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Italian MET.AMOR.PHOSY in Washington: The Body Blends into the Soul

The Dance of Mimmo Miccolis. Italian excellence takes the stage in DC

Cupid and Psiche (Photo credits: @XMBphotography)

VNY reports from the 2019 Gala evening of the Italian Cultural Society of Washington DC (ICS). The Gala’s guest of honor, Mimmo Miccolis, is an Italian excellence of ballet in the US.

In today’s society we are less and less connected.

If you heard someone utter this sentence, you would probably think of WiFi and cell phones, and you would think:

Hold on a sec. Aren’t we all super-connected nowadays?  Possibly, even too connected.

The reality is that the sentence is sadly true, assuming that connection, far from being a reference to our participation in the great digital network and in social media, is actually about the ancient bond between the computer of our mind and that flesh-and-blood robot we call the human body.

Nature has made us a unity of mind and body, and made us able to feel emotions, to experience with our body and to relate to the world around us. And yet, in recent years, we are inexorably moving towards a digital world in which our mind separates itself from the body and confines itself into a virtual world increasingly disconnected from our physical reality.

Watching ballet and its magnificent performers is a powerful reminder of all this.

The muscles. The forms. The harmony of the human body that experiences the harmony of the music and blends into it. Everything in ballet comes together to remind us of  what we were and what we are missing out on.

Mimmo Miccolis presents MET.AMOR.PHOSY

We are at the Embassy of Italy in DC.  Ballet is the main course. And when we talk about ballet in Washington, we talk about Italian excellence.

Mimmo Miccolis, born and raised in Puglia, Italy, is a top classical ballet dancer and now a teacher and choreographer at the the Washington Ballet.

Tonight we are attending MET.AMOR.PHOSY, his new work presented exclusively at the Italian Cultural Society (ICS) Award Gala “L’Italia e la danza” (Italy and Dance).

MET.AMOR.PHOSY (Photo credits: @XMBphotography)

“It is the story of Cupid, who awakens Psyche with a kiss, as we know it from the famous 18th century sculpture by Antonio Canova” explains Miccolis. “That statuary and static image comes to life and transforms itself, breathing life into a vision”.

The artist explains what dance means to him.

“Modern dance gives us the freedom to connect to our feelings. When we look at contemporary dance we looks at ourselves and our freedom of movement.  In dance you cannot find language in the classic sense of the term. Words are unspoken. They are simply perceived. It’s as if words were inside and came out as an explosion. It’s like an inner exploration that leads to the complete expression of one’s own life in the form of movements.”

Let me back up to the starting point

May 23 is the day ICS organized its Gala evening, hosted by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC.

The evening is full of events and exceptional guests. In addition to Miccolis , representatives from the Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute are doing the honors.

And there is also Julie Kent, the artistic director of the Washington Ballet, whom some may remember from  Dancers, a movie with Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Kent has been the prima ballerina with the American Ballet Theater for many years.

Carola Mamberto (ICS), Renato Miracco, Mimmo Miccolis, Julie Kent and Francesca Casazza (ICS)

Julie Kent and Miccolis discuss dance in front of the audience with Renato Miracco, art critic and Italian cultural affairs official in DC.

“There were so many brilliant people who made me grow professionally. Alessandra Ferri certainly was one of those who influenced me the most when I was young. She possessed exceptional, unique expressiveness. I strove to understand what made her so beautiful. “

“Our mandate for the future is to educate and influence. My repertoire is 19th century classics. The stars of these productions were Italian dancers. They were the best. Today we have to present 20th century version of those productions. Thanks to choreographers like Mimmo, we can bring them into 21st century dance. “

Alright, enough talking.  Let the magic begin. The MET.AMOR.PHOSY ballet puts the triumph of music, bodies, and soul into motion, leaving everyone in ecstasy.  

 

After the dinner of delicacies and the awards ceremony for deserving young people, it is time to ask a few questions to the organizer of the event, Francesca Casazza, Executive Director of the Italian Cultural Society.

Mimmo Miccolis, Francesca Casazza and VNY’s Luca Passani.

VNY: Francesca, what is the Italian Cultural Society?

FC: We are a non profit, founded in 1953 by a group of Italians and Americans,organized by Professor Salvatore Castiglione, Chairman of the Italian Department at Georgetown University.  In 1974, Maria Wilmeth founded the Italian Language Program with contributions from Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today we have about 70 courses that start every three months……

VNY:.. and what do you do?

FC: We organize cultural events every month: book presentations, concerts, films, and other events tied to celebrations of Italian holidays. The Gala evenings are the principal source of funds for the development of our educational and cultural programs as well as , obviously, our scholarships. These scholarships go to students that have distinguished themselves in the study of Italian from elementary school up to academic levels and in the sciences and humanities.

VNY: About the Gala, why did you choose ballet?

FC: Well, ballet also was born in Italy.  It was born in the Renaissance courts of the 15th century.  Three authors in particular (Domenico da Piacenza, Antonio Cornazzano, and Guglielmo Ebreo da Pesaro), with their introductory books, between 1425 and 1460, codified dance as a choreographic art form comparable to music and poetry, an art form present in the most important Italian courts of the Renaissance like the Montefeltro, the Sforza, and the Este. In addition,Italian dancers and choreographers keep playing a central role in the international scene.  

VNY: Well done. Great evening!

FC: Thanks

Miccolis and the 4 artists that enacted MET.AMOR.PHOSY

Final Notes

In addition to choreographer Mimmo Miccolis I wish to mention the dancers of the Washington Ballet Aurora Mostacci and Oscar Sanchez and the musicians Caterina Vannucci (violin) and JP Wogaman (piano)

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