From Stage to TV: All Things Dance at ‘Danzainfiera’ 2023

Carolyn Smith, ballerina and head of the jury of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on Italian TV

Fri. 24 – Sun. 26: DANZAINFIERA dance festival 2023.  Fortezza da Basso.  Open 9 am to 8 pm. Admission €18, reduced €12.

The slogan for this year’s 17th edition of Danzainfiera is, “all you need is dance.”  Dance lovers, students, professional dancers, and representatives from schools and companies will all gather for this special event. The festival will offer multiple lessons, dance shows, book presentations, and meet & greets open to all, along with auditions for Italian and international academies. Festival goers will be able to see a great variety of dance disciplines including classical ballet, tap dance, freestyle, jazz, hip hop, flamenco, tango, afro, contemporary, breakdance, and much more. Danzainfiera has become a significant Florentine festival staple over the years, not only for appreciators of the art form, but also for those who dream of making dance their career.

This year, there is a new owner, Pitti Immagine, who will give a fresh perspective to the program to include dance in theater, cinema and television in addition to providing a showcase for job opportunities. Notable influencers within the dance community will kick off the event.

Many names in the dance world will make their appearance this weekend. The audition for the pre-casting of Matilda The Musical, which known for excellent choreography, will be held on February 25 from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, at Sala della Scherma. The director, producer, and artistic director of the Teatro SistinaMassimo Romeo Piparo, who worked on the pre-casting for the musical, as well as the selection of the final cast of Billy Elliot The Musical will be in attendance. Ballerina and TV presenter Rosella Brescia from Billy Elliot The Musical will be a special guest, as will be Billy Mitchell, choreographer of the musical Cats.

A pre-audition for Ballando On The Road-L’Accademia delle Stelle, on February 25 will take place from 11 am to 1 pm at the arena Padiglione Cavaniglia in with dancer Simone Di Pasquale. This opportunity will reward a select group of up-and-coming dance talents with visibility for career opportunities. Another audition will be held for the new edition of the Masked Singer, an Italian TV program, conducted by choreographers Simon Di Pasquale and Matteo Addino.  Again in the realm of television, Carolyn Smith, a British dancer, choreographer, and president of the jury of the Italian version of the TV talent showcase Dancing with the Stars will be at the fair. The owner of a dance academies in her name all through Europe, she will hold lessons on Sensual Dance Fit as well as talk about her current career projects on February 24 and 26.

Dance opportunities can also be found within the world of cinema. For the first time at Danzainfiera, Laura Ferretti, better known as Lala Blhite, will be in attendance. She is a dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, actress, and audiovisual author, who is best known for being the official choreographer and dancer in the video game Just Dance. Under Blhite’s guidance, a workshop will be held at Danzainfiera, called “Danza Featuring Cinema e Series Tv,” accompanied by director Davide Mastrangelo, designed to help enhance camera interaction skills for those attending.

For the first time, it will also be possible to apply for the Flying Low internship with Luca Braccia. Braccia has over 10 years of international experience in teaching, performance, and choreography.

Among novelties of Danceinfiera 2023, the classical dance “NO under 40” by Alina Quintana stands alone. It is the only ballet method in the world for women over 40, non-ballerinas, and for those with little to no experience in classical dance. Additionally, two of the most loved choreographic events are back this year, including the Expression International Dance Competition and Musical. Dedicated to younger kids, the competition is also aimed at identifying new talents in the entertainment industry.

Another anticipated event is the Pop Tap Festival that is uniting young and senior dancers. Among those present will be Nico Rubio from Chicago, a choreographer who is universally recognized as one of the best tap dancers of his generation, who will be joined by the D’Angelo Bros. In addition to these events, dancer and étoile of the English National Ballet, Gabriele Frola, will be holding a coaching session for classical male dancers. Only three dancers ages 15 and over will be admitted to the lesson.

Internet sensations will also be on hand, including Valentina Vernia, or “Banana” on social media. John Cedar Moms, Carlos Kamizele, Enrico Kikko Savorani, and Arben Giga will accompany Vernia at the hip hop and afro stage. The Choros Ballet will also perform. Their canal on YouTube 188,000 subscribers. When you’re done seeing your favorite influencers, check out the Red Bull Dance Your Style Qualifier 2023 Contest, on February 25 from 5 pm to 8 pm at the Arena Padiglione Cavaniglia, featuring all styles of dance. Lastly, there will be a dance competition that centers around Latin American music, open to all categories and classes. The winner of this competition will receive the Danzainfiera trophy. (Leiana Webb & Michela Tambasco)