Butoh Dance project inspired by Luca Signorelli´s masterpiece
Introduction and Background
“Apocalisse Nova” is a dance project which came to life by the idea of Alessandro Pintus and the collaboration, since 2013, between NON Company (Italy) and asperformance (Germany). “Apocalisse Nova” is an artistic research which investigates the meaning of the Apocalypse nowadays, through the philosophy and methods of Butoh Dance. The work is inspired by the masterpiece of the renaissance painter Luca Signorelli, placed in the Nova Chapel at the Orvieto Cathedral in Italy. During the first year of research we started a series of workshop named “Finis Mundi”, focusing our research on some paintings concerning the “Apocalypse” and the “Resurrection”. In the second year, with the series “Gloria Caeli”, we moved our attention on the frescoes related to the “Last Judgment” which are highly inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. Our aim is to create a dance piece for a group of international performers upon these subjects, starting from January 2020. We will have the first debut of the performance next Spring in Munich and then we will bring the performance in Italy (Tuscania, Orvieto) during Summer.
The theme of the work is inspired by the meaning of the Apocalypse as Revelation in the sense of „throwing away what it covers“, exposing the mysteries of matter through an organic and authentic dance. Butoh is often referred as „Dance of Darkness“, that is a dance that aims to bring to brightness the hidden sides of the body, the essence of the soul of the being. Butoh is the revelation of what is dark and non-aware within us. We will explore a dance on the border between the shadow and the light, an authentic dance that fulfills the relationship between mind and body and which sets in motion the complementarities of all polarities in nature. The Apocalypse is the unknown within us, the Revelation of the hidden nature of human body. The Apocalypse announces the change, invites us to let go and turn the page, to dance beyond the limit, in order to come back to the original state of life. Signorelli’s frescoes also offer a transcendental vision to the dilemma of the existence and the expectations upon the ultimate destiny of mankind. It is a human need to discover the mystery of the life, to know what lies beyond death, to witness the vision of the celestial beauty of creation. According to Dante’s journey, we must first visit our own darkness and then accept the effort of the rising, before deserving the experience of the supreme wonder of the “Gloria Caeli”. Likewise, Hijikata Tatsumi (founder of Butoh) with his philosophy of the “Dead Body”, brings the attention on this point through the Butoh dance and his investigation on the shadow side (Ankoku) of our body and soul.
Motivation concerning Signorelli’s work
This project is an original idea and nobody has ever attempted before a choreographic project inspired by Signorelli’s work. Signorelli’s work and the themes of his frescoes represent a bridge between different ages, cultures and religions all around the world. Moreover Signorelli is an artist that must be revalued, because he is almost unknown and has been forgotten as soon as Michelangelo realized his version of the “universal judgment” at the Sistine Chapel in Saint Peter Cathedral in Rome (Vatican State).
About our work and the cultural artistic exchange
We desire to give new hope to future generations of European dancers from an artistic and human point of view. Since the beginning of our collaboration it has always been our deep desire to establish a company of Butoh European dancers. The heterogeneous and international origin of the participants aims to offer an integrated and organic view of the developments of the dance language. This project supports the cultural and artistic exchange by bringing together dancers from several countries and encouraging each participant to do his own research on the work themes, put his skills, knowledge and experience at the service of the project in order to establish a “plural body”. Being able to work in both Italy and Germany further enriches the exchange.
About Butoh Dance role
The Butoh philosophy is resonant with the iconographic themes of Signorelli’s masterpiece, especially with the Resurrection. Hijikata used to say: „Butoh is a corpse standing straight up in a desperate bid for life“. Over the years, Butoh has been one of the last revolutions in the dance society. Today Butoh is known and spread all over the world. Europe was the first to welcome it in ‘78. Now we Europeans are responsible for answering back to the question posed by Hijikata 60 years ago about the role of the body in our modern society.
About the artistic and social relevance of the topic
This work reminds of the original meaning and motivation of dance: generosity, compassion to self and others, move the world towards hope, joy of life and togetherness. This project is an investigation through body and soul of human kind. Dancers and audience will take a transformative journey in search for the meaning of life.
About the improvement of the artistic landscape
This project can be an example to encourage and inspire other artists to take a risk and show faith in the possibility to produce art starting from scratch, which aims to touch the heart of the audience to shake them and to awake. “Apocalisse Nova” can also revalue the role of Italy and Germany as important centers of art and dance. In Munich, Tuscania and Orvieto international Butoh dancers, occurred since 1995.
About the added value to our activities and those of our partners
This project it is meant to offer an opportunity especially to non professional and semi professional dancers, who are students of us since many years to develop the mind and attitude of a professional dancer. Instead of joining a regular class or sporadic attendance at workshops, these dancers are an example of a solid group based on a specific working quality, trust, respect, commitment and passion. Together we create a breeding ground for a new manifestation of the body through the dance art.
LIST OF APOCALISSE NOVA EVENTS BETWEEN 2017-2021
During the 4 year period of Apocalisse Nova project, 13 workshops were organized in 4 different countries (Italy, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic) giving the opportunity to get to know the project to more than 50 students. In parallel, several short performances, numerous conferences and exchange meetings with the spectators were presented.
2017/12/16-17 “Finis Mundi #1” (About – Apocalypse) – Rome (Italy)
2018/02/24-25 “Finis Mundi #2” (About “Dead Body” philosophy) – Rome (Italy)
2018/04/28-29 “Finis Mundi #3” (About the Antichrist) – Rome (Italy)
2018/06/23 “Finis Mundi – Party Time” (Recap the previous work) – Rome (Italy)
2018/07/20-22 “Finis Mundi Outlander” (About Resurrection) – Munich (Germany)
2018/09/02-09 “Finis Mundi – Summer Camp” (Recap the previous work) – Frauensee (Austria)
2018/10/20-21 “Gloria Caeli #1” – (About Inferno) – Rome (Italy)
2018/12/08-09 “Gloria Caeli #2” – (About Purgatory) – Rome (Italy)
2019/02/16-17 “Gloria Caeli #3” – (About Paradise) – Rome (Italy)
2019/04/26-28 “Gloria Caeli #4” – (Recap the previous work) – Tuscania (Italy)
2019/22.06-01.07 “Gloria Caeli – Angeli e Demoni” (About The Final Judgement) – Tuscania (Italy)
2019/07/26-28 “Gloria Caeli Outlander” (About Paradise) – Munich (Germany)
2019/09/02-09 “Gloria Caeli Summer Camp” (Recap the previous work) – Slaný (Czech Republic)
Performances (Short studio and Premiere of the show)
2017/12/17 “Finis Mundi #1” (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2018/02/25 “Finis Mundi #2” (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2018/04/29 “Finis Mundi #3” (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2018/06/23 “Finis Mundi – Party Time” (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2018/07/22 “Finis Mundi Outlander” – (performance “Existence Eclipse” at HochX Theater und Live Art) – Munich (Germany)
2018/09/07 – 08 “Finis Mundi – Summer Camp” (performance “Dance Apocalypse” in Pädagogische Aktion Seminarhaus) – Frauensee (Austria)
2018/10/21 “Gloria Caeli #1” – (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2018/12/09 “Gloria Caeli #2” – (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2019/02/17 “Gloria Caeli #3” – (right after the workshop) – Rome (Italy)
2019/04/28 “Gloria Caeli #4” – (performance “Infernal” at Supercinema Theater) – Tuscania (Italy)
2019/06/27 “Gloria Caeli – Angeli e Demoni” (performance “Waiting for Chiro Core” at San Francesco cloister) – Orvieto (Italy)
2019/06/30 “Gloria Caeli – Angeli e Demoni” (performance “Chiro Core” at Supercinema Theater) – Tuscania (Italy)
2019/07/28 “Gloria Caeli Outlander” (performance “Excellente Sophia” at HochX Theater und Live Art) – Munich (Germany)
2019/09/09 “Gloria Caeli Summer Camp” (performance “Dancing Gloria” at Open Space theatre) – Slaný (Czech Republic)
2020/10/16-17 – Performance Premiere “Apocalisse Nova” at HochX Theater und Live Art – Munich (Germany)
Meetings with Audience (After each of the above performance)
Conference and Symposium
2018/07/22 “Finis Mundi Outlander” (First official project presentation to German audience at HochX Theater und Live Art) – Munich (Germany)
2019/06/30 “Il sogno segreto di Signorelli” (First official project presentation to Italian audience at the Luigi Fumi Public Library) – Orvieto (Italy)
2020/03/05 “Transtopie” Performative Symposium as part of Tanzplattform Deutschland 2020 at HochX Theater und Live Art – Munich (Germany)
2021/04/05 – “Waiting for Apocalisse Nova” Zoom Meeting – Project presentation, work method, photo and video display, Questions and answer moment with more than 30 people participating.
Luca Signorelli’s Pictures: © Opera del Duomo di Orvieto