Alessandro Sciarroni, Associate artist of CENTQUATRE-Paris and Triennale Milano Teatro 2022-2024, and recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Dance at the 2019 Venice Biennale, brings his bold yet graceful work of theatrical social dance to PS21.
The polka chinata (crouched polka) is a rarity in ballroom dancing: it was performed exclusively by pairs of men. It originated in Bologna around 1900 and had nearly disappeared when Giancarlo Stagni, a professor and dance master, rediscovered it in the 1990s and began teaching it to his dancers. Theater-maker and choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni, whose work inhabits the tension between tradition and modernity, found the dance, its hypnotic nature, and its near-extinction fascinating.
In addition to the performance at PS21, dancers Giovanfrancesco Giannini and Gianmaria Borzillo will lead free workshops in polka chinata following the performance for dancers and non-dancers, diving into the polka and invoking the spirit of the community to save the dance from the brink of extinction.
In polka chinata, the dancers add the distinctive chinata move to the basic polka steps, whirling around each other in a low flywheel spin. In Save The Last Dance For Me Sciarroni sets his choreography to electro swing music rather than the classic accordion. The initial impression of technical complexity and challenging physicality soon gives way to a sense of emotive force and pleasure, for dancers and audience alike.
About the Artists
Alessandro Sciarroni is a visual artist, theater researcher, and choreographer, importing techniques and experiences from disciplines such as dance, theater, circus arts, and sports. His creations often reveal the obsessions, fears, and fragilities inherent in the act of performing, incorporate repetition that tests the limits of the performers’ physical endurance, and engender an empathic relationship between the audience and the performers.
He has taken part in the Biennale de la Danse in Lyon, Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, Impulstanz Festival in Wien, the Venice Biennale, the Festival d’Automne and the Festival Séquence Danse at 104 in Paris, Hong Kong Art Festival, Juli Dans Festival in Amsterdam, Festival Panorama Rio de Janeiro and he exhibited his work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Punta della Dogana-Palazzo Grassi in Venice and the MAXXI Museum in Rome.
Performances, classes, workshops, encounters, and community programs tailored to the area’s permanent residents: PATHWAYS is a staple of PS21’s annual community programming and central to our mission. PATHWAYS is our multidisciplinary public initiative that features free performances, arts and environmental education workshops, circus and processional arts, participatory events, and installations. The unifying thread of PATHWAYS programs is their shared habitation of the intersection of nature and the arts, making use of PS21’s ergonomic and reconfigurable theater, as well as our 100 acre campus and off site performances and encounters.
Established in Chatham, NY in 2006, PS21 supports innovative performing artists and creators and introduces their work to a broader audience, while also providing the surrounding region with opportunities for arts engagement regardless of economic status, cultural background, and age.
Five acres of PS21's 100+ acres are developed; the rest are meadows and woodlands. Situated near the theater are the Dance Barn, a rehearsal and performance venue, and two artists’ residences accommodating sixteen individuals. The PS21 property is also host to the Chatham Farm Animal Rescue. PS21's new theater and rural campus are important resources for both visiting artists and the community, optimized for the public's enjoyment and to encourage citizen expression and participation.
The 350-seat theater is a state-of-the-art, green facility offering resident makers and performers the tools and flexibility for successful innovation and collaboration in the development of sophisticated multi-media work. Few other US facilities are able to provide this level of technical support. PS21 operates year-round, supporting performances by and residencies for dancers, choreographers, musicians, composers, actors and creators. The summer season is PS21's public highlight, during which a full calendar of performances is augmented with a myriad of events and workshops, many of which are free of charge and involve community collaboration with the gifted artists in residence.
PHOTOGRAPHY PS21 will take photos of this event for use in social media and on our website. The photos sometimes include audiences. Your attendance at this performance indicates you consent to appear in PS21 photography. If you would prefer not to appear in any photos, please let a staff member know, and we will be glad to accommodate your request.