion of the performer, but it is a collective emotion and therefore has the strength of the group.

With the dancers we worked on 2 extremes: the delicacy of a caress and the violence of a punch. I think this is the summary of all the emotions we are experiencing at the moment. With each of them I used a different method to inspire them: some of them work very well through the image, others through written text and still others need to be guided through a more direct contact that in this case could only be the video-conference.


A fortune surely is the getting to know each other, the understanding of what we are talking about and the fact that the Aterballetto Company is composed of 16 wonderful dancers led by Sveva Berti, which makes them strong technically, but also mentally open to a new form of creativity. Gigi Cristoforetti’s direction is dictated by the openness to new experiences and new formats, and so at this moment the ingredients to produce a short film for dance were all ready. My task was only to know how to mix them and give them my emotional and aesthetic vision.

Unlike the work in the studio this time the dancers were not able to know what their colleagues were doing, and not even realize in what position the piece was their “entrance”, this instead of being a limit allowed me to know each of them better individually and have a real comparison “1 to 1”. Only me, Valeria Civardi (co-director) and Federico Bigonzetti (composer) had in front of our eyes the general idea of the work and the complete puzzle of what we wanted to be the result.
So we created choreographic micro-particles that we then had fun composing in the editing of the video, while at the same time Federico Bigonzetti was working on moods.

The work is in fact divided into 3 chapters. We like to call them “phases”. Exactly like the 3 Phases we hear so much about in the Italian model of overcoming this period.
For us these three phases are: “isolation and restriction”, “looking outwards” and finally “hope and vision to a different future”.

The relationship with the camera wants to recreate a relationship with the audience with respect to the 3 phases indicated above: at first estranging and isolating, then the performer begins to direct his gaze towards the observer and finally we observe each other.

It was certainly a creative process in continuous development and still a few days before the “Prima Rai” continues to evolve and change.
I had a wonderful creative team that allowed me to undertake this new journey in full harmony and professionalism, constantly bringing new inputs and new ideas to make our 3 moods extremely connected to the strength of the Aterballetto performers.


Being present is important in this moment, because art has always been able to change according to changing times. This video creation is a scream of presence waiting to return to our beloved theaters with an even stronger audience and an equally contemporary message of sharing. For now this is our “virtual embrace” to the world.

Diego Tortelli