“If I was asked to tell you about an image of happiness, that would be me on an upland, sitting on a rock, under the sun, a book in my hands” (S. Belmondo)
First love is an act of reparation put in an envelope and addressed to the first love. It’s the story of a boy in the 90s who didn’t like football but cross country skiing instead – and dancing too, but since he didn’t know any movement he used to copy the ones of ski, in his living room, in his bedroom, swallowed by the everlasting green of a Northern Italian province.
That boy now grown up, not anymore a skier but a dancer, not on the snow but on the stage, not a competitor but still a competitor, because of that agonistic attitude towards choreography that never fades away, recurring as it is, he met his childhood idol, the OIympic Champion StefaniaBelmondo, and went back to the mountain. Time has come to tell the world that his first love needed to exist, that it would tear his chest apart more than anything else.
Re-enacting the most renowned competition run by the Italian champion, a 15km free style race at the Olympic Games of Salt Lake City, First love becomes scream of revenge, desperate jubilation, dissolution of nostalgia.
Marco D’Agostin is an artist active in the fields of dance and performance. He has been acknowledged with several prizes in Italy and Europe: among them the UBU Award as Best Performer Under 35 (the most prestigious prize for theatre in Italy) and the second prize at the (Re)connaissance contest in Grénoble.
After a disjointed education with internationally reknown masters (Claudia Castellucci, Yasmeen Godder, Nigel Charnock, Rosemary Butcheramongothers), he strengthens his skills both as performer (working for Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, Alessandro Sciarroni, Tabea Martin, Liz Santoro among others) and maker (his works have been touring in all Europe since 2010).
His poetics is fluid, dinamic, constantly adapting.
At the moment it resonates with visions from atlases, books by M. P. Shiel, catalogues of extinct creatures and iconographies generated by videos on Youtube. Recurring themes in his projects are memory operation, archive fever and entertaining as form of a specific relation between spectator and performer.
The choreographic devices he creates pay debt to the lesson that italian poet Amelia Rosselli gave about writing: “Concerning metrics, being it free it used to vary according to associations or to my own pleasure. Annoyed by preset schemes, overflowing from them, it used to adapt to a tempo that was psychological, musical and instinctive”.
The piece of art he’s more attached to is The Disintegration Loops I by William Basinski.
a project by and with Marco D’Agostin
scientific advice Stefania Belmondo and Tommaso Custodero
dramaturgical advice Chiara Bersani
lights Alessio Guerra
technical director Paolo Tizianel
promotion Damien Modolo
organization Eleonora Cavallo
visual Isabella Ahmadzadeh
production VAN 2018
co-production Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale, Torinodanza festival e Espace Malraux – scène nationale de Chambéry et de la Savoie
within the project “Corpo Links Cluster”, supported by Programma di Cooperazione PC INTERREG V A – Italia-Francia (ALCOTRA 2014-2020)
with Centro Olimpico del Fondo di Pragelato
created in residency at Lavanderia a Vapore, Centro Regionale per la Danza, inTeatro, Teatro Akropolis
supported by ResiDance XL
© Alice Brazzit
Notes on Short Theatre 2020
What else is your work about, besides what is already told in the synopsis?
It is about something that happens on the margin, always and in any case. It is about a thin boy who was always ill and whose idols were female sports champions and Cristina D’Avena. It is about a poor unlucky sport, about a van that carried 11 of us and took us to do something that none of us really wanted to do. It is about the few bites of the world that we could take between the races and the dark: walks in the snowy woods, the privilege of few, the privilege of the cross-country and not of the downhill skiers, who in my imagination always came across warm and welcoming chalets, hot chocolate with cream and hot tubs overlooking the Dolomites. This work is about the province, about a sport that can only be from the province; from the 1980s and the 1990s North-Eastern province, from its poor part; and obviously, like everything and as always, it is about class differences. But this is a secret.
Who or what—real or imaginary, present, past or future—do you think contributed to the creation of this work?
23 degrees below zero, Valle di Gares, Dolomites. The mountains surround the cross-country ski track, their silhouettes are so high that in the short winter days the sun never manages to trim them down. I am 5 years old, someone older than me tightens the laces of my boots and hooks them to the skis. A few hours later my toes start to hurt, but something tells me that I can’t complain: I have to be tough like frozen snow, like rock spurs, like beer mugs, like congealed mud, like the frozen ropes at the edge of iced waterfalls. Two blocks of flesh try to do what the teacher says: slide forward, slide, slide lightly; but they look like tractors hanging from their legs and being dragged downwards. Later someone older will drag my tired little body into a heated room with a kerosene stove; the shoes will struggle to get out of the feet and I will see my nails that have started to freeze. That adult’s warm hands will massage the fingers until dissolving the capillaries, the blood will begin to flow and the feet will be on fire. In jargon, we say you have “little devils in your feet”. That unexpected and undeserved physical pain, the smell of wax and the heart pumping blood in all or most veins, all of this.
What do you imagine you will say about this work in fifteen years time? Would you ever have imagined making such work fifteen years ago?
I believe there is a place where works that have yet to be created await us. They are the seeds of sadness described by Rilke while we answers the young poet: we have to welcome them into ourselves, even if we still don’t know what they are, because only by holding them tight in the chest they will become happy one day. Works await us as ideas, relationships and feelings do; some of them become real and others do not, but we recognize those who succeed. There is always a moment, around the end of the research or shortly after the debut and in some case many runs after the debut, in which the work suddenly becomes familiar to us. However, it is not a matter of experience or domestication: we simply found a relative in the crowd.