Michela Galdi has worked as a dancer and mime in major theatre and film productions with directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Hugo de Ana, and Henning Brockhaus. She danced in Artemis Modigliani’s "Nostalgia" (Teatro Olimpico in Rome) and Marion Nunez’s "Four passengers plus one,” and collaborated with Elena Gonzalez’s Miscro Dance Company and Gaby Ford and the Kitomb Company (Dance Acrobatic).
Cinema credits include Tornatore’s The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean, Maira’s Love in the Mirror, and Stefano Benni’s Music for Older Pets and Masaniello.
How would you describe the experience of working with Juliu Horvath and Pietro Gagliardi?
I met Pietro by chance. I wanted to do Gyrotonic and a friend advised me to go to him. I only had to take one lesson to fall in love with it. A fter three years it was Pietro who suggested the trainer path and I accepted happily. For a dancer it is very important to do Gyrotonic, it allows to understand what you are capable of and become aware of your own limits. Both meetings both with Pietro and with Horvath were fundamentally significant.
You are both a Gyrokinesis and a Gyrotonic trainer. If you had to encourage someone to begin Gyrotonic, what would you say?
My relationship with this discipline is strong and deep, it drastically improved my physical and mental strength. It makes you comprehend what it means to move. Try it, you’ll see I’m telling the truth.
What are your passions besides dance and gyrotonic?
My passions? I love to create jewels with beads and copper wires, I like sewing. If I could I would do volunteering for dogs. But so far I have not found the time to do it. I also like skating and swimming. I have many passions.
Each dancer in the "Bolero" curates a small section of the choreography. What inspired yours?
My choreography has been developing gradually. It’s inspired by the world of women in its multiple facets: from mother earth, to my inner femininity.
If you had to define this "Bolero" with a word which one would you choose?
I would define it as the force of life.
His name is Alessio Giannachi. He was born in Rome where he studied Latin American dances at a competitive level as well as classic dance. In 2010 the meeting with Bollywood choreographer Ambili Abraham opens for him a new artistic horizon of Indian film dance. Thus he becomes part of Bollymasala Dance Company, he’s still part of the group and participates in numerous festivals and television programs. The collaboration with Ambili Abraham brought him even closer to the classical dance of South India (Bharatana Tyam).
We meet Alessio during one of his rehearsal’s break with the White Cloud Opera.
What made you passionate about the Indian film dance?
This passion was born after the meeting with the famous choreographer of Bollywood Ambili Abraham. The dance of Indian cinema is an explosive mixture of different styles (Indian classical, Indian folk, and contemporary elements) that requires great versatility, musicality and energy because of the fast rhythms. I have always been an energetic and fast dancer and at the same time a lover of technique and precision.
In addition, there is a strong attention to acting and expressiveness. Much more than in Western dance. This fascinated me a lot and enriched me as a dancer.
Now you're part of the WCO, and are you working on "Bolero" by Juliu Horvath. Is it something very different?
The Bolero is definitely a different experience from what I've done to date.
I am exploring new concepts of movement, but it is also very important for the comparison I'm having with artists and dancers with styles much different from mine. Studying and working with Juliu Horvat, then, it’s really a special experience.
Does Gyrotonic have something in common with the Indian film dance?
By itself it does not have much in common, but for me both dance and Gyrotonic are forms of meditation. In this sense they have much in common. And meditation is basically nothing more than being present in the here and now, and it is the state that I reach dancing or training with the Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic.
How did you meet Pietro Gagliardi and Elisabetta Carnevale?
I met them during my training in Gyrotonic. They were a key element of my training and I’m very lucky to be able to continue learning from them. They are among the most prepared Trainers in the world.
How are you living the preparation of this "Bolero"?
With great enthusiasm. I want to give everything I can, and amaze myself as well as the audience.
A trained dancer, Martina Scotti was introduced to Gyrotonic early in her career. Her passion for the discipline inspired her to become a Trainer. She is now one of the young artists of the White Cloud Opera, a company created by Pietro Gagliardi and choreographed by Juliu Horvat, that will host its European premiere at the Teatro Olimpico in Rome September 21 and 22nd.
We interviewed Martina during one of her rehearsal breaks.
Can you tell me about your history with Gyrotonic?
Since I was five I always had to balance school and dance, a passion that my mother cultivated in me from a young age. In childhood and adolescence I spent more time at the dance studio than anywhere else. All this physical activity led to a muscular problem and so I discovered Gyrotonic, which provided a quick recovery. It must be said, though, that for me Gyrotonic has meant much more. It allowed me to really get to know my body and my potential. It helped me to accept my shortcomings and improve.
But above all it has changed my perception of movement and the meaning of working with my body. While dancers tend to overdo, to bring all their strength into every movement, Gyrotonic teaches us that the best result often comes with very little effort.
Gyrotonic and Dance, Dance and Gyrotonic: how strong is this bond?
They are two complementary disciplines, I would say even synergistic. A dancer, accustomed to working on oneself, has a strong awareness of one’s own body and a very acute perception of oneself. This condition facilitates the dancer’s intuition in regards to the movement of Gyrotonic. Based on my personal experience, combining Gyrotonic with dance studies helps achieve a true balance.
Another very important consideration is that if dance imposes standards in the execution of various movements, the practice of Gyrotonic allows one to adapt these standards. ‘Defects’ are suddenly just details that one can live with, with serenity.
I have come to the conclusion that, in both disciplines, passion makes the difference.
In September, at the Teatro Olimpico of Rome, there will be the Italian premiere of the “Bolero.” Tell me about this experience.
Some time ago, Peter Gagliardi told me something I will never forget: "life should be approached with lightness and love." In my view there are no better words to describe the spirit and the atmosphere inside the White Cloud Opera. We all work very hard, but, above all, what is perceived from within and what we would like to pass to our audience is the love for what we do.
We all have a great desire to improve together so it is really exciting. I'm very happy to participate at such an important project.
How would you describe the emotion that dancing gives you?
Freedom is the first word that comes to mind. When I dance I feel free. I could be anywhere, free to convey any emotion, free from any problem that life puts in front of me. The emotion of baring oneself before an audience and giving them the opportunity to look inside and see what you are and how you feel is indescribable. Sometimes my heart beats so strong that it seems it almost wants to get out of my chest. When I dance I feel that at the same time the best and worst parts of me come out. Dance has been with me until now and I can’t imagine a life without it.
Dancing has always been Rosalba’s passion. Graduating with a degree in classical and contemporary dance, she arrived to Gyrotonic by chance but fell in love, eventually deciding to become a trainer. Rosalba has been part of the WCO since its very first days.
Dance and Gyrotonic: two sides of the same coin?
Both disciplines involve work with the body yet it is important to understand how this work is carried out. Dancers have a heightened awareness, a perception of their bodies that is different from anyone else. But this perception also has many limitations that dance can’t fix. Gyrotonic provides a gateway into one’s into this and much more, giving the dancer an opportunity to transmit everything with greater awareness.
Horvath's "Bolero" is definitely unique. What strikes you about this choreography and what specifically do you believe will affect the public?
The versatility. I think the show is an exaltation of diversity: each element has its own history, its own style and arrived to Gyrotonic through its own path. Gyrotonic is a meeting point, great for its diversity: everyone has a different perception of movement, and transmits in their own way.
The glue that unites us is that we believe in what we do, we believe in Gyrotonic and in this project. It’s important for me that this makes an impact to the public.
How would you explain what it means to be a Gyrotonic trainer?
I would say that it is an ongoing exchange. Teaching is not just giving, but above all receiving, and this happens not only in the moment of the actual lesson but also and primarily with other trainers. The characteristics of each can become a starting point to improve, deepen and grow. It is always a conversation about diversity from which we can learn so much for ourselves and for others as well.
Dancing is a passion— is it the same for Gyrotonic?
I would almost say that Gyrotonic supports the passion for dance. Dancing can easily become an obsession; like all the exaggerations it can thus result in harm. The search for perfection, the competition within the dance world, at times causes confusion and allows one to lose sight of why you actually started, and why you can’t stop doing it.
All this translates into a malaise of the body and mind. Gyrotonic helps restore balance. The passion of why a person started dacning in the first place becomes clear once more, and the body moves with awareness, comfortable in itself and not driven by the need of proving something to someone.
Tell me about your experience with the White Cloud Opera.
No doubt a discovery. It's very interesting and educational to be involved with such an innovative project, and above all is very inspiring to witness the enthusiasm of those who work there. First of all, that of Pietro. It was Pietro who in fact involved me in the company. He has a palpable energy, a desire to create something different. Moreover, he inspires confidence as well in our ability to pull it off.
I am very curious to see how the show will push our potential and expand our limits. The beauty of this project lies in having no final goal, only a journey of research and discovery.
His name is Stefano Capitani, he was born in Rome and grew up in Sicily, where he studied classical dance and tango. At 17, he is selected to enter the School of the Teatro dell'Opera in Rome and after a year he won a scholarship at the Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace in Montecarlo.
Back in Italy, he studies with Boris Tonin Nikitsch, one of the last pupils of the great Nijiskij and then begins its ascent which leads him to participate in many different kind of shows: from ballet to musicals, until arriving at the WCO, at the end a long tour with the "Napoletango" by Giancarlo Sepe.
What did initially attract you to Gyrotonic?
The gentle approach and the immediate benefit.
In your resume you write that there are three basic concepts that you hold on to: truth, beauty and harmony. Why these three?
Because everything in nature refers to those concepts. A prime example of "beauty and harmony" is clear in the Fibonacci sequence, which can be found in the shell of a Nautilus, in the arrangement of the petals of a flower, or in the form of a pine cone. Is this not a clear "truth"?
Before you started working with the WCO you've done a wonderful theater tour, taking part of the show "Napoletango". How’s that experience affecting your current work?
For me it was a milestone, from a professional point of view because it gave me the opportunity to tread the boards of the most important Italian and foreign theaters, as well as allowing me to participate at an international event such as the Napoli Teatro Festival Italy.
From an artistic point of view instead it has totally turn my mindset upside down, changing my way of making art and perform. Dance teaches you discipline and precise aesthetics. Being part of the "Napoletango", and working with Giancarlo Sepe, made me go through a long process of restructure of the movement and reevaluation of what is beautiful. It was at that point of my life that I started to become aware of the binomial: natural means beautiful. For the first time I felt totally free, because I no longer had to push to respect the rigid aesthetic of dance, but I could indulge and be free in a rewritten spontaneous aesthetic and natural expressiveness of my movements.
Let’s talk about the "Bolero"!
It’s definitely a different kind of show, but inside "Bolero" I find many elements that were part of my artistic history, almost like closing a circle, a loop. First of all the three basic concepts: for the creation of the show Juliu Horvath has revived exactly the basic concepts that have accompanied me for a while now: truth, beauty and harmony. The big difference with "Napoletango" is the reintegration of aesthetics, but in another form. It is not about the achievement of a perfect pose, what makes the show virtuous is the perfection of the movement that develops between a pose and another.
If you were to give advice to a young artist who is starting his career what would you say?
I would say that the greatest gift to aspire to is balance. I would say: be open to what you see, what you hear, accept the advice and guidance of the many teachers you’ll meet. Learn the technique and the craft of those who preceded you, but at some point go further. Don’t lose sight of yourself, always find yourself. Only in this way you will keep your integrity, you won’t be the copy of anyone, you will be an artist and not just a performer.
Her first great passion, was rhythmic gymnastics which she has practiced at national level. In 2000 she first approached the world of Gyrotonic, following an accident, and hasn’t abandoned it ever since. Her name is Marta Garzia and she’s part of the White Cloud Opera Company.
You first approached Gyrotonic following an injury. What do you remember of that time?
The first time that I entered the White Cloud Studio I was 11 years old and my days where shaped around very intense training sessions. When I started working with Pietro, I immediately had a feeling of peace and wellbeing. I felt as if I was suspended upon a cloud. I was immediately impressed at how through respiration and a more “relaxed” approach to movement, I could immediately obtain great results. It was pure magic.
For many years you have practiced rhythmic gymnastics on a competitive level. Do you miss those days?
I have no regrets about that time, only beautiful memories that fill my heart with joy. The initial detachment, after so many years, was very difficult and painful, but at the same time I closed that chapter with great serenity and awareness. I will always be grateful to this sport, since it was the gymnastics that made me approach the Gyrotonic, which is now an integral part of my life.
Now you are engaged in the preparation of the 'Bolero'. Tell me about this experience?
The preparation of the Bolero is a wild mix of emotions. We are all working hard in an increasingly sophisticated research of the essence of the movement, it’s extraordinary. We have great fun, and this is essential, because I believe that the harmony that’s growing among us will emerge on stage, making the show even more valuable show.
The whole is crowned by the invaluable opportunity of the direct contact we have with Horvath, who always stimulates and inspires us to seek the endless possibilities of our body and soul.
What will this experience bring to your future?
I see this experience as a painting full of light and colors, which in the future will become even richer and detailed. The viewer will be able to admire, and lose himself into it; he will be able to know and acknowledge the uniqueness and power of Gyrotonic.
If you had to convince someone to practice Gyrotonic or Gyrokinesis, what would you tell them? I would tell them that in the Gyrokinesis and in the Gyrotonic is contained the essence of the psychological well-being, and that no matter who we are, we can all find in this discipline an extraordinary benefit and great satisfaction. It becomes part of our quotidian life, and undoubtedly improves the quality of it, simply through movement .
He is a dancer and a choreographer, has worked with directors and choreographers such as Cesare Scartoni, Alessia Gatta, Marisa Ragazzo, Omid Ighani, as well as Enzo Celli. Since 2014 Daniele Toti is a free lance dancer, he joined the White Cloud Opera in 2015.
Tell me about the encounter with the WCO.
As often happens in these cases, the encounter with the WCO, and especially with Pietro and Elisabetta, happened by chance, or perhaps I should say "organically." Some think that nothing is left to chance and that everything should follow its own course, a predetermined trajectory. I am also of this opinion.
I began to follow Pietro Gagliardi’s Gyrokinesis lessons after my company was offered the chance to join the cast of the WCO. I fell in love right away with this project and I believe that destiny wanted it to happen.
Based on your resume, unlike other components of the WCO, you are not a Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis trainer. Did you already know the disciplines created by Horvath?
I came across Gyrokinesis by chance, thanks to a colleague, and I was immediately fascinated. Later, I decided to study Gyrotonic in depth. To date I think that if everyone practiced these disciplines would achieve a mental and physical wellbeing that would significantly improve the quality of life.
Working on our own bodies at such a deep level also helps the mind. With Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic I discovered that the human being has no limits, the only limits are due to mental barriers that we impose.
You have worked with other major companies and especially abroad, how do you feel about this project with the WCO?
The company I’ve been working for several years has become a second family for me. This is both because of the hundreds of hours spent together, and the harmony that has been created between us dancers.
The thing that surprised me is that the WCO travels on the same trajectory: I found a group of colleagues coming from different realities, all united by the will to create a unique style, to create something "true." Everyone brings their own background, which is then shared in a common language: the Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic. This is a constant stimulus, and a great opportunity to grow. I can’t wait to share the experience with my comrades in New York, because I'm sure that will strengthen our chemistry.
If I were to talk about the "Bolero" by Juliu Horvath and how you are preparing for it, what would you say?
First I would say that working closely with Juliu can only make me honored. Telling how the show is being gradually building is not easy, especially because it concerns a delicate story: the story of Juliu Horvath. What makes this show unique is the incredible variety of styles and people, each one will have the daunting task of telling their own version of "Bolero". Elisabetta and Pietro are extraordinary in transmitting so much energy. Rehearsing with Horvath, however, it’s very special: he is able to express himself with the blink of an eye. Seeing him at work is really exciting. The show is being born from a set of energies that come together to give life to an idea.
What is for you to dance?
It’s a difficult question for a dancer. I often see many dancers developing a certain kind of coldness towards this profession. There is nothing more wrong. The point is that I feel bad when I can’t go to class. Dance for me is a necessity. It’s not something you decide to start or quit, it’s a little like breathing.
Sara Di Blasi
A Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis trainer, she studied dancing ranging from hip hop to modern contemporary. She graduated in Human Sciences, and specialized in 'Arti e Scienze dello Spettacolo' writing her thesis on 'the dance movements in the sculptures and paintings of the '900'.
Her name is Sara Di Blasi and she is part of the White Cloud Opera.
You were introduced to Gyrotonic after a car accident. Do you remember your first lesson?
Yes. I remember that my first Gyrotonic lesson was after a long period of physical therapy, I was disappointed because the therapy I was following did not bring effective results for my post accident rehabilitation.
I had heard about Gyrotonic by some dancers and friends, intrigued by their stories, I decided to try.
The best feeling I remember is the ease with which my whole body began to move again, in complete harmony and without any pain.
This was the beginning of a journey that took me to love and to believe in this discipline, and I decided to practice, and later to become Trainer.
How would you describe the well-being that Gyrotonic anc Gyrokinesis brought into your life?
I would describe it as a total psycho-physical wellness. In fact, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis, through the three-dimensionality of the exercises and movements, ensure the improvement and the flexibility of muscle tone, joints, posture, coordination and breathing capacity, as well as a profound perception of ourselves and of our inner world.
The White Cloud Opera has now been working for months on the 'Bolero'. Tell me about this experience?
It’s a fascinating and rewarding experience, because it fully merges the 'harmony of the Gyrotonic' and the 'harmony of the art of dancing'.
In addition, the diversity of artistic experiences and backgrounds of the members of our group makes it the only show of its kind.
In these months of rehearsal the opportunity to work closely with Jiuliu Horvath has allowed the group to reach greater awareness of the depth and essence of the movements in the Gyrokinesis sequences and the choreography of the show.
Let's play a little game: if you were to combine an emotion to the word dance. Which one would it be?
The first emotion that comes to my mind is 'surprise': the surprise of the infinite possibilities of expression of a dancing body and the truth, beauty and harmony of its movements.
Let’s meet Martina Malvasi, a member of the White Cloud Opera since 2011. Trained at the Laban Centre of London, she is now also a Gyrokinesis and Gyrotonic trainer.
How did you get from dance to Gyrotonic?
It's a passage that occurred twice, in two different phases of my life. The first time I was about sixteen, my dance teacher advised me to flank Gyrotonic training alongside my dance lessons, since my muscles were developing a lot in terms of power, but little in elasticity and elongation. After a few lessons I could already feel new sensations, the movements were much deeper, I had a lot more control and balance, as well as an improved elasticity and awareness of the depth and the origin of a movement.
The return from dance to Gyrotonic took place again a few years later, when following a spine injury, I had to re-train my body into the right posture, strengthen it and above all I had to regain confidence and lose the fear of feeling pain again. That's when I really learned how listen to my body.
Tell me about your experience with the White Cloud Opera?
I had recently returned from London, and decided to pursue my career in Gyrotonic and become a trainer but, despite great improvements, however, I lived in fear that the back injury could come back to bite. Thanks to White Cloud Opera, to the people who have welcomed and supported me in this project, I went back to dance without the fear of past pain and I came to appreciate the freedom of movement that a conscious body can achieve.
Horvath is the inventor of the Gyrotonic, Gagliardi the one who made this method famous in Italy. How was it to meet with them?
I met Pietro for the first time when I was sixteen and I was immediately struck by the charisma of the maestro and his ability to "read" bodies and people, including me. He is able to capture the defensive structures that a body assumes, and find the key to open them and investigate. He taught me the importance of learning to notice and comprehend the intelligence of the body and the truth of the movement, to be able to wait, listen and respect the body.
Horvath was a surprise for me, it's like being next to pure emotion, a great and sincere energy ready to welcome those who seek it. If he is in the room he can be perceived with your eyes closed.
What emotions is this ‘Bolero’ on which you are working on passing down to you?
To work with Horvath is certainly a great privilege, the advice he gives as well as the words he chooses are able to guide the body until it reaches limits that seemed far more remote. He manages to make everything simple and clear. I really appreciate the heterogeneity of the group, we come from very different paths but all united in the common language of the Gyrotonic and each of us in the "Bolero" are able to express our own peculiarities.
If you had to define the Gyrotonic in one word, which one would that be?
I believe that "awareness" is a word that can help define Gyrotonic; awareness of the body, the movement, the possibilities, and awareness of yourself. It 'a workout that puts you in front of the most real body sensations, guides you and takes you into a deep inner search of your own self.
The White Cloud Opera in preparation for its next show, presents its dancers.
The first is FRANCO CORSI. Originally fromCarrara, has in its curriculum important experiences with major companies among which we mention one in particular, the Ensemble of Micha van Hoecke. He also trained in Paris, Brussels, New York and the Tanztheatre Wuppertal with Pina Bausch. A dancer at heart, over the years he has also proved himself as a choreographer, winning numerous awards.
From January 2016 he is with the White Cloud Opera working on the next production, "Bolero" which will be choreographed by Juliu Horvath. We met him at the end of a rehearsal.
You danced on several occasions and with different companies, how do you feel about this new experience with the White Cloud Opera?
In my career I have had the opportunity to be part of major dance companies both in Italy and abroad, I danced the classical repertoire and the contemporary one as well, finding myself working with this company, for such an important project is for me a new opportunity for artistic growth! This 'Bolero' choreographed by Horvath, is a show of unique value: different, full of meaning, a single act that encompasses many different paintings where we artists can express the best of our abilities both as dancers and as people. 'Bolero' is a crescendo of emotions, I personally participate in a few particular scenarios, at the beginning I live in dimension of meditation (Lotus Flower) in which the living being seeks to rise spiritually toward the Divine, in the second half I dance a two-step which figuratively describes two entities, two spirits, like ‘elves in the woods' playing and discovering each other and, with the advent of a higher entity, they become a trio, full of emotional pathos. In this second part of the show Master Horvath wanted to leave us free to experiment, and see what True, Authentic, and Beautiful performance we’d bring to life ".
If you had to describe the work you're doing with the White Cloud Opera, how would you describe it?
I have the feeling of living like the dancers of the last century who studied every day with Martha Graham. I feel 'privileged'. There is great harmony in the company created by Pietro Gagliardi and this is very exciting. Trying all together I came to understand many things about myself I did not know, both physically and spiritually!
The word Gyrotonic, what does it mean for you?
Gyrotonic for me means first psychophysical well-being. This technique has helped me recovered from a bad shoulder at the end of a long tour abroad. I have to thank this technique and the person who has introduced me to it (Stefano Capitani, another dancer WCO) if now I have the tools that allow me to explore new horizons and achieve new goals!