Attraverso i muri di bruma

“Attraverso i muri di bruma” (Through Walls of Mist) is a choreographic project conceived by Billy Cowie for Fondazione Prada’s Milan venue.
Developed in collaboration with Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi,

Wednesday 28 to Friday 30 September 2016, from 8:30 to10:30 pm.


“Attraverso i muri di bruma” was the second performing arts project to be hosted by Fondazione Prada with the intention of expanding its cultural program and exploring other instruments of research beyond visual arts. Moreover, this project represents not only an important opportunity for collaboration with a group of young dancers, but also with a renowned educational institution such as Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi, which has hosted the Course in Dance Theatre since 1986, well known for training and further specialization of choreographers, performers and contemporary dancers.



Billy Cowie, a Scottish choreographer, musician, writer and visual artist, acclaimed worldwide for his stereoscopic performances and video installations, has conceived a site-specific project that includes music, video projections and live choreography for the spaces of Fondazione Prada. In this regard Cowie says: “As I wrote in my book Anarchic Dance (2006) – ‘the regulation black box space of so much performance is not only flat in terms of visuality it is physically flat as well. One obvious answer to the ubiquitous black box is the site-specific dance work where the choreographer can indeed use the vertical dimension – stairs, balconies, hills, etc. and where a wealth of visually interesting contexts can inform the work.’ I could have been writing then about this piece for the amazing spaces of Fondazione Prada where there is indeed a wealth of spaces and visual textures”. According to this vision, “instead of passive captives the spectators became explorers – seeking out the best vantage points, moving with the dancers, leaving when they have had enough, returning when they want more, bringing their friends, talking even!”.

The title “Attraverso i muri di bruma” (Through Walls of Mist) refers in part to the poem Sei es So by the German poet Silke Mansholt, visual designer of the project, who co-authored with Cowie the texts of the work which also includes some poems by Federico García Lorca. The title refers even to the twilight world of the 3D dance, a handcrafted technology that Cowie has been developing since 2002, achieving sophisticated and poetic outcomes.

In the first part of “Attraverso i muri di bruma” seven events will happen simultaneously: Noche de Quatro Lunas (a dancer will perform a duet with a tree accompanied by a poem by Lorca), Retrospettiva (a screening of 3D films by Cowie such as Art of Movement, Jenseits, Tango de Soledad, t’es pas la seule, and Under Flat Sky to be presented at the Cinema), Casa di Nebbia 1 (a large 3D projection of dance on the external wall of the Sud gallery), Danza di Paura (two dancers’ performance on the balcony of the Haunted House), BEH! (a four dancers’ interactive choreography held on the ground floor of the Biblioteca with a text exploring the subtler nuances of the Italian language), Herz (a performance held on the terrace of the Nord gallery, accompanied by the song Herz), Casa di Nebbia 2 (the same choreography of Casa di Nebbia 1, but performed live within the Nord gallery).

The second part of “Attraverso i muri di bruma” will be held in the courtyard between the Cinema and the Podium buildings. The audience will be invited to gather in the space to attend a final event where the eleven dancers will perform in front of the mirror walls of the Cinema.
A series of unison ensemble works using the Mansholt Lieder (sung by Rowan Godel) will be interspersed with solos employing the same texts translated in Italian.



Subtle Signals from the Fourth Dimension
Dance highlight: A girlish figure approaches a fig tree as if he was her lover; her limbs stretched her body has become desire. And then, in the finale before the mirror wall, the ensemble doubles to a symphony in white. What makes the compelling magic of all this? The balmy night, the young strength, dream pictures, music of the spheres - hard to say. You had to be there.
Barbara Villiger Heilig  (4 Oct 16)   Neue Zürcher Zeitung

The project, beyond beauty, opens up many reflections on the relationship between virtual and real, but, and here is the coup of the wings of Cowie, with a poetic delicacy, light years away from coldness. The second part of the dance is completely live with the dancers of Paolo Grassi and Lieder with the words of poet Silke Mansholt sung by Rowan Golden. A dance suspended in an imaginary mist inside sensations of movement.
Francesca Pedroni  (2 Oct 16)  Il Manifesto

In the last half hour of the show, however, the audience is gathered in front of the mirrors outside the cinema. Here the choreographer realises for the performers a series of movements that, thanks to the reflections, develop a dialogue with the films  inside, with low positions and the reflecting wall that seem to create an almost architectural dialogue and statuary feeling. But on the other hand they evoke a classicism almost metaphysical, opposed, but not in a hostile way, to digital and contemporary ideas. Ultimately it's like overcoming the human dimension with the technology necessary to find the deeply human.
RENZO Francabandera  (30 Sep 16)  PAC; Arts and Culture