Dante’s Paradise draws a path from the human to the divine, from time to eternity. In this timeless space, the body is de ned by movement, by the invisible interval that separates and connects bodies from and to each other. In this performance by Virgilio Sieni, one of Italy’s most acclaimed choreographers, movement does not translate the words of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Instead, the choreography gives matter to bodies outside the body, exploring the state of spatio-temporal suspension of the aura. An imaginary garden emerges from gestural architectures; here plants become the measure of the dance’s breath and of the light-and-shadow effects. The dancers create a texture of proximities and establish a new form of contact, where touch engages the aura around the bodies. In Virgilio Sieni’s Paradiso, Dante’s journey is materialised through the enchantment of suspended gestures and unexpected brightness.
Virgilio Sieni is an Italian dancer and choreographer who collaborates internationally with high-profile theatre, music and art institutions. His background in art and architecture informs his research on the language of the body and of dance. He was co-founder of the Parco Butterfly company and in 1992 he created Compagnia Virgilio Sieni, coming to the forefront as a leading figure on the international contemporary scene. Since 2003 he has directed CANGO Cantieri Goldonetta in Florence, a National centre for the Production of Dance and for research on and transmission of languages of the body. In 2007 he founded the Academy of the art of the gesture. He is a three-time winner of the Ubu Prize (2000, 2003, 2011), was awarded the Lo Straniero prize in 2011, and in 2013 was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He was the Director of the Venice Biennale Danza between 2013 and 2016. His research is based on the idea of the body as a place of acceptance of diversity and a space in which the archaeological complexity of gestures develops.