Marinella Senatore, School of Narrative Dance Open Call, workshop + performance
In 2012, Senatore launched The School of Narrative Dance (2012-ongoing), a participatory project also free of charge, provoked by an open call and centered on the emancipative power of storytelling, agency and public action. The project aims at stimulating freedom of assembly and freedom of expression – which although granted in most democratic societies, are rarely exercised by a majority of the people. Senatore works with language and body communication together with international choreographers, to whom the artist refers as “chief performers”, such as Berlin collective ESPZ (Elisa Zucchetti and Nandhan Molinaro), the artist’s very first collaborators, and Italian dancer Maria Fonzino, who has worked by her side since 2015 and is involved in the Malta iteration.
For the artist, dance is not an athletic endeavor and does not imply any pre-existent movement. Dance is about recognizing the body as a primary agent of transformation, even before speech. In fact, the body possesses universal elements of non-verbal communication, posture, and movement that say something about who we are. It all starts with the way we sit or walk, the way we move our head or touch someone else’s hand. Each unsuspecting move bears the potential to become a word in a complex vocabulary whose release into the public space makes us visible and potentially connected to others.
During a series of workshops, Senatore and the chief performer share a set of basic ideas meant to trigger a number of possible scenarios for the participants. It is in the gap between the instructions and the performance that emancipation comes into play. Anything can be part of the performance – from sound to movement, meditation, even silence. As participants are encouraged to sing, speak, dance, and relate to each other, they project themselves into a new ethical space, which is more inclusive than their families, schools, work environments or community of friends. In a way, The School of Narrative Dance is a process of questioning the social space we take for granted or criticize at safe distance.