The dancer: as a child I took the flowers to Carla Fracci in the dressing room. As long as they ask me I will continue to dance, even as we age we are shining beings
Alessandra Ferri the most famous Italian dancer in the world, has been toile both at the Royal Ballet in London and atAmerican Ballet Theater from New York. Now in Italy on tour, despite the fact that in her environment he retires at 35 while she turns 59 on May 6. Loose hair, hazel turtleneck, after rehearsals, she seems to be all inside a single gesture repeated several times during the conversation. what she does with her with her hands, rolling them gracefully in the air as if to chase away a word that harasses her, yet impossible, in her case, to avoid. The word career (you ask me to retrace my career, but I don’t like this word …, or: I chose motherhood at the height of my … career. Is it possible that there isn’t another word? ?).
Why does he hate this word?
Because it implies a job more than a vocation. Because it involves a certain strategy rather than a dream come true. Because I am happier when I work than when I am on vacation.
How many ballet shoes have you used up in your 40-year career?
I think two pairs a day for rehearsals and two pairs for each show.
In spans, thirty thousand?
I never counted them … Nei Happy days
by Beckett, from which it comes L’Heure Exquise
that since April 14th I have been carrying around Italy, Winnie buried in a mound of sand that rises slowly until she disappears inside; my Winnie, on the other hand, submerged by used shoes, or rather by the passing of time, suffocating, and evoking a near end of life.
His Winnie, who from today and tomorrow also in Milan at the Piccolo Teatro Strehler, a ge dancer who lives in the memories of happy days. Instead, in 2007, she said goodbye to the stage, but then returned. Was the distance from the dance unbearable?
The first three years, I felt like I was on vacation. Then, I began to feel like I was locked in a room where the light had gone out. In many moments of life, even in a pandemic, having to get up every morning and face a lesson that at times you hate it, hate it, a discipline that saves. Willy Burmann, my teacher from New York, always said to me: Alessandra, take a shower in the morning, come to class and, afterwards, think. Sometimes, you are very happy to do it, but having had so many beautiful days and so many in which I couldn’t stand it anymore made me very strong.
Since returning to dance in 2013, the major choreographers have wanted to create roles for her from scratch, creating a repertoire suitable for a fifty-year-old that had never existed before. How was this possible?
I hadn’t envisioned a second chapter, but Wayne McGregor created the role of Virginia Woolf for me in Woolf Work then Afterite, which he will bring to La Scala in June; John Neumeier created Duse
; Martha Clarke created Chri… all roles that make me happy because I am convinced that, even as we age, we are still shining beings. I love this part of my artistic life and as a woman because it focuses not on performance, which can no longer be that of twenty, but on introspection and self-knowledge. If I wanted to remake Manon, Juliet, Carmen, it would be a weakness.
Were you afraid of the return to the scene?
I was terrified: if you have been standing still for six years, the body does not come back the same with a snap of the fingers. There is a little voice inside that says: you’re crazy, you won’t make it. The other little voice says: shut up and do it. In this, the dance is an inner mirror: you learn to distinguish the little voice of fear from the voice of the self that says “this thing must be done, period”. There is the voice of the physical body, which is small, and then there is the voice of the soul, which is immense.
Can you describe the dancer’s fatigue in an image?
Meanwhile, he must imagine that we always have pains. When the daughters were children, I arrived home after five hours of rehearsal, destroyed, and spent the afternoon lying down.
And today that he is twenty years older?
more tiring, there are more pains. As a girl, have breakfast and go, pam! Jumps. Now, I need two hours of preparation: I have an ankle problem that cannot be solved and I have to warm it up. My partner misses a movement, I broke it and I no longer have ligaments and cartilage.
And how does it dance?
It hurts. But if you learn about physical pain, you can overcome it.
What was Alessandra Ferri like as a child?
At the age of three, I was living stories within me and I felt another reality calling me. And even though my parents didn’t go to theaters, I said: I want to go to dance school. They signed me up and it was immediately clear to me that it was my life: not that I liked the tut, it wasn’t a trallallero trallal thing, I really liked the study, I understood that it was my key to open the door of inner freedom.
She comes from the Milanese bourgeoisie, father engineer, housewife mother: how much did they support her?
I was walking with my mother in Milan when I saw the notice for the Scala school. In the meantime, we had moved to Monza, but I said: I want to study there. I remember the family reunion, around the kitchen table. Mom had been a teacher and she had had to give up her job, but she cared about female independence and she persuaded dad to let me do middle school at La Scala.
And when at 15 was she taken to the Royal Ballet in London?
By now, they understood from the teachers that I was talented. Not having my cons and knowing that I didn’t have to prove to anyone I was right gave me tremendous support. For them, it was also a considerable financial effort and there were no cell phones, just a weekly appointment in a telephone booth.
In London, she will become a prima ballerina.
The meeting with Sir Kenneth McMillan, this great choreographer who began to entrust me with important roles, was extraordinary. On my debut as a prima ballerina, in Mayerling, I was very nervous. I remember going up on stage and feeling in my chest like a bursting soap bubble, a wonderful feeling of connection with the audience that I will never forget, that feeling bigger than the body we are.
An exciting career match?
Meanwhile, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who took me to New York in 1985.
Also l, toile.
I approached Milan afterwards The Swan Lake
by Franco Zeffirelli at the Scala. He asked me: would you come to the American Ballet Theater? I replied: yes, even tomorrow morning. I was 21 years old. In the first show we did together, Giselle, in Miami, seeing him try non-stop despite a big knee problem teaches me a lot. Then, of course, there was the meeting with Roland Petit, in Marseille, while dancing Carmen. With him there was just a spark. So, Julio Bocca: I am 21, he is 19 and we have been dancing together for over twenty years.
First daughter in 1997: how long did you think before pausing the dance?
Not at all, it was a decision of love, I said to myself: I am a woman who dances and the two things must coexist. I knew that if I sacrificed dance, I would hate family, and if I sacrificed motherhood, I would hate dance. When Emma and Matilde were little, they traveled with me, I took them everywhere. So, I stopped, I became a mother and a wife and, when I went back to dancing, we were coming out of a difficult period, from my separation: resuming dancing was important for me and for the daughters, because they saw how important it is to have independence. emotional.
Divorce from her second husband, the photographer Fabrizio Ferriwas it so painful?
it was one of those moments when dancing saved me. It had been a beautiful love story, the divorce came unexpected.
You met in Pantelleria at Isabella Rossellini’s house and the photographic book Aria was born, which aroused astonishment for nudes.
It was the meeting of two artists who then loved each other very much, who wanted to talk and get to know each other through their art. The idea of the book was born first and, while we were making it, love.
They ended up in the gossip also for the separation that followed from her first husband. They wrote that he locked her away from the house or that he stoned Fabrizio’s loft. Was it true?
Let’s say, it was such a love at first sight that he didn’t take it well. I understand. All the stories, ending, have difficult, melodramatic moments. People go crazy out of love and out of pain.
What follies have you done?
Travel to see Fabrizio for a few hours.
Now, in love?
Of life, that s. I get excited when I can say: wow, life goes on. Four years ago, I decided to leave New York and, in a month, I was in London: I’m fine there, I’m closer to my daughters, who live in Milan. Matilde is 24 and works in fashion and advertising, Emma is 20 and studies Food and Wine Sciences.
Will you return to live in Italy?
Sooner or later, I think so. The affections are here.
At the Gala Fracci on April 9th at La Scala, she was there too. What relationship did you have with the toile you passed away a year ago?
I made an excerpt of Exquise, which was created for her by Maurice Bjart. The first time I saw Carla, I was a girl from the dance school who brought her a bouquet of flowers in the dressing room. For me, she was an icon. Later, we shared the stage, she gave me advice. Once, she said to me: They always tell me I’m tough, but you have to be like that or they turn you upside down like a steak. She was right: very true.
How long will you dance?
I, to every request that comes even for the years to come, I answer: yes, okay.
April 20, 2022 (change April 20, 2022 | 22:15)
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