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Rizzo, daring tightrope walker of rhythm


The percussionist's performance in «The Darboka Monologues" at the Piccolo Teatro - produced by Emma Scialfa




CARMELITA CELI - La Sicilia - March 25, 2013




Sublime noises off stage. His hand against hand just like the "cantaores" of flamenco do,  beating "las pal- mas" around the tablao, except he is twice louder, more insistent, more orchestral. Only a handful of seconds and he is on stage, entirely, and he beats himself entirely: from head to toe (even his pockets full of loose change), with hands and feet, sometimes he looks like Pinocchio running. Actually, he is not there for himself but for her, his faithful darboka - a membranophone so loved by our North African cousins - that awaits for him patient and submissive, nestled at the foot of a stool in the middle of the stage. But he is there for him also, for Rhythm, because Giorgio Rizzo "a natural born percussionist," a witty and truly gifted musician and showman, is a rhythm "junkie". And he is self-confessed too: "I know, I know, I understand, I'm here just to say it: I suffer from an addiction to rhythm. "


Giorgio Rizzo's idea and show, "The Darboka Monologues," was recently presented at the Piccolo Teatro under the proposal and production of MotoMimetico's dancer and choreographer, Emma Scialfa.


The show is not only exciting as any true performance of a true soloist must and can be, but reveals surprising intelligence and originality, governed by uncommon sense of moderation and histrionic wisdom.


It is called"The Darboka Monologues" although the poor thing, in fact, does not talk at all,  except when Rizzo's magical hands light up its tones and touch all its possible keys. Not to mention, then, that there is only one monologue: the only brilliant, hilarious outburst of Giorgio. He makes a sounding forest of his obsession that is anything but dark, harsh and crazy, maybe, but hopelessly intoxicating.


It begins with a dejected and resigned tone, almost a la Woody Allen, but with the same fascinating (and apparent!) shyness it eventually overwhelms you with an irresistible, maniacal logic, where everything is rhythm. From the cosmic to the supermarket. "I choose things that have a sound I like. I hate beans but what a sound! And the cart! I'm not neurotic! " he says, guessing the initial dismay of his listeners. "I'm PLAYING! ". Luckily. And, with an infinite and unquestionable talent that we had already seen in other darting inventions such as 'S (u) ono-body" with Emma Scialfa, he remains a scenic miracle, also capable of sustaining the full, not easy solitude of a one man show.


Rhythm intended as a mystical and ascetic experience in heaven, on earth and in every place: in front of a computer keyboard in the office or "inside" the stethoscope snatched from the usual cardiologist friend. This is an anxious and anxiety-inducing rhythm, in the imaginary dialogue with a "low pitch" in which Giorgio Rizzo manages to be a bold, amazing tightrope walker of the word, a la Bergonzoni. And also on the schedule is a "Quark" (humming the Aria on the IV chord is a must) for the hypothetical episodes on "mongoloids" before offering us formidable solos with his only partner: chubby but with an enviable waistline, the darboka gives herself to him until the final, generous encore to which the audience does not skimp applause and celebrations and calls for more.





ROMANCE FRAMES,  violent encounters and collisions

 by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia  - December 3, 2012 


Even if it might not be true that sound film will never replace the silent cinema, as Edison had wished, it is definitely true that the "silent" dance can be a compromising and eloquent cinema. And, although she might not be Musa di Poesia, even Tersicore generates fragments of a love discourse, going through an invisible kind of cinema.

The choreographer and amazingly talented dancer Emma Scialfa, likes to call them 'Romance Frames', frames of a love story. The dance, music and words show was studied, together with the video maker Claudio Fausti, just a few days ago at Scenario Pubblico. In the "Agone" (a public performance/competition) there are two "danzattrici" - Simona Fichera and Giuliana Cocuzza - and one "danzattore", Alessandro Caruso. The three dancers showcase quite intriguing expressions and are rather convincing with their multifaceted technical skills. They promise to keep alive the lessons received from their artistic guide, Ms. Scialfa, who hopefully one day will decide to start dancing again. So, this is cinema narrated through dance. Or better yet, "translated", "recalled", revolutionized by scenic actions that, in the long run, seem to enter "other" dramas, this way giving up a mere portraying of frames. Those, ironically, are just what is missing in "Romance Frames", daringly denying the primordial nature of the images. The empty swings in the opening scene, still sinisterly oscillating (almost evoking a horror movie sequence from "The Monster of Dusserdolf" by Lang), will lead to hundreds of words filmed on a screen, fixed by the rapture of "solely" listening.  There is the Fellini shout "I want a woman!" (enounced by the "danzattore"), or fragments of Mastroianni and Maria Schell in " Notti Bianche", even pieces of a mexican newscast announcing the death of Frida Kahlo.

Nevertheless, this is still strictly cinema, that cannot be seen but yet highly visible: in every bitter, sinuous pas-de-deux, during the many violent, choral moments of encounter and collision, up to the last sequence danced to a "soft-porn" dialogue between the man and the woman. But as a contradiction, the dance shows that the relationship between the two women is anything but spiritual; they relegate the only male to a half voyeuristic, half onanism operation. 

It is a dream, but then again, maybe not. Because, as Godard cautioned, if television creates oblivion, cinema will always create…memories.




ROMANCE FRAMES. Body and soul fragments. On stage at the Teatro Piscator

by Stefania Castorina - Catania, June 27, 2012


It is uncensored art. It is a body dance intended as expression of a sentiment that is as romantically idealized as it is materially and physically untamed: a kind of Love that is fragmented, broken, reconstructed and mixed up through the different characters pulled out from films, almost as if they were pieces of soul, filled with danced movement. The cinematographic references, skillfully built by Claudio Fausti, materialize on stage like voices intertwined with music, through an uninterrupted dialogue between film and body movement. The dialogue is magnificently directed by Emma Scialfa, and skillfully performed by a trio of dancers, Alessandro Caruso, Simona Fichera e Silvia Filippi. 

The costumes and set design are basic yet effective. Three swings, symbolizing the material oscillation between reality and desire, become a delicate support for the body; a 'body' which is in contact with itself and with others through a movement that expresses the fantasies, fears, modesty and shamelessness of a mysterious and incumbent psyche. 

On stage, the body becomes very real and manifests, with sincerity, its physicality and erotic essence. It is a body that can be self indulgent or self rejecting at the same time, that shows or hides itself, but still constantly looks in others for the perpetual alternation of encounters and collisions, of pain and love. It could be a soldier or a little girl, an aristocratic lover or a betrayed wife… The characters blend, get dressed, then undressed, then they transform themselves… until they find themselves in a flash of light and darkness: maybe awake…? maybe alone…? Maybe just awaken from the love delirium that had turned them upside down…?

Romance Frames, which opened on May 31 at the Teatro Piscator in Catania, is convincing, for the top quality dancing, for the originality of the choreographies, for the flawless execution and for the knowledgeable film references. But it also proves MotoMimetico company (whose repertoire includes other performances worthy of mention such as Bolero and Sulla Passione) as one of the leading dance companies of the contemporary dance scene in Sicily and nationwide, thanks to its cultural depth, the originality of its artistic choices, and especially to Ms. Scialfa's ability to dig her pieces into the body's part that is most sensitive to art: the soul.





by Carmelo Antonio Zapparata - Arte e Arti April 21, 2012


Sulla Passione, work of 2009 - winner of the Lungo La via Frangicena, un viaggio del corpo e dell'anima competition in Siena - tells the contradictions of the 'system of values' that permeates Sicily during the traditional processions of the Holy Week and the local festivities of the island. 

In the show, conceived by Scialfa/Romeo and performed by en ensemble of six young dancers, we can find some stylistic traits that bring us back to Kurt Jooss' expressionism,  especially for its strong satirical aspects.

The procession, where a Bearded Saint (perhaps is the "Santo Barbaro' mentioned by Schiller in his poems) is carried by the worshippers, preludes to a big fresco in motion, that represents the village in celebration. The machismo of the congregation's hosts matches the marionettes' movements and the holy effigies, caught smoking long cigars while stroking their equally long beards.  Sulla Passione ironically and benevolently outlines the hypocrisy of some religious rites. The musical score is composed of marches as well as a southern brass band repertoire. The choreographies skillfully display the single/group relationship that aims to represent the 'social eye' and its strong influence on human behavior. 





BOLERO "beyond" by Emma Scialfa - Teatro Piscator - Catania

by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia January 17, 2011


The choreographer reinterprets a masterpiece of contemporary dance.  

"(…)To embrace, to love and to carry the burden of Ravel's Bolero after Maurice Bejart's titanic theater endeavor in 1961, is a task of equally titanic proportions (his "Sacre" was some sort of positive "September 11" of dance and art: nothing was ever going to be the same again). Emma Scialfa gives it a try. She is a sensational dancer, "danzattrice" and choreographer - that possibly possesses the same 'hybris" as Prometheus - whose talent has often been underestimated and perhaps enslaved by the "masters of thinking" of the contemporary art.  

Scialfa's adaptation of Bolero opened at the Piscator Theater as part of the "Nuovi Movimenti" season. She is the author of the show’s choreography and lighting design while the cast of dancers is composed by Erika Cassarino, Giuliana Cocuzza and Alessandra Contarino. She reads and redrafts a piece of historical memory, almost denying the dance itself, or at least not giving it the primary role that it used to have at the time" (…).

"(…)Emma recalls "Bolero". She brings the rhythmic cell "back to the heart" and goes beyond the dance itself by accepting to use the legendary "Ostinato" style, progenitor of the "Loop" that we can find in the instrumental music of Aptal Trio. By embracing the madness of Ravel's brilliant creation that went beyond music ("My masterpiece? Unfortunately, it contains no music", the composer used to say sardonically) Scialfa accepts to go beyond dance; she entrusts the performers, with their exquisite skills, to the true "choreography", she relies on them to deliver the emotional, exciting and dramatic climax that we are used to experience in "Bolero". 





by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia January 11, 2005


"(….)Emma Scialfa, dancer, choreographer and leader of the theater company MotoMimetico, gives us many breathtaking moments in the fifty amazing minutes that are her latest effort. But they are just not enough to explain the "storm and the assault" of "S(u)ono Corpo", where the body's sounds and the sounds' movement don't just come together in a "project" (which in contemporary dance is often synonym of a cold and detached creation), but also fuse together in a show that is talent, thought, performance (…)

The concept here is that the body is a sensible place, an instrument.  Or better yet, instruments of a prolific family of percussions. This is the drama of "Suono Corpo" (sound/body), and it is based on the principle that the body is, believably, materially, artistically and orchestrally "played" from the big toe to the forehead". 





Italo Interesse - Quotidiano Bari October 9, 2007

       "The human body possesses a sound perception that is worth exploring. The voice, the breath and the pulse are the most common expressions of this potential. Right after that, come the clapping of our hands, the noise of footsteps, the swishing sound of fingers running though hair. There are several ways of massaging the body.  One of them suggests that the body be gently slapped. The sounds that come out vary, based on the areas involved, their texture and the way of striking them. If this combination of sounds is rationalized and researched, it can evolve into music (…) It is a body symphony (…)"





by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia December 27, 2004


 "(…)Dance was video. If dancing is seeing, the marriage between Tersicore and Television has already been conceived, tried out and in certain cases is even a bit dated. What's new, maybe, is the way the "danzattrice" Emma Scialfa develops the nightmare. With great measure and wisdom, in Maria Arena's "room", not only does she illustrate but she also stimulates, anticipates, concludes.  The show, less than an hour long, is made of many obsessions, dreamt, dormant and awakened; they are small "acts" consolidated into a coherent drama, agile and steady at the same time. "Sleep Chamber" and video become one. 





by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia April 13, 2004


"It's a thinking body. Or perhaps a dancing mind. In short, it's Emma Scialfa (…) fearless, restless and insatiable creator and artistic director of Majaze'; a space (that once used to be an orange warehouse) for theater, dance, teaching and entertainment located in the heart of Catania (…)"




by Virginia Cacchi - La Sicilia April 6, 2004


"(…) With the novel "La Sirena" of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (read with great expressiveness by Piero Sammataro) as a starting point, the suggestive teather/dance  effort "La Muta" winds and unveils itself slowly.  In the first portion of the original performance the atmosphere is as magical as the charming presence of Scialfa and Pagano (…)"






by Carmelita Celi - La Sicilia May 4, 2003


"(…)  loud and silent, invasive and indifferent mass solitude. 4 Caminos are four roundtrip walks, from appearance to essence, from sacred to profane; but they are first and foremost <<journeys>> never taken, endless waits that reminisce of Beckett, in a storm of private vices and public virtues ".

"(…) Emma Scialfa offers us, in a mocking and paralyzing solo, some kind of nutty and neurotic female Charlot. At the end, the "walkers", recomposed and naked (dressed solely of a ritual gesture), blindly surrender to the audience that submerges them with applause".