PREMIERE Co-production "Ersilia" by Alvise Sinivia

PREMIERE Co-production "Ersilia" by Alvise Sinivia

Conceived and performed by Alvise Sinivia
Choreography, in collaboration with David Drouard
Developped during the residency at Villa Medicis (2016-2017)

Premiere 6. & 7.11.2018, Théâtre de Vanves

Partners Théâtre de Vanves, La Briqueterie-Vitry, ARCADI, GMEM - Marseille, ICI-CCN de Montpellier / Occitanie as part of Life Long Burning project supported by the European commission

I have been questioning for many years the concert as a performance form by exploring the relationship between body and piano, as well as a different way of transforming this instrument and exploring its potentialities.

Plunging my hands in its womb and thus understanding its mechanism enabled me to deconsecrate and tame it. I am interested in the piano as an object and in what it can become if I keep only a part of it, if I put it upside down… My work is generally not fueled by a formal desire or a premeditated sound but very often by a physical motion. The body and movement as triggering elements of the sound are at the heart of my artistic approach.

Alvise’s research chooses as a starting point the musician’s gesture, the concrete movement of a body linked to the action of playing an instrument. This motion is at the centre of his choreographical work. By enhancing, diverting and displacing it, he works on the movement as a generator of sound and vice versa. In some cases, the motion is not linked to a sound, yet it always recalls the action of playing.

He develops his works about the phrasing of the moving body, reusing principles he generally applies in music. Alvise analyses the gesture, be it musical or physical or both at the same time, by decomposing it in three parts: anacrusis, accent, inflexion. This research that he is particularly engaged in, enables him to tackle the notions of musical body and phrasal body in his creations as well as in his work of transmitting what he does.

During his year as a fellow at the Villa Medici, between September 2016 and August 2017, Alvise was able to deepen his research and explore different kinds of material that he wants to develop for his future creations.

The origin of the title of the piece Ersilia comes from the name of a city in Italo Calvino’s Le Città invisibili (Invisible Cities).

The city is a very important source of inspiration for this creation. The notions of traces, memory and architecture have nourished the dramaturgy and scenography of the piece.

“….in Ersilia, in order to establish relationships that govern the life of the city, its inhabitants stretch threads

between the angles of their houses, white, or black, or grey, or white and black, according to the nature of the

relationship, be it family, exchange, authority or delegation relationships. At some point, there are so many threads that no one can pass through them anymore. That is when the inhabitants decide to leave: the houses are dismantled, and only the threads and links remain there.”


“The starting point of Ersilia is its instrumental device, which implies contemporaneously a work on acoustics, scenography and choreography.

I dismantled dying pianos, keeping only the harmony tables, that is their viscera, their organs. These frame-corpses then became pure resonant bodies. While the strings, attached to one another by nylon threads, can not produce any sound by themselves, the vibration of one of them makes unfailingly vibrate the sister string of another instrument placed several meters away.

Evolving within this space the architecture of which is composed by perspectives and intermediate areas, I move

along these threads. When I rub, pinch and touch them, they communicate their vibrations to the strings, then to the frames, and put the harmony tables into resonance.

Just as my previous creations, the scope of this device is to find new ways of linking movement and sound. I am searching how engaging the entire body can produce music and how this action produces motion in return: the interdependancy between motion and sound specific to any instrumental practice reaches its paroxysm here. My works consists of an amplification of this relationship, in other words: the body becoming a living bow.”


Ersilia is a solo piece that exists under two different forms:

Ersilia - site specific performance

No required stage space: the set up adapts to the space (2 to 5 piano frames)

Duration: about 20 min

Possibility of performing it several times a day


Ersilia - scenic form

Ideal stage space: 12m/12m

Duration: about 60 min

The audience is placed on stage, around the set up.

PREMIERE Co-production

06.11.18 - 07.11.18

Théâtre Vanves

supported/organized by 4Culture