It’s always a bit hard putting pen to paper after a dance show, especially the Naupaca kind. Not cos I don’t know what I felt watching but putting it into words is a whole other story. Anyone who watched Divina will understand what I’m talking about.
You see… I know most of these guys very well. Some of them are big friends of mine and I know how they live and breathe their art and passion. How much work they put into it, how long it’s been coming and how many nightouts they missed cos of rehearsals. When they told me they were doing Dante Alighieri’s Divina I was initially a bit concerned about how it would be received by the public. Unlike their previous ‘The Death of Snow White’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’, not everyone is familiar with La Divina Commedia.
Of course all my concerns bit the dust when I sat down to watch the show. What choreographer Joeline Tabone does is very hard to explain. How she takes her troupe’s talents and blends them seamlessly with her own vision is really something special and powerful. Add the music composed and produced by Mario Sammut to the mix and you have a soothing barrage on the senses.
I don’t know what to say about Francesco Mariottini’s Virgil and Sergey’s Dante other than that they showed otherworldly dancing with the most noble restraint. Deborah Agius played a wonderful Beatrice countering the gentlemen’s stamina with her grace, as she glided in white across the stage during the final act.
Then there’s Maria Theuma, writer, narrator and the one that took the audience’s hand on a journey through Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Maria created a unique and personal take on Dante’s narrative adding another layer and dimension to the show. The audience felt like they knew her and what she stood for, and they loved every second of it.
Ultimately, Divina was yet another showing of how multi-layered Naupaca Dance Factory’s artistic expression is, and that the strength is in the raw collaboration and connection between a handful (or two) of people. I can’t imagine what’s next for you guys, but I know we’ll all be sitting there in awe once it hits the stage, ready to be moved and inspired.
All photos by Charles Paul Azzopardi