First Day at Danzainfiera in Italy

February 19, 2009

One of Florence’s biggest dance events, danzainfiera, offers four full days of performances, classes, auditions, and competitions for every kind of dance imaginable. There are some clear favorites, though—hip hop, show dance, and tango reign supreme. But, for my money, I’ll take some of the terrific contemporary ballet that is so gutsy and in your face, you’re exhausted watching, even after one performance.

I’m talking, specifically, about RBR, a dance company founded in 1998 by Cristiano Fagiolo. It’s based in Verona, Italy and makes frequent appearances at competitions and exhibitions such as danzainfiera.

The wildly popular company (last night at the gala, I could hear my neighbors murmuring, Che bravi! Che bravi! How terrific! How clever!) captured everyone’s attention with its etch-a-sketch kind of choreography (from Statuaria), which emphasizes the dramatic line and extreme flexibility of the seven women and two men dancers. Their playful timing makes it look like they slowly pour themselves into extreme classical lines.

Also performing at the gala were Botega, Enzo Celli’s nationally-known company of dancers, athletes, and acrobats known for its body-popping antics and  FlamenQueVive, which performed music and dance with Andalusian themes and of wildly varying tempi.

For the under 14s (or so), you can find High School Musical 3‘s  Jemma McKenzie-Brown (who played Tiara Gold) saying a few words in Italian and dancing some or see l’Antonino or la Simonetta of the popular I Ragazzi Di Amici television show singing and dancing (although I noticed the house was half full for I Ragazzi).

For those looking for more classical art, you can stop by the temporary ballet studios of the Ballet School of Teatro alla Scala, no less, and watch classes held by ballet master Frederic Olivieri, or you can observe demonstrations by RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing) masters.

There’s also a dizzying amount and variety of dancewear and literature, performances by dance schools, and meetings with prominent figures from the dance and arts world. The four days costs 25 Euros (about $30 U.S.) and is held at the historic Fortezza da Basso in the beautiful city of Florence.

Danzainfiera is a major dance scene, for sure, and a bit trying to figure out what’s happening when (even for a moderately-acceptable Italian speaker such as myself), but it’s worth the effort. For more, see