Alessia Mallardo also known as Medusa. She is born in Naples, South Italy. She is a Butoh dancer and a dance therapist. A traveler and a researcher.
The dance, for her, is a necessity. The way to find herself when she gets lost. To get an answer. The way to encounter other people, the way to feel the space within and around herself. Her whole life she has been looking for a tool to explore and observe what is inside oneself and bring it out through movement.
Psychology, anthropology, and dance therapy were the first steps she took in this direction. Then she started to travel to different countries, searching for ecstatic experiences and rituals such as trance or spirit possession (Candomblé, Voodoo, Umbanda). In 2013, she has met Butoh, which since has become a fundamental tool in her work and a lifestyle, a philosophy of living.
She has followed Atsushi Takenouchi’s Butoh, helping and assisting in his school in Italy, but she has also fed her practice periodically with other teachers specially Imre Thormann in South of France, for Noguchi Taiso.
Her research in the field of performance follows two directions.
The first stems from madness, dream, myth and ritual. Greek and African mythologies intertwine with personal mythology and give space to the creation of rites of passage, divine possessions, apotropaic rites, processions, prayers. These experiences reflect the theme of sorrow and belonging.
The second focuses on somatic and site-specific explorations. Recordings of soundscapes, people’s desires, collective memories, inner voices create a resonance between sensory perceptions and space. These projects explore the theme of the presence on the stage and are intended to engage the audience in the performance.
Since 2013, her work has been presented in places as famous as unusual, moving in turn from a theatre hall to a cave, from an art gallery to a coffee bar, from an urban park to a school in the middle of the jungle…
Alessia facilitates classes of Butoh and Noguchi Taiso, two different and complementary movement techniques that both originated in Japan in the last century.
Noguchi Taiso training characteristics are:
- Experiencing the weight of the body
- Release muscular tension and free the body from rigid, predetermined patterns of behavior
- Regain the flexibility and fluidity of water in one’s movement
Noguchi Taiso is for these reasons a valuable preparation to dance Butoh. In fact, it prepares the body for a state of muscular relaxation, and unintentional movements, in which it is possible to reach deep layers of the self. And in those spaces, to be moved rather than to move, to be surprised by every single movement of one’s body, even the most subtle, the most imperceptible.
To Alessia, in fact, Butoh is a mean to explore inner spaces. As with many Eastern performative traditions, Butoh has transformative potential: material is discovered in the darkness of the invisible and by journeying through deep meditative and dreamlike states, this darkness can be brought to light.
With her training we explore:
- the close relationship between mind and body
- outdoor sensory practices and site-specific explorations
- creative aspects of dance (the disposition to rediscover and reexamine one’s own body; moving images; resonance with objects, words, and outside world; presence on the stage)
Alessia’s workshops are open to everyone, to dancers, to movers, to free movement explorers. All that is required is a strong motivation to get involved.