Shadow and light, live music and contemporary dance are combined in Double Side, the new co-production of the Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto and the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Parma: a research and an adventure that the two institutions share, and not for the first time, with the aim of “making choreographic and musical components react” in a new and meaningful way.
On stage are two opposite poles represented by Stabat Mater by the Cuban Norge Cedeño Raffo and With drooping wings by the Canadian Danièle Desnoyers, and bound together by a lively aesthetic architecture designed by Fabiana Piccioli.
The dark, gloomy atmosphere associated with the religious and touching music of Arvo Pärt is enhanced by the expressive, free and pure dance by Norge Cedeño Raffo: a hymn to the beauty of movement. The extrovert imprint and light, clearly encapsulated in the nine iridescent pieces of music by Henry Purcell recomposed for a string quartet by Federico Gon, flow from the dance of Danièle Desnoyers. There is always a strong relationship, almost a deep friendship, between her and the music: the gesture is not overwhelmed by the famous Baroque scores, but attempts to create interesting harmonies and disharmonies with the strings on stage.
(Creation for 3 dancers, 3 musicians, 3 singers)
Choreography Norge Cedeño Raffo
Set and lighting design Fabiana Piccioli
Music Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt
Costume design Norge Cedeño Raffo and Fabiana Piccioli
Choreographer’s assistant Thais Suàrez Fernàndez
WITH DROOPING WINGS
(Creation for 8 dancers, 4 strings)
Choreography Danièle Desnoyers
Music An English Suite by Federico Gon after Henry Purcell, Interlude by Ben Shemie
Set and lighting design Fabiana Piccioli
Costume design Danièle Desnoyers
Choreographer’s assistant Myriam Arseneault
With the support of Délégation du Québec à Rome and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Co-design and co-production Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto and Fondazione Arturo Toscanini
Co-production Festspiele Ludwigshafen, Festival Aperto / Fondazione I Teatri di Reggio Emilia
World-premiere 23 October 2022, Reggio Emilia, Festival Aperto, Teatro Municipale Romolo Valli (I)
German premiere 9-10 December 2022, Ludwigshafen, Theater Im Pfalzbau (D)
Dancers Aterballetto Company
Quartetto Motus for La Toscanini: Giulia Soli, Agnese Rava violins, Dario Carrera viola, Margherita Curti cello
Soprano: Theodora Io Koutsothodoru
Countertenor: Nicolò Balducci
Tenor: Kim Bowoo
Musical coach: Antonio De Lorenzi
Talking about the genesis of Stabat Mater means going back to the beginning of 2021, when choreographer Norge Cedeño Raffo, a character of charm and charisma, arrived in Italy from Cuba for his first major production experience. Commissioned by the Fondazione Nazionale della Danza / Aterballetto and the Fondazione Arturo Toscanini in Parma, the Cuban choreographer deals with a famous piece of music, the Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt, a work for three singers and three musicians.
Three, a fascinating number for its philosophical and mystical meanings, is one of the compositional cornerstones of this Stabat Mater, which also guided the choice to involve three dancers in the choreography. On stage, three bodies, three voices, three instruments meet, dialoguing together, emphasising the beauty of the piece and the melodic constructive wisdom.
This encounter between dancers, musicians and singers becomes coexistence in the same stage space, a magical appearing and disappearing of each of the different interpretative components. This is why the spatial concept, as well as the lighting design, has been entrusted to Fabiana Piccioli, an artist active throughout Europe with major opera and choreographic productions. To her is entrusted the visual suggestion, based on the use of special painted dance carpets, capable of capturing and transforming the effect of the lights, and on the reuse of discarded material in an upcycling perspective: the inner tubes of bicycle wheels from the dump take on new life on stage.
From the first moment I was sent the Stabat Mater music track, I asked myself the question ‘what happens next?’. There is a strong reference to a chaotic reality, to a tortuous cycle that repeats itself, made of calamity, death, shortage, evanescence as if we become ashes all the time. But why not find in this reality a reference to the Arab Phoenix? To find in this ash, in this fire that burns you, in this reality that pierces you and that confronts you with the most risky and painful aspects of your life a new opportunity to create, to be reborn, to be renewed?
The piece of music from the point of view of emotionality creates a still-image, it is an apparently ‘flat’ piece of music and we have to dialogue all the time with changes of physicality, of emotionality with the continuous change of physical and scenic construction trying to keep the audience alert. A task to which we must always pay attention.
Norge Cedeño Raffo – choreographer
From the choice of baroque music, Henry Purcell’s music immediately came to mind. I naturally turned to works of various formats and origins. It was a fabulous adventure to carry with me almost the entirety of such a rich musical work. The chosen works were then revisited by the composer Federico Gon and will henceforth bear the name “An English Suite”. Then came the ideation of a scenographic space, a receptacle imagined by Fabiana Piccioli through a series of exchanges and sharing of ideas. A space where music and dance meet and confront each other.
The idea of “what comes after” was omnipresent through a whole process established at a distance. The idea of what happens after the ashes, what happens when nature takes over, what happens after listening to music. For if the attentive listening of Purcell’s work gave me the greatest of pleasures, I have also gradually put a certain distance between myself and this form of enjoyment.
Emotions are the flesh of this music. They are also linked to a period of history that is not our own. How can we adopt a critical position in front of these works whose magnificence and beauty give us as much pleasure as they do annoyance? How to contextualize this choice? How can we still feel concerned by this music today?
With drooping wings borrows its title from the last chorus from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. The broken wings are those of a fringe of society that is confronted with multiple inconsistencies. We are in the middle of many social upheavals. The creation inevitably enters in resonance with these upheavals. But these also give me a relationship to beauty that will cross all my choices. To summon beauty elsewhere than in the forms, but rather in the incarnation of resistance.
If the creation draws its source from an intimate relationship with this An English suite, With drooping wings is crossed by the idea of a distance. This suite of musical works, some glorious, others painful or sensitive, rubs up against a dance that carries a form of resistance within it. The work is crossed by a prodigious vitality just like Purcell’s music. The musicians share the space with the dancers. One gives up his presence to the other. The idea of a succession of choreographic events is apparent throughout the piece. In the presence of silence, the choreographic interstices act out of step with the baroque spirit. As if these interstitial spaces became the most original dance, the most accurate in our current context. Then suddenly, when the two cohabit, what results becomes pure joy.
Danièle Desnoyers – choreographer
Norge Cedeño Raffo’s creation Stabat Mater inspired Rai5 to make the docufilm Stabat Mater – Danzare oltre i confini (Dancing Beyond Borders).
The docufilm closely reports the artistic and human experience of the young talented choreographer, for the first time in Italy, and shows his creative process, in the setting of the Teatro Asioli in Correggio, a small Italian-style theatre immersed in the Po Valley, one of the most fascinating and evocative.
The filming of the docufilm (directed by Alessandro D’Onghia) began on 29 January 2021 (the choreographer’s first day of work with the three dancers) and ended on 6 March 2021 (the day of the closed-door preview at the Teatro Asioli in Correggio, with musicians and singers from the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali Achille Peri in Reggio Emilia). The airing of the docufilm on Rai5 was on 29 April 2021, on the occasion of the International Day of Dance.