After seeing her work R.OSA – 10 Exercises for New Virtuosities audiences often talk to award-winning Italian choreographer Silvia Gribaudi about the body. This makes sense, as her dance creations explore the societal critique and perception of the female body. However, for Gribaudi and her featured dancer, celebrated actress Claudia Marsicano, it is beside the point.
As well as choreography Gribaudi is focused on performing arts in general, and since 2004 has lasered her research into the social impact of bodies, combining her choreographic language with a comic element and with the audience-performer dynamic.
After the premiere of R.OSA, which won the Italian Premio Rete Critica award in 2017, Gribaudi said that “everyone was talking just about the bodies, about different kinds of bodies, but actually, we were very interested in talking about dramaturgy instead of just bodies. We were a bit surprised. I think the body becomes invisible. It is important to live, to eat, to dance, but I think it’s not the center of the work,” Gribaudi tells The Jerusalem Post via Zoom.
Gribaudi and Marsicano prepare for Tel Aviv performances and master class
Gribaudi is in Milan, while Marsicano is in Rome. Both sit next to ventilator fans as the weather in Italy is comparably hot to the Israeli summer. They are slated to meet a few days later in Tel Aviv for a double bill at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre.
While this is Gribaudi’s second visit to Israel, returning to the country after last year’s presentation of her quartet choreography, Graces, this engagement marks Marsicano’s first visit to Israel.
In addition to the solo R.OSA, interpreted by Marsicano, Gribaudi will present and interpret A Corpo Libero (translated as “loosening the body,” also a play on the name for “floor exercises”). She will also teach a master class as part of the Suzanne Dallal’s Pro Summer series.
Bringing A Corpo Libero to Tel Aviv: Performing in venue's the courtyard
A Corpo Libero premiered in 2009 and has since been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Do Disturb in the Palais de Tokyo. The 15-minute solo has won critical acclaim around the world and is considered Gribaudi’s signature creation.
The evening will begin with A Corpo Libero, performed by Gribaudi, in the courtyard of the center and will continue to R.OSA, interpreted by Marsicano on the main stage. “It’s very beautiful to perform together. I’m outside and then Claudia is inside,” says Gribaudi.
“It’s wonderful to perform after A Corpo Libero, adds Marsicano. “I feel like a part of a journey. It makes so much sense when we get together. I can see the matrix.”
Gribaudi says she is “very curious” about performing A Corpo Libero in the center’s courtyard as if it were “the street.”
“It’s again talking about the body in a different way. I show my body in the street and I try to work with my flesh. It’s very ironic. It’s about vibration. About what it means to make a vibration in the street altogether.”
In the creation of R.OSA, Gribaudi draws on the 1980s aesthetic of workout videos, specifically the tapes by Jane Fonda. Marsicano takes the stage in a shiny, teal bodysuit and high ponytail and, with her high energy and dazzling smile, leads the audience on a journey through various tasks.
Gribaudi and Marsicano's introduction and blooming creative relationship
The two artists met in 2015, through work, and immediately clicked.
“I met Claudia during an Italian project,” says Gribaudi. “It was amazing. I think Claudia is an amazing performer because she has the necessity to be on stage, to say something and show something, to talk about soul.”
For Marsicano, who is a well-known face throughout Italy, this project presented an opportunity to try many new things.
“I was very young [when we met], I was 24,” says Marsicano. “My only experience was with acting, straight acting. It was very exciting because Silvia is amazing. She was able to get me to do things that I hadn’t done, like learning a choreography.”
R.OSA continues to shift and adapt, just like the body
Following the premiere of R.OSA, the two made several tweaks to the work to offset the body-centered feedback they were receiving.
“After the show, we understood the impact of our work and how very strong it was in Italy. We decided to change some parts of the show,” says Gribaudi.
The piece continues to shift and adapt as Marsicano continues to discover new qualities within it.
“I’m changing all the time. How you feel about your body changes because the body is different. I’ve lived with my body my entire life. Now I’m 31, my body is still changing as I’m getting older. My relationship with my body is changing. It will change forever, I hope,” says Marsicano.
Silvia Gribaudi and Claudia Marsicano will perform at the Suzanne Dellal Centre on July 20 and 21. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il