In the Country of Last Things
Elena Cattardico (IT/DE)
01.08 | Mikis Theodorakis theatre
Elena Cattardico (1997) is an Italian artist currently based in Stuttgart and active as a freelancer in Germany and abroad.
She started dancing from an early age.
After graduating from the Germana Erba Dance High School (Turin, Italy) – where she had the opportunity to perform in numerous italian Theaters and Festivals the repertoire of the ex dance company “Teatro Nuovo di Torino” – she moves to Area Jeune Ballet (Geneva, Switzerland) in 2017.
Together with the youth company, Elena has performed works by José Agudo, Blenard Azizaj, Gil Carlos Harush, Fabio López, Gerald Durand and others in Switzerland and abroad (TEDx Geneva, Onu, BFM Theater, Flux Laboratory, Festival Arcachon, WIPO – World Intellectual Property, etc.).
In 2020, she moved to Germany to join Stadttheater Pforzheim for the 2020/21 season, under the direction of Guido Markowitz and Damian Gmuer.
From August 2021, Elena started a new chapter of her life as a ‘freelancer’, working mainly in Germany: Mini URBAN DANCE LAB project (Pforzheim); Wang Ramirez Company (Berlin / Principality of Monaco); Oper Frankfurt; dance film-project “EREMITES” (produced by Stadttheater Pforzheim), for which she joined the production as a dancer, but also as a scriptwriter and assistant editor; TANZTHEATER_Katja Erdmann-Rajski: Body Opera project with Wagner music “Tristan und Isolde und Petitcru” (Stuttgart); ORNAMENTA Gala 2023 (Pforzheim); ‘Zaplatanie’_Monika Blaszczak project (Berlin); Winter Leuchten at Waggons (Stuttgart); Azimuth Arts and Dance Ensemble (Stuttgart); POP UP EVENT (Pforzheim); Hugo Boss’s Christmas event (Stuttgart).
As a choreographer: First Prize with “Correspondences” (co-produced with Gabriele Rolle) at the ‘Fernando Alonso International Choreographic Competition’ in 2016 (Havana, Cuba);
“Carte Blanche” in 2019 (co-produced with Chiara Alessandro at Flux Laboratory Residency (Geneva, Switzerland); “In the Country of Last Things” in July 2022 (at ‘Centro Danza Savona’, Italy), recently selected for: “FESTIVAL DANCE DAYS CHANIA 2023” (Crete, Greece); “CORPOMOBILE Festival” (Rome, Italy); “FRINGE THEATER FESTIVAL” (Trier, Germany).
In collaboration with artist Stella Covi, she recently created and performed: “Noi, Cinema Paradiso”, a piece selected on the occasion of artistic interventions organized at the “Metropol-Kino” in Stuttgart and funded by the city; “Teatro Olimpico” on the occasion of the exhibition “PF8 – Pforzheims Partnerstädte” at EMMA-Kreativzentrum (Pforzheim).
Recently, the ‘concept-workshop’ – developed by the duo and intended for children – “Little dancing painters”, was selected by the prestigious Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.
Concurrently to her dance career, Elena graduated in Performing Arts and Communication (University of Pisa, Italy) and she recently got a scholarship for the Master in Management of Cultural Assets and Activities (Università della Sapienza di Roma, Italy).
“In the Country of Last Things” stems from a hilarious anecdote involving a shopping cart, a sleeping child and a mother without a stroller…
All that remained of the anecdote is the shopping cart: my aesthetic imagination brought flowers to it and my emotional memory a statute of existence. These assumptions were the pretext for investigating the multiple uses and meanings associated with the cart: most commonly we know it as a mobile container, where to collect basic necessities; for many ‘outsiders’ it is even a home, an “ark” for the few assets still in their possession, as for the protagonists of Paul Auster’s book to which this ‘piece’ owes its title; in this choreographic work, the cart assumed the meaning of transient tomb of the soul, a painful and transitory condition of existence but from which man cannot escape.
The shopping cart maneuvered in space, traces the battlefield in which the incommunicability of the two protagonists is consumed: the one who witnesses other’s pain, after numerous and vain attempts to shake the other person, identifies in the acceptance of his impotence as the only possible solution. “Armistice” then, surrender, turns out to be the only possible way to pull themselves to safety and preserve the residual love that unites them. The two acts of strength that the dancers perform at the end of the piece – solitary but complementary – unpredictably give a new physiognomy to the cart, sanctioning the truce and a new, matured, self-awareness.
This “transformism” concerns the material as much as the souls that trigger it and symbolizes “krisis” not only in the sense of ongoing disruption, but in the Greek sense of “choice” and “separation”: accepting the disintegration of the self, admitting separation from obsolete versions of us, as the caterpillar does when it leaves its chrysalis, is sometimes “the last thing” left to do in order to be reborn into the most majestic form of us. What for the chrysalis is the end of the world, the world calls the butterfly, after all.
“Siamo solo conchiglie, sparse sulla sabbia. Niente potrà tornare, a quando il mare era calmo”.
“We are only shells, scattered on the sand. Nothing can go back to when the sea was calm”, sings a voice in the background of their own…
Those who assist grief are not immune to change, however: all that is left for them to do is to offer a “watch over you” and wait patiently for the pain to bloom. Blossoming with it themselves…
Dancers and co-creators: Chiara Alessandro and Gabriele Rolle
Soundtrack: Edoardo Nocco, Andrea Laszlo De Simone (track “Conchiglie” – 2019)
Video shooting: Nicolò Uzzauto
Video editing: Mirko Ingrao
Space kindly offered by Alessandra Schirripa & Stefano Falco (Centro Danza Savona)
Special Thanks: My family, Simone Pastrengo, Alessia Casadei & Nora Rose, Silvia Uras, Francesca Stella
1 August | Mikis Theodorakis theatre
Elena Cattardico – In the Country of Last Things