martedì 22 novembre 2011

Alessio De Giulli: an interview on the wings of dance

This is a very special post dedicated to a wonderful person who merits to be known from all of you for his energy, for the love he puts in his art, for the emotions he transmits, for what he represents for me and who knew him and how he lived his life.
I met Alessio in 2005 in San Vincenzo thanks to my sister, Samuela, who, in that period, worked with him. I was literary felt in love with this dancer, I cried for his representations as I’m crying now that I’m writing about him. The fact is not that he’s a sad person, quite the opposite! For this post and only for this post, I asked Alessio to write his biography without omit details, also what must not be read on a man’s life.

Alessio De Giulli

My biography.
A biography. How can I start to write a biography? A great person and friend of mine asked me to write it for a blog. In this period, I’m writing a book inspired to my life and now, I’m in front of a short biography draft. Difficult!
The risk could be writing useless or not interesting thing but also not to insert important steps, because in everyone’s life, in every footprints left on the sand of passed time, there are little and big event which are difficult to slip up into more or less significant.
But I like challenges… so, let’s start! Where? 
From the beginning, of course!

I was born in Livorno in 1974, the 29th of December. I must be a pain in the neck given that I decided to born just between Xmas’ holy days. But my birth was , with no doubt, a happy event.
When I decided to meet the world, all my family lived some enthusiastic moments. Someone drunk…(even if he often did it); someone else communicated my birth by the grey telephone hung on the entrance wall on my grandfather’s house, another cried on the balcony, someone run along the road and, maybe, someone prayed for me.
There were lots of reasons to pray for this baby, born under the sign of  Capricorn, with a strong influence of his ascendant, Leo. He was strongly desired by his parents, although her mother’s parents didn’t give the permission of their relationship (and now I understand why). So they retained that the only way to get married was to reproduce! And when my mother, at the age of 17, became pregnant, I witnessed my first marriage inside her womb, under a white dress made of silk, lace and organza. Unfortunately, that strong will, that happiness which my parents showed during the wedding, that beauty of young newlyweds of the seventies, should not last forever  and should have created serious problems to me and my brother’s lives.
During my childhood, I knew the mercilessness of poverty, the horror of games of chance, the sadness after familiar quarrels, the delusion for your mother. And, as a consequence, I learnt hat life but also death exist, that your brother could rely on you to be protected, that you must spit and bite your classmates that called you “Poof” or “Penniless wretch”. I sustained and absorbed, I sustained and absorbed. I saw my mother took food out of  her mouth to give it to her children and I can guarantee that it’s a scene that a child can never forget but should bear it in mind for the rest of his life.
Every day I saw disasters but I also learnt that there are big and simple pleasures like to share the classic children’s plays with your cousins, your sister and your neighbourhoods; the pleasure to go fishing on the sea with your father and your grandpa (things that happened just few times) and discovering pleasures, like sex, which you could know gradually or abruptly. And growing, I should learn more and more the sacrifice but also every kind of drugs: some by reflection thanks (or owing to) my uncles’ heroin addiction who, after years of pains and powerlessness, they should cause my paternal grandparents’ death; and others for normal personal use, for amusement… but always with responsibility and precaution (although it’s a nonsense talking about responsibility and precaution when you take drugs).
And then, I abandoned female sex, learning in depth my homosexuality since I accept it and make others accepted it, either they want or not.
I went through my parents’ divorce and civic fame to be a prisoner’s son. But above all, I discovered the best love of my life: Music.
When I was a boy, I used to dance like a foolish and sing miming a viny record in my bedroom. I was shy and introvert and I did never perform in public. I did everything behind every human eyes. 
But music was all for me. And run wild on Pink Floyd, Kiss, Heather Parisi, Queen, Viola Valentino’s notes, it was the best sensation my body could feel. I had a big record collection thanks to my mother and her sister’s passion, but my first musical buying, made with my money (and my mother’s help), was a walkman with a musicassette (“True Blue” by Madonna). It was 1986 and my life started to make another sense. Hers.  
Oppressed by my familiar challenges, Madonna was becoming my saviour. Her music, her words that I translated from English to Italian with the help of the dictionary, her videoclips, her provocations, her style, her constant changes of clothes, her eccentricity, her music revolution were “materializing” my wishes. But it need years in order to my wishes became true. In 1990 with Vogue, Madonna confined me in front of the TV with my videotape recorder that went “rew and play” while I imitated her choreography for the Vogueing launching. The imitation became a very representation.
My sister went to a dance school and looked at me dancing and made trying some steps in our umpteenth rented house garage, she suggested me to go with her to dance school. After many hesitations, my father’s disapproval and after having resolved the economic problems (the teacher offered me free courses because I was the only boy), I put my first dance shoes on at the age of 17. In that moment, a lifejacket  appeared to my life. Dance was saving my life.
The first years of dance school I passed in Livorno but my ambitions and capacities were bigger. But I must be quick because I already was on adult age. So, finally, it arrived the moment to put my dance shoes on a backpack and go away.
I studied dance while I worked as a welder, while I cleaned lavatories at school and while I was a street trader. And while I studied dance, I won competitions, scholarships and I became more and more capable.
In the meantime, I worked as a model for some little clothes firms and hat stylists, and on TV as an extra in a film, on shows, events, catwalks and go on. But something is missing. Every time I was in a theatre for dancing, I felt myself as in a “temple”. That was my temple. 
I “lived” in a theatre. 
In 1998, I was on the horn of a dilemma: leaving for London or accepting a job offer of a dance company? I never understood if it was the right choice but, because of this company, my ambitions became true. For a year, I worked as a simple dancer, the year after I worked as assistant choreographer and two years after I became artistic coordinator and soloist dancer of the company. In 2002 I had an all mine company and I became artistic director.
I was the artistic director of a theatre: unbelievable! At 27 years old, I finally had my temple. Yahoooooo!!!!!
My golden years starts from here. I’m doing the job of my life, my biggest passion became my daily bread and my creativity looked like an active volcano. At the end of each theatrical season, I went to study abroad, in Germany, England, Paris, New York and there, I was like a sponge and I came back in Italy having absorbed the unimaginable, transforming it on something completely mine.  
My choreographies turned into original and without equal more and more. And I was happy because I also employed many other people: dancers, costumiers, light technicians, phonics, set designers, shared, together with me, the magic of dance and theatre.
All the ballets I performed with my unique prima ballerina Stefania Pace met with outstanding success, surrounded from the magic of lights, the emotion of music which I precisely selected and the moral and stylistic support of my costume designer, Samuela, becoming, quickly, my big and  indisputable friend.
Six years: this was the length of my golden time. The owner decided to sell the theatre because of the heavy economic changes that Europe was facing up to and, on the top of my bent and his brilliant entrepreneurial activity, he gave up and retired, although, on the last years, we even had as a guest, La Scala Theatre Ballet. Everything, at that very moment, changed but I didn’t know if it changed for the better or the worse. And neither the people who have worked with me could know it. Friends, fellow workers and faithful companions, people who like to be stimulated from me and stimulated me in order that we could realize my dream: let the people dreams. Dancers, technicians, artists, everyone turned the last lights off from the make-up room, the dressing rooms, the costumier room, the control room and the stalls and we all went away crying or with the consciousness that it must shortly happened.
I moved to Grosseto, first of all for love and then looking for job. But love ended and I decided to remain in this city where a new life are taking shape. Friends were new , places were new, the job was different. I was no more inside a theatre or a stage as a primo ballerina but I had an assignment as a supervisor, an art director, a human resources selector, in short, a job that, with my 13 years experience, was right for me: my bottom on a chair inside an office.
I still live dance in a personal but more restricted way. I just knew the figure-skating world and, thanks to a friend of mine who is a figure-skating trainer, I’m teaching something about my large experience and creativity to little athletes. Up to now, I sometimes teach, attend periods of training and seminars, perform as a soloist and supervise the stylistic direction of the company where I work. A more rosy future in which dance now finds.
I often think about my golden years and I think about them with nostalgia because I felt professional satisfied and, above all, because I’ve found my natural habitat. I’ll never hang my ballet shoes up but, in life, everything changes and you change together with it because only you must be the cause of your changes.
This is what I did in my life, facing my “sliding doors”.
All I submitted during my childhood, puberty and youth turned me into a smart, conscientious, lavish, straightforward, perspicacious and tender-hearted man but also determined, stubborn and extremely strong and this strength will help me to go ahead. I know my life has in store for me other turning points because I’m ambitious and I like dreaming and it’s for this reason I’ll never give up. We all need to smile. Someone says that I’m a serious but sunny man, always ready to help others and to smile even in tragic moments. On the other hand… if I had not the sense of humour, I’d suicide many years ago.
Ah: I’m still a Madonna’s fan!
Fuck the others!!!

Alessio, a crazy genius. 


What do you feel when you dance?
My passion goes out, I lay my emotions bare and ,when I dance , I enter inside another dimension, everything changes around me and, with a little bit of fantasy, everything transforms.

How much did your behaviour weight on technique in your job?
Totally! I first became a dancer for attitude and then, studying, I learnt technique.

So, could obstinacy, kind heart of selfishness in general influence a dancer life on the stage?
Yes, all these qualities, whether singularly or all together, could. Gig Proietti once said: ”Up with the theatre where all is artificial but nothing is false”.

What was the play you are particularly devoted to?
I liked many plays but thinking about them, I believe the most introspective and similar to my being is Music Circus.

How did you get through difficult moments on your career and who was beside you?
I have to say my career had not difficult moments , opposite to my life. The difficulty was at the beginning: study, sacrifice, will, working for paying my studies and so on. During my career, difficult moments were characterized from the job itself, sometimes too hard but I have had will and heart to go on. Then, there certainly were people who has rendered my life better and full of feeling, emotions and important values like friendship.

Who would you like to dance with?
I’d like to dance with Madonna’s corp de ballet, it’s obvious! But it’s a dream by now…

Madonna has announced a competition to choose her new dancers. Did you send your videoclip?
Absolutely not! There are impossible levels for me. Since I was little , I’d like to be a rock star… since my adolescence I dreamt to dance and sing with her but, with the passing of time, it remained a beautiful dream.

What do you suggest to whom wants to carry a dancer career on?
Absolutely, do it! But they must feel it’s them vocation because bein g a dancer means living hard! If dance is on your heart and your body’s fit, you need to dance , otherwise you will regret forever.

Dear Alessio, your interview was the most touching of my blogger career. And , like the other but with a huge affection, I wish you GOOD LUCK!

Translation by Denise Cinquerrui

  “It doesn’t exist a genius without a good deal of madness!” 


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