Calcúra is an editorial visual journey through Sardinia. Through a series of conversations and photographic stories Acre has created a showcase of the Sardinian creative scene.
Several voices have been involved, and each of them represents an interweave, a root in the soil that creates intimate worlds waiting to be discovered.
Between poetic research and the construction of artistic networks and collaborations on the island, Igor X Moreno is a name that, starting with dance, encloses and allows within it the interference and contamination of different practices. The works of the Italian-Spanish duo of choreographers and dancers, Moreno Solinas and Igor Urzelai, offer the public an international outlook and an action that starts from the body of the individual and opens up to the community. We interviewed them last August during our trip to Sardinia X Calcùra.
We ask you to present and tell us how the Igor X Moreno project was born.
I: Together with other people we are Igor x Moreno but our story starts separately.
M: I am Sardinian. I did an international classical high school, I already had a desire to connect with other cultures and languages. There was already a desire to get out of the island. I studied contemporary dance with Anna Paola della Chiesa, who was my first teacher and with whom we now collaborate here in Sassari with the S’Ala project. A project that deals with artistic residencies, production and training. Then I did the conservatoire in London, the London contemporary dance school where I met Igor.
I: I dance since a very young age. I have worked with theatre and other arts but I still call myself a dance artist, therefore choreographer, dancer and performer. I find in dance the way to express, make coexist and rediscover these different arts. I also dance contemporary although I have also done ballet, folk. I come from Spain, from the Basque country, and now I live in Sardinia because together with Moreno and the community I met here, I found a wonderful opportunity to continue to express myself, to grow and to help others do artistic work.
Are there recurring themes within your work? And what is your interest in the audience?
M: As Igor said, we are artists, choreographers and dancers so our approach to creating performance work comes from the body. The body is an instrument that we have, but we all have a body and it is a basic element that we know we share with the audience. What attracts us to dance is the ability to shift the feeling not so much ours on stage but rather that of the audience. Choreography for us has to do with creating an experience for the audience and as performers we are channels for this experience.
I: We don’t have a single theme. Looking back, however, I recognise that desire to connect with the body, empathy with the audience but also between bodies, this sense of wanting to generate and accelerate bodies by creating a relationship, to push them and create emotions, even difficult ones. A way of waking up a bit. Living in big cities for so long, what you lose a little bit is also empathy and therefore being and feeling alive as a body, not just rationally.
M: The relationships between people are central to the shows we create. We always have a direct link with the audience, it is something we always play on. As Igor said, it’s not just about entertaining but creating a dynamic between us and the audience, creating and generating tension, making their heart beat faster. These are all dynamics that we play on. Certainly there is a queer sensibility in our work so the desire not to stage normative relationships but to present some kind of fluidity, which is clearly something that corresponds to us in everyday life.
I: Moreno said that what we care about most is having a body and sharing it with an audience that also has one. All different bodies with different backgrounds where, however, we look for those points in common from which we can also build relationships with other arts. When I refer to theatre, I say I am an activist in dance. This is because when asked whether what we do can be dance or not, I always answer yes.
Whether there are elements of theatre or visual culture, it continues to be dance. This is because what we start from is always the body, the action, not the word. We haven’t used the word yet, and I think there is a lot that can happen before that.
We know that you met and worked for several years based in London. So what brought you to Sassari, establishing the S’Ala project here?
M: Our company was born in London, in a very international context with people all over Europe. However we continue to find ourselves, first in London and now in Sardinia. Our experience has always been very nomadic, I would say; London has always been a base but the tours have always been all over Europe, and even outside. Two years ago we decided to move our base here. Moving from a metropolis like London to Sassari was the right thing to do.
I: We have always worked on the idea of multidirectionality and pluralism, both cultural and geographical. For a while we worked in Budapest, and in London, while part of the team went to live there, others to Denmark. Nevertheless, we managed to work together and so the choice to come to Sardinia was less scary because there was already the practice of working at a distance. It is nice because a core group of people is being created, not only of those who were already here, but also of the new ones we are building here, both for the quality of life and to be able to work with them more deeply.
M: Compared to the London experience, a city like Sassari offers space. In London there has always been a crisis in terms of space, both of spaces to create and to think. Spaces without excessive economic expression. Sassari before Covid had a powerful ferment with a beautiful music scene and now we are still recovering, both in the theatrical and musical environment. I also wonder how living here will change: living outside, we had a strong desire to reconnect with our origins. We have studied and incorporated both Basque and Sardinian folk, dance and music into our work. And I wonder living here if it will continue, if it will deepen.
I: Well it is already being created. We are already integrating pagan, Sardinian and Basque carnivals into our work. We want to learn more and more from ancestral artistic expressions and see how they can still be contemporary. Also in order not to appropriate cultures and to focus on the two territories we come from, there is so much to explore. There is also the influence of the people who have been, are and will be here that continues to revitalise. In all our work there is a relationship with what happens here, with tradition… there is a strong link.