TARANTELLA SPIDER DANCE
Friday, May 10 | 8:00 PM
Tarantella Spider Dance—is a mystical and sensual music/theater/dance spectacular about the history of the Tarantella, the Southern Italian myth of the bite of the tarantula, birth of the Spider Woman, and celebration of the wild ecstatic rites of Dyonisus. A cross cultural musical that blends Southern Italian drumming and dance rituals with Afro-Brazilian & Cuban Yoruba ceremonies for Yemanja/Aphrodites. Featuring aerial, fire and stilt dancers, acrobats and a techno Tarantella trance dance.
CRITIC’S CHOICE OF BEN BRANTLEY – THE NEW YORK TIMES ! for the sold out Performances in January 2013 at theatre for the New City in New York City
Leading off the celebration of 2013 as the “Year of Italian Culture in America,” Alessandra Belloni, international REMO artist and award-winning Southern Italian percussionist and singer, returns to Theater for the New City with her unique 16-member ensemble that includes musicians, vocalists, stilt dancer, aerial dancer, fire dancer, tarantella dancers drawn from the Martha Graham Dance Company, and guest percussionist Massimo Cusato of Calabria, in the exotic spectacle “Tarantella – Spider Dance,” a sensual and mystical musical about the healing power of the Tarantella trance dance. A rich and fascinating trip into Southern Italian music, dance, history, and ancient legends.
Alessandra Belloni is known around the world as a superb percussionist specializing in Southern Italian music, dance and tradition. The Rome native has received many awards, including “Best Female Percussionist” from Drum Magazine, travels the world appearing as guest artist, performing solo concerts, and teaching workshops in ritual drumming, dance and healing. Belloni is a subject of a recent documentary by French filmmaker Manex Ibar, focusing on her gifts as a shaman/healer, possibly to be released for PBS and the BBC.
Tarantella – Spider Dance” – abuse, repressed sexuality, powerlessness, and the feeling of being “caught in a web that binds them” – causes many women, known as “tarantate” to suffer “tarantismo” – a lethal mixture of depression, loneliness, and oppression. Their cure is to dance the “pizzica tarantata”- The Spider Dance!
The revised show follows the new storyline created for the film, which features Shakespearean actress Cynthia Enfield in the role of the Sybil, the narrator, and fire dancer/acrobat/singer/capoeira master Anthony Anderson as the young Dionysus. As in the film, we witness the healing journey of a “tarantata” played superbly by dancer Francesca Silvano as she is taken by Dionysus to the shaman (Alessandra Belloni), who cures her with the tarantella trance dance. Her amazing journey includes
** a powerful procession of the Black Madonna in Southern Italy
** a healing ceremony of the pizzica tarantata, the wild erotic trance dance, attended by townspeople in the piazza. The authentic music is mainly percussion, with large tambourines playing non-stop to a 12/8 beat with loud accents
** a celebration of the Feast of St. Rocco, where another dance form, “hip-hop,” entices her and the viewers.
The show also relates the dual journeys of Athena and Arianna, who both suffer from tarantismo, transmitted from the bite of the spider Arachne. Athena’s drumming induces a trance dance and reveals the age-old myth of Arachne and birth of the spider woman. Arianna gains insight of her own madness and suicidal mania and actively seeks a cure. The shaman’s drumming and Dioniso’s ecstatic dancing lead Arianna to New York and Brazil, where she encounters the common threads of universal rhythms and traditional cures through music and dance. Arianna and Athena re-unite in a cross-cultural celebration of healing which allows her finally to truly love. Celebrating the Afro-Brazilian-Cuban Yoruba tradition of Yemanja Goddess of Love and Waters, and Xango, God of Fire .
All of Belloni’s presentations, the show is meticulously researched, with costumes and instrumentation as authentic as possible. The music ranges from traditional 6/8 southern Italian to 12/8 heavy-accented modern sounds, and includes tarantellas, sensual love songs, and women’s work chants. Instrumentation is both traditional and modern. Traditional instruments include Renaissance folk guitar, mandolin, accordion, viella, frame drums, tambourines, frame drums and dumbeck. Electric violin and guitar, and techno beats have been added to the more modern music segments:
Featured in the cast are:
Alessandra Belloni – concept/direction, lead vocals, Southern Italian percussion, ritual dance in the role of the shaman
Joe Deninzon – music arranger, electric and acoustic violin
Guest percussionist: Massimo Cusato from Calabria, Italy.
Anthony Anderson – fire dancer/acrobat/capoeira master as young Dionysus
Mark Mindek – stilt dancer
Fran Sperling – aerial dancer
Hillary Litwin – Oriental dancer
Peter De Geronimo acrobat/dancer
Wilson Montuori – classical and acoustic guitar
Susan Eberenz – flutes piccolo recorders
Giuseppe De Falco – Neapolitan singer
Sharon Li Vardo dancer in the role of Arcane
Francesca Silvano -in the role of Tarantata dancer
Lindsay Poulis –
The following shows have received ratings of at least four stars from Times readers. Venue: Theater for the New City
I Giullari di Piazza: Tarantella – Spider Dance · Plot Description
The “Spider Dance” or Tarantella, is a quite erotic trance dance ritual from Southern Italy, which has been used to cure the mythical bite of the tarantula. This new ‘Spider Dance’ production infuses the ancient melodies and instrumentation of the authentic tarantella with modern electronic dance beats. It features aerial, fire and stilt dancers, acrobats and a techno Tarantella trance dance. As with all of Belloni’s presentations, the show is meticulously researched, with costumes and instrumentation as authentic as possible. The music ranges from traditional 6/8 southern Italian to 12/8 heavy-accented modern sounds, and includes tarantellas, sensual love songs, and women’s work chants.
FROM THE TIMES SQUARE CHRONICLE REVIEW:
Written By Joel Benjamin
Alessandra Belloni’s ensemble, I Giullari de Piazza, performed her one-of-a-kind, show Tarantella: Spider Dance at the Theatre for the New City where she sharpened its impact over the past few years. This is a richly beautiful and exciting show that combines music, dance, copoeira, circus, acrobatics and mythical drama all swirled into a lively, colorful show, seasoned liberally with sex and sensuality.
This is theater at its best—raw, passionate, richly costumed and delightfully ragged—that has to be seen to fully appreciate the full-bodied wit and passion with which Ms. Belloni tells her tale. Folklore and classical Greek myth intertwine freely in Spider Dance.
The cast was headed by the whirlwind Ms. Belloni who not only wrote and choreographed Tarantella: Spider Dance, but was on stage almost constantly singing and dancing. She was supported by the terrific musical ensemble led by Joe Deninzon who played the violin, but also got “bitten” and managed to crawl about the floor while still playing the violin! Cynthia Enfield was a rich-voiced narrator. Anthony Anderson was the physically adept Dionysus. Peter De Geronimo seduced with the all out sensuality of his dancing. The spider, Fran Sperling, was thrilling and as her human counterpart, Aracne, Sharon Li Vardo had grace and elegance. Mark Mindek’s stilt dancing was astounding in its virtuosity