“Gelsomina Dreams” highly applauded at the Todi Festival

by Alessia de Antoniis

With “Gelsomina Dreams ”by Caterina Mochi Sismondi, the Todi Festival has given more space to dance. And it was another success of the Todi event, highly applauded on the evening of 3 September.

Directed and choreographed by Caterina Mochi Sismondi, “Gelsomina Dreams”Saw on stage Elisa Mutto, Alexandre Duarte, Federico Ceragioli, Vladimir Ježić, Michelangelo Merlanti, Ivan Ieri, Bea Zanin, Nicolò Bottasso, Paolo Stratta and Nina Carola Stratta. The dramaturgy, inspired by Federico Fellini’s imagination, is based on the dream of Gelsomina, “an ethereal and visionary young woman / child. Her dream journey gives life to a projection of characters poised between glamor in the dolce vita style and the world of the street, mixing circus visions and elements of theatricality with choreography “.

The work is inspired by the most human and emotional aspects of Fellini’s world, such as his relationship with his wife Giulietta Masina or his fascination for the supernatural world, including amulets and fortune tellers. The viewer is thus led by the hand into a deeper, unconscious, suspended, at times unsettling dimension.

But locking up “Gelsomina Dreams” and the work of the blueCinque Company in sterile categories is limiting.

The same choreographer, Caterina Mochi Sismondipoints out that “defining our work in terms of styles and labels is not that simple”.

Caterina Mochi Sismondi, dancer and choreographer, studied with Susanna Egri in Turin, at Paolo Grassi in Milan, she graduated as a Feldenkrais teacher with Paul Rubin. She starts from the dance theater and, true to the philosophy of Pina Bauch, she uses various colors to create a unique painting.

I come from the dance theater – says Caterina – but I did not immediately approach circus techniques. I have always favored live music, for its contribution to dramaturgy because it dialogues with the acting part. You are part of the blueCinque company’s signature style. Thinking about painting the scene, I started working with artists who allowed me to dye the canvas upwards as well. As a spectator you have the traditional view, grounded on the stage, because there are always dancing parts, but you also have the whole perspective of the above. Ours are real representations mise en espace, placed in space.

The theme of displacement and imbalance belongs to the language of the Compagnia bluCinque …

The displacement is a theme that has always been linked to those who do this job. We are always confused and forced to face an always precarious and changing reality.

In reality, the work that is meant by displacement and imbalance is a technical work on the body. From the choreographic point of view, of the work on movement, we start from known forms to recreate this off ballad, this imbalance, this displacement of the body that is precarious at all times. In our case, then, the displacement is between the earth and the sky.

Your work is part of the search for the nouveau cirque, which in Italy makes us think of Cirque du Soleil.

Compared to what the new circus is also in Europe, the contemporary circus is different.

In Cirque du Soleil there is still a sign of the classical circus. He has stories, costumes, an attitude, which are part of a more circus technical imagery in the classical sense. The contemporary circus goes into a more extreme research dimension. We still confuse the classical circus with Cirque du Soleil, but both have nothing to do with the pursuit of the contemporary French circus. In Italy, from this point of view, we are still behind. Also from the point of view of the preparations, of the possibility of finding spaces in festivals or reviews that have the courage to take risks by giving space to this art form. From this point of view, the Todi festival was precious. There is not always the opportunity to stage our works.

I would add that we are still a bit confused in understanding what the true direction of the contemporary circus is. In my case, I put myself even more in the crowding-out because what I would like to do, working with circus performers, is a transversal work that involves contemporary circus, dance, theater-dance, live music, video. That’s why the labels that try to define our work do not define us.

Even the definition of contemporary circus does not reflect a job like ours. I happily work with circus performers who are also excellent dancers and with dancers who experiment with other techniques: the mix gives a result that is research. It is a path yet to be identified at the level of a recognized sign, but in reality it is nothing new. In Europe we find various theater-dance companies where we work with acrobats. I am thinking of the Belgian choreographer Alain Platel or the Peeping Tom, contemporary theater-dance companies that work a lot with the broken movement of the circus, acrobatic contortions and various techniques close to the circus. The circus does the same with the dancers, as if there was no longer this separation. But it is a language that in Italy we are slowly discovering and that I believe, over time, will be recognized as a context of theatrical research.

Theater-dance means Pina Bausch. Her stuchs made a story. She was able to blend improvisation, experimentation and very high preparation. For her it was essential to communicate everyday life to the public, while “Gelsomina Dreams” is a dreamlike representation …

In reality, behind “Gelsomina Dreams” there is a research work on female psychology. Like “Juliet’s Vertigo” which takes its cue from Romeo and Juliet. We are working on Marylin and cinema. They are actually works on female figures. Gelsomina is the protagonist of “La strada”. Taking a cue from that female character, the idea of ​​the show is given by a series of dreams and projections by Gelsomina, who has like flash backs, which build a dreamlike story of images from Fellini’s films.
We were then lucky enough to be able to work on Rota’s music, as the winners of a tender from the Foreign Ministry. We were lucky enough to have the concession of some of Rota’s passages from Fellini’s films, from “La strada”, “La dolce vita”, “8½”, to be able to insert. Many are even transformed by the musician who, starting from Rota, transforms them into electronic music. We were allowed to rework untouchable pieces at the behest of the family. Other pieces are used cleanly. We have been lucky.

Gelsomina’s dreams were however a ploy. Many scenes in Fellini’s films came from dreams he had, which he transformed into sketches and then into film scenes. I hooked on that idea to try to make some clips of his films credible, not to copy and to make new.

In the film La Ricotta, Pasolini makes Orson Welles say, about Fellini, “he dances”. In his films the actors move while dancing...

Looking back at all of Fellini’s films, I saw a scene that I had forgotten: Pina Bausch had been an interpreter for Fellini or “E la nave va”, where a very young Pina is an actress for Federico Fellini. There are crazy links between the arts, but we often don’t notice them.

Does contaminating dance with other arts make it closer to younger audiences?

It is desirable. What we discovered with these company works, for which we did not know what the viewers’ response could be, was a great attention from the public, the neophyte one. Those who came to our shows were perhaps struck by the connection to the imaginary, more visual, and to the emotions given by live music. They are shows designed not for children, but for an adult audience, which actually attracted the attention of the children who came too. For what the company’s experience is, the mix works. I do not know why, if because you bring the dance in the air or the acrobats on the ground. I don’t have a definitive answer. As long as there is research and you walk the roads of experimentation, you don’t really think about the public, but you discover the response of the public by moving forward. It is still an open answer.

Dance has always been experimentation. Petipa was also an experimenter in his day. Maybe we should accept today’s experimenters?

Dance is an art that you can take all over the world without translation problems and it is a performance art that opens you to different worlds every time. I always start from the dance movement. Thinking also of Bausch, I often start from improvisation, to then pull the strings of the choreography, the dramaturgical construction and the musical part.

I think we need to get out of the box. It is as if there were fashionable recourses in staging certain types of contemporary dance, which then remain sterile as a possibility of research. Maybe they work from the point of view of the possibility of entering the programming of theaters, but they risk remaining distant from the possibility of experiencing something new, losing the possibility of connecting to the spectator.

“Gelsomina Dreams” highly applauded at the Todi Festival