The 2019 Florence Dance Festival, Week 2

Florence Dance Festival 2019

The second installment of the Florence Dance Festival at the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella welcomes a variety of special performances and events, from parodic ballet to experimental dance. Artists and dance companies have come from the world over to take part in the diverse festival and showcase the unique styles they bring to the arena of modern dance.

Monday, July 8, 7 pm

A screening of ‘Rebels on Pointe,’ a documentary directed by Bobbi Jo Hart, launches the second week of the festival at Cinema La Compagnia (via Cavour 52) at 7 pm. ‘Rebels on Pointe’ takes the viewer backstage to unveil the stories, secrets and people behind the all-male cross-dressing ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo who playfully parody the uptight and rigid nature of classical dance.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (affectionately known as The Trocks) was born in New York on the heels of the 1969 Stonewall riots, that ignited the modern day gay-rights movement. Over 40 years later, the comic ballet troupe has performed all over the world and revolutionised not only the world of ballet, but the general perception of classical dance. The Trocks have unsurprisingly garnered great popular and critical success, proving one pas chassé at a time that men can dance with the same grace, elegance and skill as female ballerinas. 

Bobbi Jo Hart’s ‘Rebels on Pointe’ is the first-ever feature documentary to celebrate The Trocks. The film artfully explores themes of identity, gender, passion and diversity through the creative blend of behind-the-scenes footage, historical archives, intimate character-driven stories and clips of dance performances shot across America, Europe and Japan. 

The projection takes place the night before Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will perform as part of the festival, making it the perfect event to attend for a deeper understanding of the company’s history and purpose in order to enhance the experience of their live performance. An important story of artistic, cultural and political significance, ‘Rebels on Pointe’ proves that a ballerina is not only a woman dancing, but an act of rebellion in a tutu. Full admission is 6€ and a reduced ticket is 5€. 

Tuesday, July 9, 9.30 pm

In beautifully styled hair and makeup, hairy chests proudly on display in sequined tutus and size 41 pointe shoes, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo will perform ‘Swan Lake and Other Classics,’ their own versions from classic ballets. The show seamlessly intertwines perfectly executed artistry and grotesque gestures, paying homage to the rich tradition of ballet while incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance to comic effect. The Trocks strike the perfect, unexpected balance of heavy-handed yet delicate reinterpretation of the classics, breathing new life into the well-loved choreographies and bringing much-needed diversity and playfulness to the stage.

Full admission is 40€. A reduced fare of 30€ is available to over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students. For children aged between 6 and 13, a ticket costs 20€. Children under 6 are granted free entry.

Thursday, July 11, 9.30 pm 

FloDance 2.0 will perform their show ‘Leonardo, Il Visionario,’ choreographed by Marga Nativo, former prima ballerina and co-director of the entire festival. Inspired by the Leonardo da Vinci quotation ‘He who thinks little, errs much,’ Marga Nativo’s latest choreography celebrates Da Vinci’s adventurous and experimental spirit that led him down various paths of revolutionary discovery.

The show will explore some of his key works, both artistic and scientific – from his obsession with building a machine that would allow man to fly, to his fascination with human anatomy, to the search for new artistic techniques in The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. The contemporary dance performance will oscillate between past and present with projections of selected artwork and the musical accompaniment of Stefano Burbi. Full entry costs 20€, a reduced ticket is 15€ for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students. For children between 6 and 13, admission is 10€.

Friday, July 12, 9.30 pm 

The following evening, Kinesis Contemporary Dance Company will perform their abstract and experimental show ‘Big Bang.’ The performance strives to spark in its audience a thoughtful consideration of our society and the stereotypes that it perpetuates and that sustain it. Angelo Egarese’s choreography focuses on the body, essence and personality; The body represents the individual’s physical functions, one’s essence is inherent and natural, and personality is shown as all that is artificial, constructed and internalised based on one’s surroundings. 

The event will also feature a guest performance by Alleyne Dance, a British sister duo of Kirstina and Sadé Alleyne. They will present their show ‘A Night’s Game’ that they have taken to 10 countries and counting. ‘A Night’s Game’ explores the conflictual, tumultuous human emotions that surface when faced with the prospect of imprisonment and loss of one’s personal freedom. The unique choreography is inspired by true events and performed with great dynamism and grace. Full admission to the evening’s performances is 20€, a reduced ticket is 15€ for over 65’s, students under 26, members of Unicoop Florence and dance students. For children between 6 and 13, admission is 10€. (saskia brown)