Dancing and twisting at Oceanos auditorium.jpg

Dancing and twisting at Oceanos auditorium

DANCERS HANG suspended, balanced between dance, sport and poetry in a mixture of different types of philosophies.

Using a broad range of impressive disciplines and clever choreography, Play by the Kataklò Dance Company premiered at Lisbon Casino’s Oceanos Auditorium on Tuesday night.

The clever and fluid fusion of bodily movements from different disciplines is born of the creative genius of Italian former Olympic gymnast Giulia Staccioli.

Formed 10 years ago, her Kataklò Company (Kataklò means ‘I dance folding and twisting’ in Greek) has, using elements of athletics, reinvented it from a sport to an art form through the imagination, adding theatrical elements.

Giulia Staccioli has exchanged its visions and developed its language as the first Italian company to experiment with a mixture of dance gestures and gym strengths through expressive research.

At any one time her companies are performing four original shows all over the world and she has choreographed shows at the Winter Olympic Games in Turin in 2006, the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and in Los Angeles in 1984.

It looks effortless, almost clown-like at times, with touches of Chaplinesque humour, but her movements push the boundaries of physical and creative endurance to the limits.

The result is a highly colourful, visual and chameleonic display that is both dynamic and exciting giving the audience that sense of thrill one remembers in one’s childhood at the circus.

The idea of marrying different art forms with sport came to Giulia Staccioli after competing at the 1988 Olympic Games when she retired at the age of 24.

The gymnast moved to the United States to dance with contemporary group Momix, who have also appeared at Lisbon Casino earlier this year, and after three years and much training, she decided to start up her own dance company which contains former athletes like herself.

Play, her latest choreography, breaks all the traditional rules of representation and is her most ambitious one yet, combining ballet, sport movements, dance, gymnastics and acrobatics, although ballet is clearly the overriding influence here.

This fusion of disciplines is always challenging and certainly pushes back the boundaries, turning entertainment into sport and sport into entertainment. Amazing!

What: Kataklò Play

Where: Lisbon Casino – Oceanos Auditorium

When: Tuesdays-Fridays 10pm (weekends 5pm) until June 1

Cost: 30-35 Euros    

Chris Graeme