What do you like about working with InDance International and Harriet, and what are your expectations and plans for this year’s new project duality?
I met Harriet in Barcelona two or three years ago for a few hours in Bide, which is organized by my Italian friend. I saw Harriet’s presentation about IDI, and I was immediately interested. When she was talking about IDI, immediately after her presentation I went to her and told her that is what I have been doing since the beginning of my career and of course we should collaborate! We started to communicate in a remote way, and immediately we appreciated our common ideas. We started to talk about the project, and then we created Duality and tried to develop it. I’m very excited to participate in this project because we have similar concepts of interaction between dance and technology or virtual reality and other digital tools. There are a lot of possibilities to explore.
How has your journey towards dance and choreography started?
I started to work as a choreographer in 2007 and from the beginning, I have always worked with combining dance with new technologies, especially starting with music, because I have been working with classical musicians from the beginning of my career. We work with classical music since they are classical musicians, but they are using electronic devices. We work on different possibilities of interaction of music with movement. Musicians are always experimenting with new devices to involve their bodies in the creation of music. So from the beginning, they used my body as a music partiture. Later we started to involve some new video devices, new tools. For example, a K-Net is a video game tool but we used it for the interaction with movement, creating some different possibilities of interaction of the dancer to the virtual other characters on the screen. It is very interesting because I have always been interested in the relationship between me and the virtual me (my doppelgänger). It has been more than 10 years working with these new possibilities of creations.
In your opinion, what power has dance? What makes it special, what can it achieve?
I think that dance has infinite possibilities for development. I try to see how it is possible to grow into new ways of creation. Talking about my educational training, I have always worked with different possibilities of body movement. So, my research is focused on knowledge of the possibility of movement. Starting from the structure of the body and its ways to apply it to the movement creation. My research is also focused on talking about myself and what is happening around me, about my opinions on the things happening around us with my body. I think that dance is one of the most powerful media for communicating emotions. Especially in live performances, it is possible to communicate any kind of emotion, even starting from the structure of the stage.
What do you enjoy the most about your work and the performing arts?
When I dance, it is a special moment, because I always try to put all of myself on stage. It is very enjoyable to stand on the stage to communicate with my body. I have always communicated with my body, because I did sports before as well, so I needed to communicate through my body movement instead of with my voice.
How would you define your personal choreographic language, style, or even vision?
I started to dance not very early, I was 23 years old, so I didn’t have a classical dance background or a classical kind of choreography. So I started to think about a very important sense of communication. When I think about choreography, I have an urgency to communicate something. I start from an idea and try to develop it through research of the movement and possibility of communication. Also, when I do choreography for other dancers, I start from the interior communication and then try to translate it into a movement structure. I never start with a particular style, I prefer to try to discover unique gestures in dance. I came from a formation, Alwi Nicolai’s formation, I mean every idea needs to find a particular kind of movement, particular quality. It is important to me to start by finding the quality of movement and then to research the structure of choreography.
About the themes of my choreography, as I said, it is very important to me to find a relation between me and the other me (doppelgänger). What is inside me, what is it saying, etc. It is interesting to find out what is happening to me, what are my thoughts and what I want to communicate.
Do you have ideas or wishes for your future collaborations with Harriet and the IDI?
Yes, we have a lot of dreams, but we are working on making them concrete! We have to meet and start to work and research together and something will grow out of there. Of course, we have a lot of ideas, but we have to meet first, be in the studio and combine our ideas. I am excited to start!
Can you tell us about the effect that Covid had on your work, particularly within the project with IDI, and if it made you rethink certain things about your job?
Of course, everything changed for everyone and especially in the sector, since we do not know what will happen tomorrow. And so, I feel in a strange mood, waiting for tomorrow, but it’s impossible to know what will be, so we just have to go on. Hopefully, everything will be better so in October we can meet and work. But we can’t stop ourselves, to have the possibility to work is important, the restrictions and regulations are confusing and make it hard to plan for the future. On the other hand, now we have the possibility to experiment with new possibilities and new ways of creation. With the duality project, we are working remotely, and new technologies help us, but we are still dancers, we need to move!
What do you consider as opportunities for the future of dance? Maybe related technologies and multimedia?
There are a lot of possibilities, and we have to be careful because sometimes new technologies can be very oppressive. The problem is sometimes that the new technologies are too much for dance. It is important to find the right balance of languages. We can create new and fascinating things, as with virtual reality, but without losing ourselves and humanity.
Leonardo Diana, IDI professor, collaborator, choreographer 2021