Italy well renowned for its cultural treasure, among them opera who has not heard of Luciano Pavarotti?, painting Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Canaletto and sculpture. Italians are rightly proud of this great heritage and celebrate the illustrious past in many ways. But they are not as preoccupied with history as to neglect cultural development. The Italian Embassy, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Hotel Regent, Jakarta has joined forces to bring another Italian cultural delight to the capital. On October 19 in the prestigious setting of the Regent in Central Jakarta ‘Compagnia Virgilio Sieni Danza’, a group with an international standing and reputation, will put on a performance of ‘Canti Marini’ for the discerning public. This exuberant and refined group, which originates from one of the greatest of Italian cities, Florence, home of many cultural riches such as the world-famous Uffizi Art Gallery, is currently on an Asian tour. Working under the leading choreographer Virgilio Sieni, a man with a very varied training which includes spells in Amsterdam, Japan and New York, the group brings to Indonesia, itself a land of great dancing traditions, an approach seldom seen here. For lovers of dance this is an opportunity to see new techniques and interpretations.
Sieni attended the School for New Dance development in Amsterdam before moving on to Japan in 1982 to study Shintaido, a form which combines techniques from dance and the martial arts as well as the usage of voice. While in Japan, Sieni also developed his skills as a choreographer. The next stop on his itinerary was New York, where he studied at Merce Cunningham’s Studio. In 1983 Sieni took the major step of forming his own dance company.
The choreographer added more strings to his bow by collaborating with various composers such as Ennio Moricone, Steve Lacy, Michael Moore and Evan Parker, expanding the group’s repertoire all the while. With his varied experience behind him Sieni in 1997 became director of Center for Contemporary Dance in Settignano, Florence. Last year Sieni was awarded the Italian Prize for Contemporary Dance as Best Choreographer.
What the audience witnessed in ‘Canti Marini’ is Sieni’s synthesis of styles and techniques. The show is five sections and takes its inspiration from the movement of the sea’. Sieni seeks to interpret the sea in such a way as “to give the human body an aquatic quality”, according to the sponsors. The dancers, who include Sieni himself, will respond to a musical score will, they say, “lead to the deconstruction of gesture and to spatial disorientation”, a kind of theater of alienation, if you like.Published in Roving Insight Magazine