A production titled "Creta" (Crete, but also 'clay', in Italian), which recently went on a small Mediterranean tour in Cairo and Jordan, uses dance and music as a way to help support and integrate migrant women who have suffered violence and abuse on their migratory journey.
The show, which is part of the Region of Puglia's initiative "Puglia Sounds Export 2018" to bring music from Puglia to an international audience, was performed last weekend in Cairo and on Tuesday in Amman, Jordan.
A workshop with women refugees
Dance in the show was choreographed and is performed by Maristella Martella, with music by Gabriele Panico. For the occasion of the two performances in the Egyptian capital on November 2 and 3 (held at the El Gomhoureya theatre of the Cairo Opera House and at the Darb 1718 Cultural Centre, respectively), Martella conducted a workshop with women. Most of the women in attendance were migrants and refugees and some were Egyptian, but all had been victims of violence, the show's organizers said. The seminar resulted in work that was integrated into the show, titled "Malazy, my peaceful space".
Organizers said the work showed "the interconnection between the culture of southern Italy and the traditional music of the peoples of southern Egypt, Sudan, and other countries in Africa". They said the aim was to use the techniques of music and dance as "support in the process of integrating migrant populations from war zones".
"Creta", transformation of body and sound
In the show, Martella - who is also known for her work as artistic director and choreographer of the Tarantarte Company and founder of one of the first schools of tarantella dance in Italy - danced an ethno-contemporary choreography. Gabriele Panico is known for his work as a composer, producer, performer and scholar of contemporary music, as well as the founder of the Larssen Network, which is dedicated to research in electronic music.
Panico, whose work includes the award-winning "Soundcarraldo" and "Orsobruto", produces music that can be defined as adventurous electro-acoustic frescoes. The show is called Creta because, just as clay becomes malleable and changeable when it absorbs water, the movement of body and sound, balanced between full and empty and between tension and relaxation, is in continuous transformation.
The two Cairo shows were organized in collaboration with "Tadamon", a network of NGOs that promote the well-being of refugees in Egypt; IICI Consulting Company; and the contribution of the Italian Institute of Culture in Cairo. The performance in Jordan at the National Center for Culture and Arts was organized by the Amman Committee of the Dante Alighieri Society with the support of the Italian Embassy.