One Minute World Art: The Collection: Combining Folk Dances to Create Something New

Polka Chinata, an Italian folk dance, is based on the mutual trust between dancers. It was at one point a near-forgotten art practiced by only five men in the world. The dance began in the early 1900s around Bologna. It is performed by two men in close embrace, very much like tango, spinning forward and backward in tight circles while supporting each other’s weight to maintain a balance.

In order to show the technique of “crouched whirl” skillfully, they need to bend their knees until they are almost sitting on the ground, so that the beauty of Polka Chinata can be fully displayed with physical energy and masculine charm. During the post-WWII reconstruction period, Polka Chinata became a competition-like performance; men would dance energetically to the lively melody of accordions around Bologna with the purpose to impress ladies. On the other hand, Schuhplattler, the thigh- and shoe-slapping Bavarian folk dance, is about 1000 years old, and has been a tradition well taught and observed. The Schuhplattler is another dance designed for men to show off to women – apparently there was once a rule that once you were married, you should stop dancing. 

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is gradually subsiding, Alessandro Sciarroni, a choreographer as well as a visual and performing artist, has created a new dance performance named The Collection by combining the two above-mentioned folk dances. It is danced by dancers of the Lyon Opera Ballet, who are soon soaked with sweat but exhilarated with joy, and will be presented to the audience of the inaugural Dance Reflections festival in London on 19 and 20 March.  



義大利民間舞蹈「蹲旋波爾卡」(Polka Chinata),是一種本於舞者間之互信的舞蹈,曾面臨幾近失傳的危機。這款舞蹈可以回溯至 1900年代的波隆那:兩兩一組的男性相互擁抱,支撐彼此的重量,踩著步伐前進後退,並且緊緊地依偎轉圈;而其中最著名的橋段「蹲旋」,則是雙方藉著膝蓋彎曲改變重心,讓身體下沉呈蹲坐姿來旋轉,用以展現男性的體能及魅力。二戰後的重建時期,此舞更成了一種類競賽的表演活動;在手風琴音樂的伴奏下,男性奮力地舞動肢體,試圖讓女孩子留下深刻的印象。反觀另一種同樣是吸引女性的傳統舞蹈,也就是巴伐利亞的「擊拍舞」(Schuhplattler),至今已流傳千年;人們藉由拍擊大腿與鞋子的律動來對異性放電,也因此已婚人士就不適合再繼續跳這種舞了。

疫情趨緩的此刻,跨足視覺和表演藝術的編舞家亞歷山卓・夏隆尼(Alessandro Sciarroni),結合前述兩種舞蹈,創作出「傳統新編」的舞碼《蒐藏》(The Collection),邀請里昂歌劇院芭蕾舞團的舞者們在台上盡情搖擺,期盼觀眾能看見舞者們大汗淋灕時臉上愉悅的神態,並從中感受到人體的能量。此版舞作將於31920日,在英國倫敦嶄新登場的「舞蹈・反思」藝術節(Dance Reflections)與觀眾見面。



Photo Credit: Claudia Borgia and Chiara BruschiniWestend61 GmbH Alamy