The Italian Fusion Festival is happy to introduce the Traditional Dance from the South of Italy Workshop lead by Eliana Valentina.
The Pizzica is a dance for couples which forms part of the Popular Italian Tradition of the South. It is linked to the therapeutic ritual of Tarantismo, which started and thrived in the geographical area amongst the three towns of Bari, Taranto and Lecce.
The Tarantismo ritual was focused on the power of music to aid in the healing of physical and psychological disease during the Medieval Age, but its origins go back even further in time.
During the intervening centuries it became a social phenomenon that evolved into a dance for couples called Pizzica Pizzica. By the 1970’s the Tarantismo ritual had died out. However, a new movement arose to rediscover this traditional music and dance and this has generated both national and international interest.
A new generation has grown up in a modern social context and is reinterpreting the ancient tradition that today is known as Neo-Pizzica. To excavate the depths of this tradition it is necessary to study the original historical documents and written testimonies of those who lived and witnessed the magical and pseudo-scientific aspects of the “Aracnideo Myth “ (the original spider rituals and social events).
We are going to pass on the history and meaning of these dance through our personal experience and passion for them. We are hoping to give a greater awareness of these dances which today are part of a living tradition in the South of Italy and can be experienced at first hand in festivals and celebrations by any interested traveler.
Eliana’s arrival in Dublin on July 2008 marked an important moment in her life, a decision to give a concrete expression to her previous dance experience. Eliana was born in Milan where she lived and spent many years particularly studying and researching ancient dances. Several holidays in the South of Italy reawakened a particular interest in the musical rhythms connected to the ritual of tarantism. With the musical band “Briganti” in Milan she practiced Pizzica, Tammurriata and other Tarantellas (Traditional Dances from the South of Italy), bringing her closer to other European folk dance traditions. Eliana’s project of multicultural fusion through the bodily communication of dance was born in Ireland, hich for her has been a place full of creative vibrations. In the process of getting used to a new culture, she chose folk dance from her own background as ameans of cultural and historical heritage of the world. Eliana hopes to reawaken in our modern society the ancient human instinct to express oneself through the movement of the body, enabling a communication without words, of deep values that seems destined to disappear.