Standing the test of time

Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni presents a Bavarian folk dance at the Israel Festival

ITALIAN CHOREOGRAPHER Alessandro Sciarroni presents his latest dance piece, ‘FOLK-s, will you still love me tomorrow?’ (photo credit: ANDREA MACCHIA)
ITALIAN CHOREOGRAPHER Alessandro Sciarroni presents his latest dance piece, ‘FOLK-s, will you still love me tomorrow?’
(photo credit: ANDREA MACCHIA)
 It is thought that the Schuhplattler dates back to the 3000 BCE.
If this is true, this folk dance, originating in the Alpine regions, has been passed on from generation to generation for 5,000 years.
Consisting of stomping and clapping, the Schuhplattler is an intensely rhythmic, auditory and physically draining pursuit, one that young and old partake of. When Italian performer and choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni began researching dances that have stood the test of time, the Schuhplattler stood out as a natural starting point.
“Together with a group of friends/dancers, we decided to try to learn some traditional dances just by watching them on YouTube,” explains Sciarroni of his first day of rehearsals for FOLK-s, will you still love me tomorrow?, which Sciarroni will present in Jerusalem at the Israel Festival this week. The 90-minute performance draws heavily on the Bavarian beats discovered in the lore of German dance.
Sciarroni was born and raised in Italy. His professional life has taken him into the worlds of visual art, direction, dance and choreography.
Since 2007, he has been on a bender, performing and creating in countries throughout Europe and farther afield. In 2011, he was invited to take part in a project called Choreoroam, in which a group of artists travel throughout Europe, exchanging practices and ideas. It was during this voyage that Sciarroni began considering the notion of dance that stands the test of time.
Having learned a few steps off the Internet, Sciarroni and his dancers, a cast of six, took the movements to the extreme. Where folk dancers might perform for 10 or 15 minutes, Sciarroni and his gang continued kicking and jumping for more than an hour. The physical exhaustion that set in brought them to a new place, one that was both emotionally drained and empowered.
“If you want something to last in time, you have to fight for it sometimes,” Sciarroni says.
This is Sciarroni’s second visit to Israel. His first was made to visit a good friend and colleague, Rocco Giansante, who designed the lights for FOLK-s.
“I was here three years ago to see him and I’ll be back in June for his wedding,” says Sciarroni.
As a contemporary choreographer, Sciarroni is part of community of artists who are rapidly redefining the scope and possibilities of dance performance. Questioning all elements of live performance from location to duration to content, these individuals often push the envelope into other genres and fields. Perhaps because of the constant forward motion of contemporary dance, Sciarroni found himself inexplicably drawn to the consistency and staying power of folk dance.
“I believe that contemporary dance will stand the test of time,” he says, “but this does not mean that contemporary dance, as it is today, will be able to describe the complexity of the future.”
FOLK-s, will you still love me tomorrow? will run at Beit Masie tonight at 9:30 p.m. and on May 31 at 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit