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Premiere: 8 and 9 October 2022 - VIE Festival, Bologna, Arena del Sole

About this event

The new choreography by Michela Lucenti is, as usual, interpreted by Balletto Civile, a nomadic artistic project animated by a strong ethical tension. They have been able to make the “body to body” a way of elaborating a thought acting on our time by proposing a physical duel between body, word, sound, and stage space. Karnival is placed in this context, investigating one of the most significant and popular rites of renewal. It’s a lyric drama punctuated by a rhythmic score played live, a reflection on the role of the body on stage for a civil physical theatre.

«The show is a bitter reflection on a society in disarray. –Michela Lucenti says – Our characters have lost the ability to dialogue, as well as the desire and energy to be together. (…) Karnival is the mirror of a hard social moment, from which, however, we must find a way out.»

May good be King and evil be defeated
May your granaries be full, and the barrel too

May children be born, and may they be healthy
And who doesn’t love us shamans,
Please bow before us.

Motto of the Kukero Carnival

Carnival, linked from the dawn of time to the cyclical return of the ancestors who under bizarre forms bring to the living a wish for prosperity, is a fourth dimension of the social; more than a party, it is a particular quality of time that requires special behaviors.

If theatre is the last form of spectacle capable of becoming a civil ceremony, the carnival is the last festivity that still escapes the commercialization of the calendar, capable of expressing renewal through subversion; the party that celebrates life through its negation, and with the mask uncovers the society. Our lyric drama, as a sort of Western Noh Theatre, will be punctuated by a rhythmic score played live and the danced pantomimes will mix with the chronicles of the dance/actors.

The show begins upbeat; the dance is fast, concise, and distorted, a continuous score between gesture and sound. The characters are defending themselves, they chase the truth, and they bring too different readings of a single event, too pierced to fit into a single fact.

Almost a parody of the thriller: the classic celebration of human rationality, capable of connecting facts and reconstructing time with a linear process, will in fact be defused through the disappearance of the fact. A disjointed temporal scan, the production of a series of so inconclusive hypotheses about reality, that the very concept of reality is put into crisis, becoming a chain of interpretations, not a series of events.
Everything passes through the body, like a device capable, perhaps for a little while longer, of revealing the truth.
A profound reflection on the role of the body on stage and on how it is possible today to work on a civil physical theatre not only of rupture, with a warm, popular and merciless aesthetic.

Michela Lucenti

Duration: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Extracts from Karnival’s press review

“Karnival by Balletto Civile is the most fascinating of the dance shows, for a very high aesthetic quality, truly a line-up international.”
Rossella Menna, Doppiozero

“Fascinating, almost magical, Karnival by Michela Lucenti and Balletto Civile. Powerful work, between dance and theatre, literary inserts, song, live musical performance, which lead to a dimension that has a fantastic flavor, inside a closed place, a large hotel between exoticism and vintage cinematic suggestion, whose bodies, indefinable subjects, manifest guilt, desires, nostalgia, non-linear thoughts, which aggregate around failures and ambiguous atmospheres including a “fantasy-mystery” in which the body is not the crime.”
Mario De Santis, HuffPost Italia

“Michela Lucenti is a total artist of live entertainment, with a marked vocation for dance, but who has always understood this code in a way closely linked to theatrical and musical/singing practice. It could be said, without fear of contradiction, that Lucenti is one of the few total performers, who has been able to stand on one side and the other of the stage, in a practice that has therefore seen her both director and performer, often alone, but founder and director of collectives, such as Balletto Civile. (…) Karnival has the nature of a musical performance, a kind of “Grand Budapest Hotel” in music. (…) It’s impossible to read a story in these occasional encounters, within the miniature society that gradually strips away its ambitions to arrive at a dramatic final irresolution, in which these bodies get tangled, fragile, and full of unanswered questions, around an armchair, almost wanting to take a family photo that smells more of “Festen” than of real affections of proximity. (…) Lucenti’s personal talents have always allowed her to conceive shows that exude an energetic dynamism, both in solos and in choreographies for groups of dancers, such as this one, in which we usually arrive at expressionistic representations of the human story. “
Renzo Francabandera, Paneacquaculture.net

“Karnival by Michela Lucenti-Balletto Civile, playing on the historical meaning of Carnival, is a dramatic celebration of life, of a possible reconquest of the time that composes it. Dramaturgy for dance, images, music, song, and words, through the bodies of seven actor-dancers on stage with the director Michela Lucenti. All of them are absorbed in an environment of sounds and images, live sounds that strike each other on stage and on the audience, from a red corner of the proscenium thanks to a battery accompanied by electronic sounds. (…) In a jubilation of shining shadows, the suspicion winds its way that perhaps everything is useless, everything is final because basically everything is indifferent, indistinct. A hotel hosts her bewildered and timeless characters, who sing, flaunt disjointed dialogues, and then fall while time dances to syncopated rhythms in the bodies of satyrs and stage attendants (the formidable comic plasticity of the cleaner). A hotel hosts its bewildered and timeless characters, who sing, flaunt disjointed dialogues, and then fall while time dances to syncopated rhythms in the bodies of satyrs and stage servants (the formidable comic plasticity of the cleaner). That’s not all, Karnival contains powerful live songs, circus pyrotechnics, and visual arts, unfolding on the four founding moments of the ritual, from fear to the tragedy of the finale, where Ash Wednesday disregards the most uncertain questions in the face of the suicide of a luminous warrior.”



Artistic Data

direction and choreography  Michela Lucenti
collaboration to the creation Maurizio Camilli, Emanuela Serra
performed by  Fabio Bergaglio, Maurizio Camilli, Loris De Luna, Michela Lucenti, Alessandro Pallecchi, Emanuela Serra, Giulia Spattini, Francesca Zaccaria
percussion and marimba Davide Sinigaglia
dramaturgy  Carlo Galiero

musical dramaturgy Valerio Vigliar
light design Stefano Mazzanti
sound design Claudio Tortorici
costumes Chiara Defant
paintings Francesca Zaccaria
assistant director Ambra Chiarello
technical director Massimo Gianaroli
stage manager Davide Capponcelli
head electrician Tiziano Ruggia
sound technician Massimo Nardinocchi
wardrobe Elena Dal Pozzo
production Emilia Romagna Teatro ERT / Teatro Nazionale, Balletto Civile, TPE – TeatroPiemonte Europa, CSS Teatro Stabile di innovazione del FVG

Thanks to Attilio Caffarena, Francesco Gabrielli

photos Guido Mencari



a production of Karnival • Production Emilia Romagna Teatro