The exploration and the influence of the animal body in Dance. Francesco D’Amelio

The research has started with a somatic exploration of the Eukaryotic cell, the fundamental unit of our bodies. I wanted to train a certain fluidity and readiness in all parts of the body, that would help me in the task of embodying very different creatures. Also it showed me similarities and meeting points that all animals on the planet share. 

The second part of the research has been observations and physical try outs. I would watch animals in real life and documentaries, study their anatomy and behaviour through internet and books. One animal at the time, I tried to enter its physicality by moving, imitating what I saw and interpreting what I possibly couldn’t achieve (sadly), like flying, moving on the bottom of the ocean, extending my tongue, generate an elastic, sticky thread from the bottom of my abdomen, etc. Each animal together with the richness of its movement vocabulary gave me its essential patterns, for example the fishes using their tail fin to trigger an undulatory movement of the whole spine in the sagittal plane. I started to explore that during my daily training. The stretching of the cat, before and after sleeping and its way of resting always with the spine in curvy extension, gave me ideas for my own stretching and sleeping. The birds with their strong legs pushing the ground to fly, enhanced the strength of my jumps, and the work of their awesome wings helped me explore movements of the shoulder blades and arms. All of them taught me something about movement, which I then shared with others. At the same time I tried to interpret them in a physical way, their movements have become my dance practice and material that I use in improvisation and choreography. I am starting now a practice called ANIMA, in which I will play with the knowledge I gained through the study of animal movements for long dance improvisations, which could become the skeleton of improvised shows. In choreography, I am developing material disjointed and unexpected, mixing all the different animal qualities and a range of movement in quick succession. 

I think that the importance of this research dwells in the discovery of ones own body through many other bodies and the practice of connection with what is the ‘other’. Still they are made of the same material and thus share a connection.

Wild animals are disappearing in the world, how can we save and keep them in this world? Maybe through getting to know them better and learning from them might be of some help for keeping them on the planet, or at least to preserve their memory, a physical one.

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