November - December 2022 — Performing Arts
Swiss choreographer and dancer Alessandro Schiattarella will be in Cape Town, South Africa from 13 November – 9 December 2022 to continue his work with Unmute Dance Company exploring shared interests in ideas and themes relating to disability.
Unmute Dance Theatre, founded in 2013, is a company of artists with mixed abilities/disabilities using physical theatre, contemporary and integrated dance to create awareness on accessibility, integration and inclusion of people with disability within mainstream society.
Unmute Dance Company and Alessandro first started working together in 2016 with his participation in the Unmute Artsability Festival in Cape Town during his residency. Since then and on several occasions, they have continued their collaboration exploring disability and inclusion: In 2017 Nadine McKenzie of Unmute and Alessandro developed research towards a new work in the context of a residency in Bern and Basel organised by the Swiss company BewegGrund. This constellation of connections and exchange continued in 2019 during Nadine’s residency in Bern and Alessandro’s research trip to Cape Town. During this period Alessandro and the company started researching for a new work together, however their process was interrupted by the pandemic. Alessandro’s upcoming visit will provide an opportunity to continue this research and create a production together.
“Over the years of working together and exploring different ideas and themes around disability, we realised that even today there is still little knowledge and understanding of disability and related issues,” Nadine explains. “The term disability is vague and subject to individual interpretation. This is because we are talking about a very wide and complex field, which encompasses extremely diverse experiences, which are mostly foreign and incomprehensible to most people. With this work we would like to explore and further deepen the knowledge of some key disability-related themes and share them with the public in order to build bridges of understanding and access. These themes include accessibility, inspirational porn, power/have a voice positions, ableism, the social model of disability, crip time, hidden disabilities.”
Unfortunately, these topics remain largely unknown within society. Using a hybrid of didactic and artistic approaches, the collaboration aims to raise awareness about disability and many of the topics associated with it. The loose idea is that each of the performers of the company, including Alessandro, will develop one of these themes using speech, movement, video projection, interactions with texts or objects or whatever is needed to communicate the topic in the most interesting way. These individual performances will create islands of knowledge, which the audience will be invited to navigate through.
Alessandro Schiattarella was born in Naples in 1982. He studied dance at the Teatro
San Carlo in Naples, La Scala in Milan and graduated from Rudra Bejart in Lausanne. In 2016 he obtained the certificate of Advanced Studies in Dance Sciences at the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Bern and in 2020 a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at FHNW Basel. In 2014 he created his first solo “Altrove” which was then selected in the renowned international platform Aerowaves Twenty17. Since 1996 he has been affected by a rare condition called “Hirayama Disease”, which has led him since 2015 to develop choreographic projects in the field of disability such as “Tell me where it is” (2015), “Strano” (2017), “One at a Time” (2018), “Rejected” (2019) and “Sulle Sponde del Lago” (2022). His works have been presented in theatres, art spaces and festivals such as ROXY Birsfelden, Dampfzentrale Bern, Tanzhaus Zurich, Festival Belluard Bollwerk International Fribourg, Kunst Raum Riehen, Der Tank Basel, NO Limits Festival Berlin, Brave Festival Wracklaw, Temporada Alta Lima, Sommerblut Köln, Parade Festival Utrecht, Gati Dance Forum New Delhi, Festival Euro-Scene Leipzig, among others.