Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Letter SI MUOVE (Letter is on its way)

On Friday 27 November I will be in Bari at the Libreria Zaum (Zaum Bookshop) to talk about my book on Graham's Letter to the World with Valeria Simone. In the picture the programme of the bookshop for the month of November.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Dance Adaptation (what is it?)

Carlotta Brianza, the first Aurora in Petipa's Sleeping Beauty.
Within the Humanities, the term adaptation is usually linked to film studies, in that it focuses on the transposition of a literary work, usually a novel, into a film. Film Adaptation, then, studies what happens, on many levels, to a story when the medium changes. More broadly speaking, Linda Hutcheon defines it as "an acknowledged trasnposition of a recognizable other work or works" (2006: 8).

Dance Adaptation is a relatively unexplored field in Adaptation Studies and explores the choreographic transformation "of a recognizable other work or works". For example, ballets like Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet both are inspired by literary works, the Charles Parrault's fairy tale and William Shakespeare’s tragedy respectively. Dance history is filled with examples of dance adaptations and even in the past few decades, numerous very interesting pieces have been created, like Maguy Marin’s May B (1981), Antonio Gades and Carlos Saura’ Carmen (1983), and Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works (2015).

However, the definition of dance adaptation can be widened when thinking of the many dance adaptations of previous dance pieces, like Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake (1995), to quote one of the most famous examples. It is a fundamental aspect in the field as it deals with dance history in an innovative and at times controversial manner. Again quoting Hutcheon, adaptation is a “repetition without replication” (2006: xvi).

Under this label, I will explore various kinds of dance adaptation even beyond the above mentioned definitions, to see what happens when a story or a step or something else gets transmuted and transfigured into another medium or dance style.
The approach I will take is mainly cultural historic, with relatively simple but not simplistic language.



Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation (New York: Routledge, 2006).


May B, chor. Maguy Marin, music Franz Schubert, Gilles de Binche, Gavin Bryars, feat. 10 dancers from the Compagnie Maguy Marin, based on Samuel Beckett's work (Angers: Théâtre Municipal d'Angers, 4 November 1981).

Romeo and Juliet, chor. Ivo Psota, music Sergei Prokofiev, feat. the Bolshoi Ballet, based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Brno: Mahen Theatre, 30 December 1938).

Sleeping Beauty, chor. Marius Petipa, music Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, feat. Carlotta Brianza, Pavel Gerdt, Marius Petipa, Enrico Cecchetti and the Imperail Ballet, based on Cahrels Perrault's Sleeping Beauty (St. Petersburg: Mariinsky Theatre, 15 January 1890). 

Swan Lakechor. Matthew Bourne, music Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, feat. Adam Cooper and the New Adventures Company, based on Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and Tchaikovsky' Swan Lake (London: Sadler's Wells, 9 November 1995).

Woolf Works, chor. Wayne McGregor, music Max Richter, feat. Alessandra ferri and the Royal ballet, based on Virginia Woolf's three novels, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando and The Waves (London: Royal Opera House, 11 May 2015).  


Carmen, dir. Carlos Saura, chor. Antonio Gades, music, Georges Bizet, Paco de Lucia, feat. Antonio Gades, Laura del Sol, Cristina Hoyos, based on Prosper Mérimée's Carmen (Emiliano Piedra, 1983). 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Adaptations and the Metropolis Conference - How did it go?

Senate House, London.
After years of absence from conferences, attending the 10th Association of Adaptation Studies Conference in London last week (24-25 September) has been refreshing and exceedingly stimulating. Titled Adaptations and the Metropolis, it was devised to explore the interconnections between literature, films, videogames, dance, theme parks etc. and metropolises, because “through the presentation of the metropolis in past, present and speculative adaptations we are able to understand aspects of our changing lifestyles, the effects of urbanisation on literary and visual art, national identity, social inequalities, territorial displacement, environmental destruction, utopias and dystopias, and our social and psychological relationship with architecture and city development”.

Image from 1984 film.
The place where the conference was held, was Senate House, a building I was used to visit very often during my PhD research as it is the home of one of the best academic libraries in London, Senate House Library. In an eerie and uncanny way, the building was also the object of two fascinating papers, one by Nicholas Ruddick and the other by Elena Nistor, who both talked about its almost disturbing connection with literature and film (the meat of the matter in Adaptation Studies) in George Orwell’s novel 1984 and its 1984 film adaptation.

Start of the conference.
The keynote speaker of day one, Graham Holderness, gave a stupendous paper on the adaptations of Sweeney Todd, leaving us wondering about Fleet Street in London and Todd’s barber mechanical and diabolic chair. The panels I managed to attend were all interesting and in some cases also fun, like Joyce Goggin’s “Adapting the Moneyscape: Las Vegas and the City Theme”, Nico Dicecco’s “Adaptive Play: Scott Pilgrim and the Pleasures of a Violent City” or Ana Coelho’s “(Dis)placement and fantasy in Lost in Austen”.

In other cases, they took an unusual perspective on the topic, like Marta Frago’s “The city as mirror of dreams in the new political biopic”, which dealt with the connection between the city and representative figures (kings, queens, politicians) as portrayed in films like The Queen and The Iron Lady, or Johannes Fehrle’s “The Post-Apocalyptic City as Jungle in SpecOps: The Line” which focused on a videogame adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.

Slide from my paper.
There were many papers I was interested in but could not go to, like Dario Lolli's "Tōkyō, Capital of Postmodernity?”, Christophe Collard’s “Refracted Remediation: Pyncheon’s Brussels As Liminal Milieu”, José Duarte’s “Everything becomes chaos – Gotham as vision of the contemporary city” and Laura Fryer’s “Absorbing the world of others: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s adapted screenplays and presentations of cities”.

The conference programme.
What about my paper, “Kinetic lines, embodied perspectives: Martha Graham's Lamentation and the City of New York”? Well, I am pretty glad about it. It was scheduled for the afternoon of the first day in a beautiful room on the third floor. I had some problems with my powerpoint and was a little nervous, but I talked through all its most important aspects, was able to show all the photographic and audiovisual material I intended to show, and received cool and at times thought-provoking feed-back.

On day two, I was particularly mesmerized by the conversation between two historic figures, screenwriter Andrew Davies and former Head of BBC Drama, Jonathan Powell. It was like listening to history directly talking to us, and very informative of the way things work within television programming. The conference dinner was at Antalya Restaurant, a Turkish restaurant nearby and the buffet lunches and coffee breaks at Senate House during the two days were delicious.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Adaptations and the Metropolis - my paper

Lamentation is a solo Martha Graham created and performed in New York in 1930. At the 10th AAS (Association of Adaptation Studies) Conference, Adaptations and the Metropolis, I will present the paper "Kinetic lines, embodied perspectives: Martha Graham's Lamentation and the City of New York", focusing on its profound connections with New York both in terms of content and form. The above mute video portrays Graham dancing some parts of the solo in 1943, here is the source I have taken it from.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Adaptations and the Metropolis, 10th AAS Conference


On September 24th and 25th, 2015, at Senate House, London, there will be the 10th Annual Association of Adaptation Studies (AAS) Conference, whose theme is Adaptations and the Metropolis. I will take part with a paper titled "Kinetic lines, embodied perspectives: Martha Graham's Lamentation and the City of New York". Here is the full programme. I am very excited about this event and about my paper. I will soon add more info.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Letter - Review

The magazine Danza&Danza has published a nice review of my book Letter to the World: Martha Graham danza Emily Dickinson. The review was written by Maria Luisa Buzzi, whom I thank a lot, on the July/August number (263) of the magazine.

Letter - Review

Another review of my book, Letter to the World: Martha Graham danza Emily Dickinson has been published a while back by Leonilde Zuccari in Il giornale della danza. Here a link to the page. (The first one was by Krapp's Last Post by Stefania Zepponi, here the link).