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Fabbricatore, Arianna. "Semiotics Elements of the "Italian" Grotesque Practice."

Fabbricatore, Arianna. "Semiotics Elements of the "Italian" Grotesque Practice." In Tanz in Italien, italienischer Tanz in Europa 1400-1900. Für Barbara Sparti (1932-2013). 4. Symposion für Historischen Tanz Burg Rothenfels am Main, 25.-29. Mai 2016. Tagungsband, edited by Uwe Schlottermüller, Howard Weiner and Maria Richter, 57-74. Freiburg: "fa-gisis" Musik- und Tanzedition, 2016.

Throughout the eighteenth century, Europe saw a progressive identification among the words "grotesque", "virtuosity", "comic", "Italian", which directly associates, downgrading, the grotesque style and Italy. In his Letters on Dancing (1760), Jean-Georges Noverre is careful to distance his own practice of pantomime from that of the Italians; simultaneously, it links the Italian practice with a reference model: the Italian actor Antonio Rinaldi Fossano. The dancer and choreographer Gasparo Angiolini and the librettist Ranieri Calzabigi, both active at the court of Vienna, claim the belonging of the grotesque dance to Italy in order to keep them aside, while Louis Cahusac urges the French to transfer to the noble register, what it is "beyond the mountains, to the bottom." [Louis de Cahusac, La Danse ancienne et moderne ou Traité historique de la danse, (La Haye, chez Jean Neaulme, 1754), éd. Nathalie Lecomte, Laura Naudeix, Jean-Noël Laurenti, Paris, Desjonquères CND, 2004, p. 230]. The association of the "grotesque" style and Italy and its negative connotation seem to be the result of a series of concomitant factors related also to the actors all'improvviso and of the Commedia dell'arte. My work has the objective to look into the reality of the Italian comic dance: in particular it should define what a "grotesque" dancer in opposition to the serious style illustrated by the French, and to emphasize the factors and challenges of this negative connotation for the Italians. From the study of the Letters to Mr. Noverre de Gasparo Angiolini (1773) and Trattato teorico Prattico del ballo de Gennaro Magri (1779), it will show how the Italian comic practice evolves throughout the eighteenth century, in a social and cultural space whose issues are related to the confrontation between nations and the definition of their identity. This work is based on the research conducted as part of my doctoral thesis in Italian Studies (supported at Paris-Sorbonne) on "Quarrel of Pantomimes" and its multiple challenges (social, cultural, aesthetic and poetic). it is also based on a research project applied to Gennaro Magri, presented to the CND which aims to reading, commentary and interpretation of the steps described in his treaty.

Year of publication: 2016

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