photos Gianluca Camporesi


concept and choreography Paola Bianchi
created and danced by Valentina Bravetti e Paola Bianchi
sound Stefano Murgia
light desig Paolo Pollo Rodighiero
artistic collaboration Roberta Nicolai
costumes Liana Gervasi
management Elisa Nicosanti
technical direction Luca Giovagnoli
pictures Gianluca "Naphtalina" Camporesi
production Città di Ebla / Festival Ipercorpo
coproduction PinDoc
with the support of MiC, Regione Emilia Romagna e Comune di Forlì
thanks to Societas / Teatro Comandini in Cesena
special thanks to Davide Fabbri, Luca Giovagnoli, Giacomo Calli
artistic residency Santarcangelo dei Teatri


P.: I know Valentina since a long time and in 2007 I involved her in three performance actions within the project Visioni irrazionali.
Eight years ago, due to an illness, her life changed. She stopped performing and I never saw her again.
Valentina cannot walk any more. For eight years her lower limbs do not support her. Valentina cannot eat and drink on her own. For eight years the upper limbs have no control of movement, they move as they want. Valentina can do practically nothing on her own - go to the toilet, prepare something to eat, dress, undress....

On 12 May 2019 I sent an email to Valentina asking her if she would like to actively participate in the ELP project with a kind of remote experiment whose rules were:

- I send you an audio file containing the verbal description of a posture
- you listen to it until you memorise the posture, after which the possibilities are:
you assume it as you can and send me the video or photo
you answer me with something else (a word, a sentence, an audio file, a picture...). When I receive your answer, I will send you the second file.

I am not interested in the accuracy of the execution because it is not an execution but a personal/individual embodiment or incorporation of the posture, free from any kind of judgement.

Here is one of the instructions I sent to Valentina:
I'm sitting. My left leg is bent with the sole of my foot on the floor, my right leg is lying on the floor, next to my left. My right hand is on the floor behind my pelvis, my left arm is lying on my left knee. My head is straight, slightly turned to the right.

V.: At the beginning, it was not easy to feel the postures described in the body, but each indication brought me suggestions anyway. At first these suggestions made me think of images, so the first three responses were poems and photos found on the web. But my body always wanted to reproduce those positions as I felt them. So, I started to get involved personally by sending Paola video footage of my body in motion. The way of working at a distance was very interesting: there were precise rules and there was no one to impose or suggest how to act. I could only stay on what I felt.

P.: We continued this long-distance dialogue without ever meeting in person until March 2021, when I invited Valentina to do a video shoot. On 11 and 12 May 2021, exactly two years after the first e-mail was sent, we met in the theatre and made the video work ἀνδρεία [andreia].

V.: Even though I had not worked on stage for a long time, it seemed like only a few days had passed and everything was very natural, especially seeing my body on video following certain directions and - in quotes - recognising myself. It was on that occasion that we decided to try working together on stage.

P.: Valentina's body has not lost the intelligence of the scene. She cannot walk, she cannot eat or drink on her own, she has no autonomy of movement and yet her body on stage has acquired a potential it did not have before. Her presence is powerful, as is her body that crosses the space investigating entirely personal forms and rhythms. Her body on stage has a control that it does not possess in everyday life. It is there that her body is master of itself, it is there that Valentina feels fully alive.
After eight years of absence from the stage Valentina is now the protagonist of a performance.

– Paola and Valentina –

BRAVE is the result of a long research work on the theme of the co-presence of two bodies with different abilities and perceptions, of an in-depth investigation on the relationship, on mutual support, on the acceptance of insurmountable limits while at the same time aiming to overcome them. BRAVE is born from a strong desire that does not put into action only the bodies on stage but a small community that welcomes and protects. There is no bravura, no bravery. There is determination and desire. There are two bodies meeting: a body returning on stage after an eight-year absence, and a body seeking a new modality of presence on stage.

Begun in May 2019 with a long-distance dialogue between the choreographer and the dancer and continued in presence since 2021, BRAVE is part of Paola Bianchi's ELP choreographic research project, an investigation into the relationship between descriptive word and dance through the audio transmission of posture archives. The descriptions of Paola Bianchi's body postures in the act of embodying the images present in the ELP archives generated the states of Valentina Bravetti's body, leading her to assume personal forms, tensions and rhythms, detached from the visual model of the choreographer's body. The shape of the red carpet containing the action and the guidelines of the space in a choreographic sense were determined by Rosso Fiorentino's Deposition, a panel painting preserved in the Pinacoteca of Volterra. The analysis of the postures of the figures surrounding the Christ in a ballet of hands and gazes became the backbone of part of the choreographic work.