year 2023 duration 65'

new creation by Roberto Zappalà for 8 dancers / 8th step of the Transiti Humanitatis project

site-specific avant-première | 15 July 2023 h 05.00 | Archeological Site of Solacium | Armonie d’Arte Festival

première | 12 October 2023 | Teatro Verdi of Gorizia | Visavì Festival

direction and choreography Roberto Zappalà

music  ‘The Little Match Girl Passion’ by David Lang, music from the popular tradition, William Shakespeare

dancers Giulia Berretta, Corinne Cilia, Filippo Domini, Laura Finocchiaro, Anna Forzutti, Silvia Rossi, Damiano Scavo, Erik Zarcone

dramaturgy Nello Calabrò

choreographer assistant Fernando Roldan Ferrer

set, lights and costumes Roberto Zappalà | headpieces Veronica Cornacchini | hairstylist/wigs Alfredo Danese

a coproduction by Scenario Pubblico/Compagnia Zappalà Danza Centro di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale, Fondazione Luzzati / Teatro della Tosse (Genoa), Teatro Comunale of Modena

in collaboration with TPE Fondazione Teatro Piemonte Europa (Turin), Visavì Festival /Artisti Associati (Gorizia), Armonie d’Arte Festival (Catanzaro)

with the support of MiC Ministero della Cultura and Regione Siciliana Ass.to del Turismo, dello Sport e dello Spettacolo


Zappalà with this new creation, makes a powerful return to his dance full of creative contradictions. This new creation takes inspiration from the wonderful atmospheres of David Lang’s music, such as the voices from the 2007 play The Little Match Girl Passion, Pulitzer Prize winner for music in 2008. These voices create a striking work of sound, with sacred atmospheres originally inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Little Match Girl, and which certainly make a reference to Bach’s St Matthew Passion.

In the new creation there will be no mention of Andersen’s fairy tale. The absolute protagonist is the pure, abstract dance. The inspiration also comes to Zappalà indirectly from Bach and his St. Matthew Passion, and from the passion itself as the ultimate suffering that Christ and humanity, every man, every woman, (and every little matchmaker) carries.

Cultus is born out of an urge and out of a challenge.

The urge felt by the artist, his need, to compare two languages in order to emphasise not only their contiguity and points of contact, but also and above all their rifts and differences; a comparison that is also a clash between two forms of expression, which Zappalà has addressed in many ways in his artistic career.

This new creation transfigures a dramaturgy into pure dance, simultaneously offering a choreographic journey. Following a prologue where Shakespearean verse is employed as a purely phonetic soundtrack accompanying the exposition of individual bodies, the choreographic flow continues into emotional scenes depicting earthly happiness – that of encounter and coexistence – and the ecstatic realm of resurrection, first traversing the suffering of ‘tortures.’

A journey consisting of various stages, moving transitions where the bodies of the dancers pass through and immerse themselves in various states of abandonment, tenderness, joy, ecstasy – of poetry.

In Cultus the physicality of the dance, its transcendence of the referential, achieves the result of making the spectator navigate in a ‘fluid’ place, where losing track of time and simultaneously feeling part of something challenging and exciting is a unique sensory experience. The bodies of the dancers, women and men, abandon themselves to a continuous movement that, through the bodies of the dancers and their relationships, brings to the stage the “passions” of individuals and multitudes.

Using the “mean” that is most appropriate for a choreographic elaboration, the human body, the creation is entirely part of the Transiti Humanitatis project that has characterised Zappalà’s artistic journey for many years.


photos Giovanni Chiarot, Guido Mencari, Serena Nicoletti