Creativity And Dance: Interview With Nunzio Impellizzeri
By Anna Robb
Nunzio Impellizzeri is a choreographer known for his unique artistic signature, dynamics and strong visual imagery. His work is highly physical, impassioned and characterized by an innovative use of space. Nunzio’s visual arts background plays a significant role in his creations. His studies in art history, live drawing, the art of sculpture as well as costume design, deeply influence the way he creates work. TheatreArtLife caught up with Nunzio Impellizzeri to discuss dance, creativity and his creation methods.
Nunzio, how did you get into dance? What made you decide to make a career out of it?
I had just completed my art studies when by chance I have met dance and, above all, choreography. Until then, painting and sculpture had been my best means of expression. I found myself observing the rehearsals of a dance company working with the choreographer on a new creation. I was amazed and fascinated by how dance moved and shaped the bodies of the dancers in the space. I was dazzled.
I had found the form of expression that would move and shape my need to make art within space. I began to study and deepen my knowledge in dance, its techniques, history and the many forms of creating it. In this artistic form I discovered the non-verbal language, as very in line with my being and my need of expression. Dance allows me to see beyond, to move forward and develop, to inspire myself and inspire others. It is the art form that most keeps me connected to life, that makes me perceive people with whom I relate.
Dance not only allowed me to get to know new cultures, languages, and places, but it also made my human revolution, from which I get inspired to create the most beautiful value for life.
Every time I start a new work, it leads me on a journey towards something always new, something that I haven’t yet deepened or explored. It brings me in that place where all my experiences merge together and begin to communicate in a single act of unity, while the body remains at the center of everything.
In your opinion, what makes someone creative? How does one evolve their creativity?
I am convinced that we are all deeply creative.
Creativity has to do with a deep awareness of the meaning of life. It’s essence and freedom of mind. Creativity helps us to see beyond, to develop new ideas and to be free. It makes us full of enthusiasm, vitality and passion.
We evolve our creativity by maintaining a great curiosity for life. Immersing oneself in new experiences, writing, reading, exploring new things and trying new stimuli.
Have a free mind and curiosity, keep ready to be challenged and always give unconditionally.
It’s great how all our experiences, ideas and desires can mix and match to create something unique!
How does your visual arts background influence your creative process? Break this process down for us.
After graduating in art studies in Sicily, I realized that dance is the artistic tool closest to my nature and most suitable for painting, shaping and transforming the space. Choreography – a moving art – a communication toolbox.
My work is characterized by a big attention to detail. My art studies help me to see in complexity my work, the costumes, the scenes and the atmospheres even before I bring them to the stage. This ability allows me to better express my ideas to my creative team.
Where do you begin your creative process? How do your ideas form and develop?
It often happens to me that an inspiration comes from an interest that has been neglected and not deepened up to that moment, that suddenly strikes my attention and sticks in my head; it acts as a stimulus, as a search almost reaching the obsession of the same, the absorption and finally the elaboration. The inspirations can be many, but especially in my case they are suggestions belonging to everyday life.
Each creation is different, but the element that unifies them all is a strong curiosity. Once the topic is decided, I research as much as I can about it via lectures, films, art, philosophy, mythology, and music and thereupon, I create the framework that will provide structure to the creation.
When you select performers, what do you look for? What are the inherent qualities you seek in your troupe?
I like to be ” touched “, something must deeply affect me when I meet a new performer. Honesty, sincerity and fragility wrapped in strength and determination must reach the heart. It is the heart that moves everything.
My pieces are physically challenging and impress with their captivating aesthetics of modern poetic expression. I like to work with performers with high technical skills, unique movement qualities, and a strong stage presence. But also performers who are able to leave space for their individual movement vocabulary.
I invite my dancers to remain different in their bodies, maintaining their own integrity but all together nourish the same intent. This is ultimately the way to success in people’s hearts.
One of your company’s aims is to question social behaviour. How do you convey these themes through dance? How do you begin to build this vocabulary? Explain the process.
My productions emerge from my observation of human existence within a social context. I like to invite the audience to reflect and question social phenomena. The developed movement language communicates through intense physicality and intricate patterns carried by a clear dramaturgy.
By giving tasks to the dancers, I like to tickle their personal creativity.
My aim is to deepen knowledge within the group, within every single dancer, and even myself.
I like to observe and study strengths and weaknesses of the dancers, those perhaps not yet discovered by the dancers themselves. I am interested in building a trusting environment where dancers can feel free to step out of their comfort zones, to push themselves over their own limits and find new vulnerable areas. The final aim is to find a marriage between my thoughts and those of the dancers.
In the final composition on stage, I like to rediscover the diversity of bodies and bring them to a common language. Traveling along a precise dramaturgy – or, if necessary, letting it unravel organically – to codify and give shape to the result that then will be staged.
Your choreography is often physically challenging. What kind of training regime do your dancers do to prepare themselves for your creations?
My dancers are characterized by strong technique and physical strength. We don’t have a defined training that repeats itself, but we rather adapt and shape it to the needs of the dancers. From a ballet training to contemporary, yoga or physical strengthening. For me it is important that the dancer is physically and mentally ready for the work. I pay a lot of attention to the constant progress of the group and in agreement with the rehearsal director, we formulate the best training for the physical and mental well-being of the group.
Do you have the ultimate production you want to make? Location, dancer numbers, vision? Tell us about that.
We have recently concluded the creation of CORPO BAROCCO. A creation for 5 male dancers that had its premiere at the Tanzhaus in Zurich, and started the tour with the Teatro Bellini in Naples in Italy.
The previous productions of the company will continue to be on tour.
The idea for a new creation is already haunting me. But at this stage I like to keep it a surprise. Just stay tuned and follow our social media and webpage.
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