BIO

 

CurriculumVitae2018_ManuelaLuciaTessi

I am a dancer, teacher and maker based in Amsterdam and often working in Berlin. I hold a degree in Modern Dance from the Theaterschool in Amsterdam and have spent the last several years performing and touring my work. Live music, whether composed or improvised, has played an important role in my performance work in the last 15 years.

Since 2004 I have studied and worked with Katie Duck, who has been one of my greatest creative influences alongside the many dancers who have inspired her direction in work. I did an apprenticeship with Magpie Music Dance Company in 2007, that lead to several ongoing collaborations, in particular with Makiko Ito, artistic director of Wonderland collective, and Miri Lee. I recently performed two solo works created specifically for me by Vincent Cacialano and Paul Estabrook.

In the last few years I ve often performed in two small music and dance ensembles: duo with guitarist Arvind Ganga and Berlin based quartet with flutist, Friederike Wendorf, pianist Rieko Okuda and dancer Mata Sakka.

I have an interest in movement prior to dance as a formal language, in my movement research I include kinesiology (scientific study of movement ) and somatics. I believe that content and functionality provide form: I work with movement principles and qualities and those are the raw materials to compose with. I look for sensuosness and embodyment in dance, often referring to kinesthetic empathy, how is the movement being read by the spectator not solely with the eyes and intellect, but perceived on a visceral level.

I collaborated over five years with Isabella Ruggiero, a dancer and researcher specialized in Southern Italian traditional dance and music. I studied and performed with her, learning some traditional forms of dance ( the Pizzica from Puglia and Tammurriata from Campania) and I did a study on the Tarantism, a complex phenomenon that has its roots in the pre christian pagan traditions, involving a form of mental illness-state of possession and its cure through music (always played live) and frantic dance.

This experience changed the way I approach contemporary forms of dance and music, making me understand the cathartic function of the art form, and the importance of the live interaction of the two.

I curate platforms for dance and live music performance: the series Music Dance 301, at the cultural centre OT301 in Amsterdam, in collaboration with lighting designer Ellen Knops. and Musiktanznulldreissig, its sister project, taking place in various Berlin venues, in collaboration with flutist Friederike Wendorf. I’ ve recently lead a music and dance project in Cape Town, Music Dance 021, as part of a residency at Theatre Arts Admin Collective in collaboration with Thalia Laric and Coila Enderstein.

I find essential at the time we live in right now to contribute to the production of art creating platforms and gathering crowds to experience the work. Those platforms provide opportunity for my own performances and the work of peers, allowing continuity in the research. I believe that creativity needs to be promoted bottom-up, without waiting for permission from funding bodies and estabilished venues, rather by getting hands dirty, digging into the material.

 

 

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