Bolero is an experimental piece by Ziya Azazi, choreographed, produced and performed in collaboration with composer/performer Claudio Bettinelli. Since the early 2000s, Azazi’s choreographic pieces have been primarily based on whirling and its repetitive nature. The artist researches transcendental practices from within, and experiments with them in the context of contemporary dance.
Azazi and Bettinelli have been working on an experimental exchange of body movement and sound using a wide range of media, from primitive devices to highly sophisticated digital sound processors. In this work, we see two male performers on the stage, as well as the audio-visual reflections of their basic movements.
Joseph-Maurice Ravel wrote the piece Boléro in 1928, during a very mature stage of his artistic life, originally for a dance piece to be performed by female ballet dancer Ida Lvovna Rubinstein. Although it was mostly performed as a music piece, its melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic repetitiveness was designed to accompany a dance piece. At the time the piece was being composed, an opera director/choreographer was born, Maurice Béjart, who was to reinterpret this piece in early 1960s with very minimal scores, making visible every detail of the music, and almost invisible the act of the dancers. Highly inspired by the minimal approach of Béjart’s choreography, Ziya Azazi brings his own vocabulary into this progressive interpretation and contributes a new language, deconstructing the music in correspondence with body movements.
The circular stage and the ritualistic attribution created in both choreographic pieces makes visible the inspiration of Azazi’s work by Béjart. Azazi creates a distinctive connection back to the Latin basis of the bolero dance by means of traditional whirling and costumes reproducing oriental image, overloaded with transcendental terminology. He connects to the modern interpretation by Ravel and Béjart using elements of contemporary dance movements, as well as Bettinelli’s digital touch to the music.
Concept/choreography/dance: Ziya Azazi
Composition/life music/computing: Claudio Bettinelli
Light engineering/computing: Mirko Lazovic
Video art: Özgür Can Alkan
Technical support: Oktotech
Text, artistic support: Isin Onol
Producers: Festival Danza Estate 2016 in collaboration with City of Bergamo, Teatro Fonderia Leopolda in Follonica (Artistic director Eugenio Allegri)
Base music: Maurice Ravel, Boléro, (Arts Productions LTD, 2006, London Symphony Orchestra; Arpad Joó, The Ambrosian Singers)
Management: Md spettacoli & Ziya Azazi Company
Supporting organizations: CSC Anymore, Festival Danza Estate, Bergamo City
Special thanks to: Meric Firatli, Nelly Fognini, Marcello Guidetti, Alessandra Pagni, M.Safak Türkel