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© Claudia Borgia & Chiara Bruschini

Save the last dance for me

Alessandro Sciarroni

A Dance on the Road to Extinction

Moving to the rhythm of a techno heartbeat, dancers Gianmaria Borzillo and Giovanfrancesco Giannini whirl around, eyes locked on each other. Sometimes crouched in a wrestling stance, they perform a traditional Italian ballroom dance until they’re exhausted. Their enactment of this ritual becomes athletic, magnetic, visceral. Joined together, the two men hold each other gracefully, defying stereotypes of gender identity. Tenderness and technical mastery combine in a moving act of collaboration.  

The Italian artist Alessandro Sciarroni incorporates diverse physical activities, including sports, juggling, and folk dance, into contemporary performance, blurring the boundaries between disciplines. Through dance workshops held in conjunction with the show wherever it plays, Save the last dance for me is reviving the polka chinata, a folk dance on the verge of disappearing. Sciarroni is ensuring that this living heritage is passed on, putting a contemporary spin on it in a rigorous, hypnotic show that’s truly magical.

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© Andrea Macchia

Alessandro Sciarroni (San Benedetto del Tronto)

Trained in theatre, Italy’s Alessandro Sciarroni approaches dance from the viewpoint of a visual artist. His atypical process involves professionals specializing in various physical disciplines and practices. He uses the theatrical context to engage in dialogue with other forms, notably dance, circus arts, and sport, creating pieces that transcend traditional genre definitions.

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“They spring forcefully, vigorously, freeing all that masculine energy compressed inside their bodies. Whilst performing they maintain unyielding eye contact like honourable, valiant rivals.”

Anna Trevisan, Abcdance (Italy), 2019-08-24


“When I approach a dance that’s existed for 130 years, like the polka chinata, or like the “schuhplattler,” which I used in one of my pieces and which goes back over a thousand years, I admire the dignity of something that has the capacity to survive over time.”

Read the interview