The third Istanbul International Improvisation Dance Festival, which will meet dance lovers all over Istanbul on September 22 - October 2, 2023, is approaching! As the wait gets
 shorter, we are happy to share that this year the festival is a partner of the "Go Towards" project, which pairs 7 Italian and 7 international partners. Improdancefest will be in co-
 production with Sanpapié Company as part of the project. Before the festival, we talked to Lara Guidetti, Italian dancer, choreographer and one of the founders of Sanpapié, about the
 festival, improvisational dance, Sanpapié and much more.

 Maya Çelem: My first question is about you. Can you tell us about yourself and your focus in your work? What kind of projects do you produce or take part in as a dancer and

Lara Guidetti

Lara Guidetti: I am a very unusual choreographer because my career started with acrobatics and theater. I trained as an acrobat and a theater actor, and then I graduated as a dancer and choreographer from the dance-theater department of the Paolo Grassi School in Milan. I worked on many types of contemporary dance. I worked more as a performance artist than as a dancer because I always tried to mix the work with the body in different ways, not only with dance, but also with performance arts and theater. That was the center of my work, my first love. At the end of the Academy, we formed a group with three artists, including myself as a dancer and choreographer: a dramaturg, a director and a musician. We started the Sanpapié Project within the Academy and from then on we stayed together, and we are now building the base of a company. So now Sanpapié is a 16-year-old company. Our search is for a creation that includes choreography, dramaturgy and original music. We try to achieve a parallel creation, in the same studio, at the same time, with actors, dancers and performance artists who create with us. Apart from Sanpapié, I also worked with many important directors and choreographers such as Lucinda Childs, Reinhild Hoffman, Susanne Linke, Emio Greco... Many great personalities who helped me to understand what I like in such a broad field as contemporary art... Then I continued to work with dancers and choreographers not only in Sanpapié but also in different realities. In music I worked with Bob Wilson, Peter Greenway... In theater I worked with directors to manage not only the dancers but also the bodies of the actors. I worked as a dancer in many productions with other choreographers because I think it's important to stay open to learning and to share different ways of working, imaginations, practices, rather than focusing only on one project..

Maya Çelem: In 2006 you founded Sanpapié. What did you hope to achieve with Sanpapié?

Lara Guidetti: As I mentioned, we started with the common intention of following a project that was born at the Academy. We were very lucky to have a very intelligent teacher who brought together different formations: dancers, director, dramaturg, musician... We started working and Sanpapié was born out of the desire to research and follow this direction. Many people joined Sanpapié in the years after it was founded. Many different dancers, actors and artists. I think our uniqueness is our emphasis on diversity. Every dancer in Sanpapié has a different orientation. There are classical dancers, contemporary dancers, dancers from many different branches of dance, but also artists with different practices in the body. So our focus is on sharing the practice and finding another commonality together. In Sanpapié, our foundation is based on dramaturgy. For me it's not just the form or the stillness of the body, but the communication in the body, thinking of the body as an open language. We always create a dramaturgy for the body and movement. So a dramaturgy that is dynamic, that is about time, space and relationships. Each dramaturgy is like a unique world in which we are constantly studying the body, and bodies must communicate through this dramaturgy. So it is quite impossible to find a specific style for Sanpapié. We are very diverse and we are constantly exploring together.

Maya Çelem: What is the "Go Towards" project and what does it aim to achieve? Why is a project like "Go Towards" needed?

Lara Guidetti: "Go Towards" is a project that brings together seven Italian contemporary dance and performance art companies with seven different partners from abroad. Like Improdancefest. The aim is to get in touch with artists from different countries, different cultures, to meet different cultures, to work together, to exchange ideas and practices around a common theme. A theme that I think is really important right now is the theme of "Border". "What is a border?" I don't think of borders as a limit, I think of them as an opportunity. I think Go Towards is a great project because it helps everyone to stay in touch and create a network. It's a starting point for relationships that can develop in the future, it provides opportunities and a big network. Go Towards gives us a concrete possibility to enter the dance field from an artistic point of view, not just a bureaucratic or production system.

Maya Çelem: Could you share with us your definition of "Culture Across Borders" and where does the collaboration with Istanbul International Improvisational Dance Festival stand in your definition of "Culture Across Borders"?

Lara Guidetti: Each artist in this project looks at the theme of "border" in a different way. I think what we mean by "border" is something that exists in our minds, an imaginary decision. A border is something that exists between one culture and another, but each culture is made up of different people, ideologies, religions, backgrounds, personalities. So I think the only way to think of a border is to go beyond them, we need to go beyond these borders so that different cultures can come into contact with each other and have the opportunity to grow, share and learn together without borders. The brave people involved in the project can cross borders and find more. That's why I am honored to work with the Improvisation Dance Festival, I think they are brave enough to keep a festival about improvisation alive in Turkey. For me, improvisation is an open way of bringing together different bodies, different movement qualities, different energies and different personalities, creating a core where many differences can grow through dance. The Improvisational Dance Festival is really young, wonderful, full of energy, full of enthusiasm and I think there are many important commonalities between the festival and Sanpapié. For me, who has the possibility to create for Turkey, I am impressed and surprised by such a beautiful place.

Sanpapié Company

Maya Çelem: As you know, Istanbul is the only city in the world located on two different continents. Based on this unique feature of the city, do you think Istanbul will influence your creative behavior?

Lara Guidetti: I hope so! With all due respect, I think it is necessary. I hope that Go Towards and the action we will do together will give us the opportunity to create something important for Istanbul, both for the audience that will join us and for the audience that can meet performance from the street. I would really love to create something special for Istanbul.

Maya Çelem: You will be working with Istanbul International Improvisational Dance Festival for the Istanbul leg of this project. Can you tell us how the co-production and creative process works?

Lara Guidetti: On behalf of Sanpapié, two talented dancers, Sofia Caspirini and Matteo Sacco, and myself as the choreographer will come to Istanbul to co-produce with Improdancefest. Improdancefest gave us the opportunity to work with Turkish dancers who we will select through auditions. While we are in Istanbul we will build a new creation for about ten days, a new creation with Italian dancers and Turkish dancers. Then we will have a public performance as part of the festival. And during the rehearsals, we will have formation classes to be in touch with more people from the festival and the city.

 Maya Çelem: How do you think improvisation differs from other dance styles? How do you think improvisation can help create a sense of collectivity for a community?

 Lara Guidetti: Of course! Improvisation is also the basis of my work. I believe in the external reality of the body, so I think improvisation is a personal world that every artist,
 every person can enter with their own qualities and imagination. It's a way of getting to know ourselves and each other. What seems strange to me is that dance is sometimes
 seen as looking at a person and trying to be the same. It's unrealistic because everyone is different in this world and I think dance should open up a space where we can be
 different from each other with peace of mind. From my point of view, a dancer is not just a body repeating something, but first of all a body and a mind creating something.
 Most of the time in my work we start with a task, a theme, a starting point and a very long process of joint improvisation. Sometimes the starting point can be more technical,
 sometimes more expressive, sometimes more personal, etc.

 Then we create a choreography from improvisation. A choreography is the end point of the process and a way to create something that can move from today to the future. The
 choreography or improvisation process can be shared with different audiences, in different places and times. I work a lot on improvisation and of course I fully believe in the
 value of improvisation.

Sanpapié Company


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