VIDEO #2: "Second Sequence"
This is the second of six new video documents of Massimiliano Balduzzi's solo physical training for performers. These videos document a research in solo physical training developed by Massimiliano Balduzzi over more than fifteen years. In them, Balduzzi is shown practicing a sequence of exercises/actions, integrating floor work and impulses/isolations, and finally putting all of these elements together in a session of "open work."
The videos were shot in February 2013 by Ben Spatz and Manuel de la Portilla at CAVE home of LEIMAY in Brooklyn, and edited by Spatz. Each video will be accompanied by a short text, which has been edited and redacted by Spatz from an extended interview with Balduzzi that took place on March 15th. In addition to being hosted by conectom and Vimeo, these video documents will also become part of the Routledge Performance Archive, an online database of multimedia performance materials intended for scholarly research.
For more information on Balduzzi's work, visit the website: www.massimilianobalduzzi.com.
TEXT #2: "Background"
by Massimiliano Balduzzi
Stefano Vercelli and Anne Zenour are my two greatest teachers or masters. With Stefano, I received valuable training in acrobatics and in the plastiques—the work that he studied with Ryszard Cieslak. That work comes more directly from Grotowski, and also from the Odin Theatre actors. The work with Anne was subtle. These exercises/actions that we see in the video were developed during my time working with Anne Zenour. Almost all of them were created during that period. The only part that is not newly created is the work on the floor, shown in the fourth video. Many of those elements on the floor come from the Odin Theatre.
I was born in 1976 and I started theatre the first year of college, 1995. I met Stefano and Anne in a course at the University of Bologna, and for two years I worked with them in a physical and vocal workshop on a weekly basic. After I finished school, I moved to Milan where I stayed for two years. In 1999, Stefano was starting to direct a school in Modena, in the center of Italy, for the Emilia Romagna Foundation. He asked me to go there and be his assistant. So I followed him and I was with him for two years in that school. In that period we worked a lot on basic acrobatics and plastiques, daily training for a couple of years. Meanwhile, in the summers of that period, I was going to meet Anne and doing intensive workshops with her. After two years, Anne asked me to move to Tuscany and found a group with her and four other performers. And that’s what I did.
There was something in the work with Anne that was really attracting me. The details of the work. The rigor. It was really something that I wanted. So I went. In 2002, we moved to Tuscany and founded Teatro della Pioggia, and from then until the end of 2005, I was in Siena. Those three and a half years were the most rigorous part of my training. I was coming from the experience with Stefano. I had also worked for a short time with Mamadou Dioumé, an actor from Peter Brook’s company. I had some experience, and I dug into that with Anne. We created the training that you are seeing now. We also worked on shows, taking a year or more for each. It was a daily training. That period is when I really created what I’m still using. At the end of 2005, I took a pause from the work. I went to Rome. Then in June 2006 I went to Bali for six months, where I worked on a daily basis with two gurus: one for the dance—what we call dance—I Made Bukel; and one for the voice, I Njoman Tchandri. Bali gave me what I needed in that moment, and also another deep work on rhythm and music. It was a beautiful experience. After six months, I went back to Tuscany and worked with Anne again from 2006 to 2008. Then I came to New York.
My father told me since I was 18: “Just go to New York.” That’s what everybody wants to hear from their dad, but I never followed him. I lived all around Italy, I went to the “East,” but never to the “West.” My father said: “I think you should go to New York, just to see that new world. Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for there, you need to know.” Because we are dealing with the United States today. That’s the situation in the world. There’s no way to avoid it.