November 30, 2023
Alessandro Marzotto Levy’s Irene is dedicated to a dear departed friend. Choreographed and danced by himself, the work developed out of the loss and dismay he went through after her death. Irene talks through and with her, including all the despair, sorrow, dismay, pain, and the difficulty of acceptance that comes with loss.
Marzotto Levy stands, walks, falls, sits and dances on a carpet of hay while going through an infinite range of emotions and memories. His pain is piercing. His affliction palpable. The hay, soft yet raw, appears as a metaphor for his emotional landscape. Its softness contrasts with the forces within him as he tries to simultaneously find answers and peace.
The set and some of the noises he makes remind one of horses. Perhaps that’s no surprise when one considers he is very involved in the equine world alongside his career as dancer and choreographer. The sound used to call the attention of horses can be perceived as he swings his arms pendulum-like. It’s an absorbing moment that makes one think of time passing, of the necessity of being patient, of accepting and being at ease with all that happens.
Observing his body and feeling his energy reveals phases of abandon, resistance, frustration, resignation, but also acceptance. There is a wisdom and a silent compliance in conversation with universal forces in the way he moves across the theatrical stable. Delicate movements with his upper torso seem to shift the energies in and around him. Arms and hands reflect an ongoing dialogue. His torso twists, elongates and bends, seemingly a reaction to inescapable fate.
Acceptance of life for what it is and of what has happened is one of the hardest things to achieve. Spirituality speaks about living the present and letting go of the past to free ourselves from pain. Marzotto Levy dances this acknowledgement with solemnity and beauty, tipping into the past before returning to the present with consciousness and forbearance.
Beloved people may depart life but they continue to stay and live through and within us. Our love keeps them alive. His body speaks of that; his love for a friend that was and is in him. As he seemingly goes through a cathartic experience, we observe his facing and dealing with his loss.
The sounds he makes and the words he speaks are not fully discernible but they create a sense of intimacy. It is as if we are part of his own emotional journey, as if he has allowed us as spectators into his world of emotions and thoughts.
Marzotto Levy’s presence is intense, his aura magnetic. Through his wise and expressive body, he speaks about a friendship, the memories connected to it, and about the precarious existence and balance we all live. It is all vividly poignant.
In dim light, music by Flavia Passigli envelops the scene. The warmth of the hay provides for a nest, a place to rest. In a corner, he finds and puts on a pair of pointe shoes. He takes off his trousers revealing his muscular legs. But having risen on pointe, he suddenly comes down as if he is not motivated to stay on relevé. He picks notes from the floor, looks at them attentively but fugaciously as though seeking something not there, but then lets them fall one by one. Maybe pictures or notes connected to her. Maybe things never said before her final departure.
Again, we see his intimate grief and vulnerability, as ever, shown with authenticity and delicacy. He is searching for answers he cannot find. Dealing with a universe of emotions, he takes the time to sense it all, allowing everything to be fully felt. The silence and the rest are as moving as the forceful highly charged dance to ‘Declare Independence’ by Bjork that also forms part of the soundtrack.
A powerful moment comes as he throws himself across the stage, scattering the hay to write ‘Irene’ on the floor again and again. It’s a scene and movement charged with dismay, anger and pain.
After that, once the emotional turbulence is over, in a gentle and balanced dance, we perceive tender and funny memories in his soft smiles and through the way the light changes in his eyes. At the end, her voice laughs with him. It’s a moment that remains in the memory.
Irene by Alessandro Marzotto Levy: an emotional, powerful, moving and beautiful confession of how it feels to lose someone we love.