Moby Dick is Chiara Bersani’s new creation for Swedish integrated dance company Spinn, directed by Veera Suvalo Grimberg. The independent artist from Lodi, choreographer, dramatist and well-known collaborator and performer of Alessandro Sciarroni and Marco D'Agostin, following up on the success of her last solo piece, Gentle Unicorn, in which she forcefully reiterates – between expectations and suspensions – that “the body can no longer escape its political essence, when it engages with society imposing its form on the world and receiving meanings, interpretations and expectations in response”, has been commissioned to prepare this new work, Moby Dick, for four dancers with and without disabilities from Danskompaniet Spinn. Suffering herself from brittle bone disease, Chiara Bersani has been obliged several times to suspend the project she began in 2018, due to the pandemic.
After the cancellation of artist residency programmes, which fostered mutual acquaintance and the opportunity to work on site, the creation came up against a number of problems caused by distance, although she did manage a short residency stint in Rovereto before the debut at the Festival. This sparked a further reflection by the choreographer on the difficulty of living with disability during the pandemic. So, her Moby Dick is not the white whale deeply entrenched in our imaginations, a distant creature of the abyss, but something impossible to visualise with the naked eye, an entity that envelops us because “we are inside her – the artist says – and she is inside us... just like a virus”.
While Herman Melville's nineteenth-century novel inspires a reflection on waiting, on staying, on not knowing how to act, Bersani's free reinterpretation through the bodies and movements of the four Swedish dancers highlights a sense of bewilderment, the bewilderment that generates the mist that suddenly rises up from the sea.
In a speechless landscape the dancers live through a deafening silence and wait, perhaps, for something new to happen; a spark that can ignite the body’s rhythm through an explosion followed by peace. “I don't think this place-creature is dangerous – Bersani writes in the notes that accompany the work – I don’t think it really frightens my onstage partner creatures, but it is so terribly unknown that it does stir something deep inside them, something that comes long before fear. What is there before fear? I don't know. There’s only one thing I know for sure: Moby Dick is sound. And we are the people who try to live in the noise”.
Choreography Chiara Bersani
Artistic Director Veera Suvalo Grimberg
Dancers Britta Kangas, Hannah Karlsson, Felicia Sparrström and Annika Vestel
Dramaturgy Marco D'Agostin
Artistic Advice Matteo Ramponi
Movement Coach Marta Ciappina
Mentoring Alessandro Sciarroni
Music Ilaria Lemmo
Lighting Design Emily Lavebäck
Costume Greta Rizzi
Technician Jonathan Fischhaber and Robert Persson
Production Danskompaniet Spinn in cooperation with Producentbyrån and Corpoceleste_C.C.00#/
Co-production Oriente Occidente and Dansnät Sverige
Supported by Västra Götalandsregionen, Kulturrådet, Göteborgs stad and Vara Konserthus
Realized with the support of EBA Europe Beyond Access and Creative Europe