Dancing Day, Joseph Fontano’s book “The Dancing Lightning. almost a novel

A biographical book of one of the fathers of contemporary dance was published. A hymn to the art of dance written by the master and choreographer who has trained generations of dancers, and is now head of the World Dance Alliance in Europe. Leonita Bentivoglio wrote in the preface: “When she danced it was a flash, a twinkle, a cloud, a bolt of lightning driven by currents of charisma.”

He is one of the fathers of contemporary dance in Italy. One of the first to bring Graham’s technique directly from America and then developed his own artistic language that shaped generations of dancers. Joseph Fontano celebrates his 70th birthday with the song “Dancing Lightning.” Almost a Novel”, an autobiographical book (published by A & B and written with Marialisa Monna) Which comes on April 29 to celebrate International Dance Day, which this year marks its 40th anniversary. This day, promoted by the UNESCO International Dance Council, was established in 1982 with the aim of promoting and spreading the universal values ​​of this art.

“When he danced it was a flash”


“Nuit Romaine”, a Preljocaj movie with Abagnato and Dior . costumes

president World Dance Alliance in Europe And from 2009 to 2013 fromInternational Dance Committee – International Institute of Theater Of UNESCO, Joseph Fontano was born in New York. His mother was one of the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall in New York, and his father was a war hero. As a dancer, he perfectly captured the magic and rebelliousness of the ’70s through a natural, lightning-quick dance as Leonetta Bentivoglio recalls in the prologue.

“A fluid and thin young man, with peculiar elongated and flexible muscles, Joseph had a queer charm, far from the stereotypes of a dancer, and in this peculiarity he proved incredibly harmonious. When he danced he was a shimmer, a shimmer, a cloud, a thunderbolt driven by the currents of charisma. (. ..) His leap that crossed the stage of the theatre, or that cut during lessons, the space of the great hall of study on Via del Gesu, or the Roman school that Joseph led with Elsa Piperno, is like the flight with the outstretched wings of a huge brown bird. Or an anti-romantic angel. Or a mysterious demon. It was thin but very strong, solid. (…) For the knowledge of modern dance, not only in Rome but throughout Italy, those years, the signs of revealing the theatrical use of the body and new views of the presentation of the dances, were decisive. The illuminations came from the United States, and the dance center of Via del Gesu was one of the decisive drivers of these discoveries in Italy.”

Beginnings in New York and meeting with Elsa Piperno

From a young age he showed his ability to the arts, first approaching drawing and from 1968 to dancing. He completed his first studies in New York at the School of Visual Arts and later at the New School for Social Research University under the supervision of Laura Furman. Here he studies contemporary dance with Paul Sanasardo, who would later be one of the main figures in his life and career realization, along with Remy Charlip, Cliff Thompson, Yvonne Rayner, Manuel Alum and Trisha Brown. Between 1968 and 1971 he studied at modern dance artists She participates in a series of workshops with Anna Sokolow, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, Pina Bausch and Manuel Alum. In 1974 he was noticed by Martha Graham who invited him to study with her and her company and with whom Fontano had a relationship that lasted until 1979.
1971 is the year of the artistic turning point in Fontano’s career as a dancer and choreographer, he decides to move to Rome where, in CID (International Dance Center) , Meets Elsa Babernowith which he began a technical partnership that led them the following year to establish with others The first contemporary dance company in ItalyAnd Contemporary Dance Theater in RomeAnd Of which with Piperno is the technical director, and The first professional center for contemporary dance. For Joseph, the Roman years represented the real turning point in his long and promising career. The most influential figures of the Italian dance era meet in the studio on Via del Gesù, a true crossroads for choreographers, dancers, journalists, critics, decorators and lovers of the world of dance.

Hymn to the art of dance

The book, which tells about the birth and realization of a dream, is autobiographical and, at the same time, a mural of New York in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and Rome, the city that became his second home.. Among the memories, digressions, ideas and reviews taken from the newspapers of the time, the book is a hymn To the art of dance and to all those who were its greatest heroes. All told through encounters, the work and love of a man who had never imagined entering the history books as one of the pioneers of a new way of seeing the art of dance, a dance theater that Italy had never seen before. .


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