In this interview with Oliva Contemporary Dance Project’s Michele Oliva and Francesca Dario, you can read Michele’s answers as Francesca’s thoughts, Francesca’s words as Michele’s sentiments. The two dancers and co-founders of OCDP have found a cadence of speech that jumps from one person to the next while never losing the flow of a sentence. Together for 10 years, since meeting and falling in love while dancing for an Italian version of ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ the pair buoy one another emotionally and artistically. There is a care evident between them that starts with translating for one another (throughout this interview, throughout their hectic and almost always English-language interactions) and ends in the dance studio, when they dance a phrase together to show the class how their movement should be done. Always, the class is stunned into wondering smiles, wondering how they can physically do what Michele and Francesca do (and with Francesca’s Complexions-influenced leg extensions and Michele’s super-fast isolations, students might not be able to do what they do). But the movement is transcended by the synchronicity and meshing of the two dancers, whose relationship extends beyond the verbal, beyond the mental, and becomes a blending of bodies, a deep understanding that only the two share.
Both from Italy, Michele and Francesca are passionate artists eager to bring their teaching practice and company OCDP, founded in 2004, to audiences' attention here in New York. Michele started dancing on the streets of Italy as a break-dancer; he was initially on a path to a career in soccer, and later had a successful stint as a DJ clubs. Francesca was classically trained from the age of 6. And yet. A fusion. Their newest work, @MozArt, will be performed in the APAP Conference at Peridance Capezio Center January 12 and 13. You can see the two weekly, when they teach their highly technical contemporary movement at Peridance.
The founders of OCDP sat down with me right before the holidays to talk about their upcoming APAP debut, their company, why they dance.
Peridance Capezio Center: How do you describe yourself?
Michele Oliva: As a dancer, dynamic, expressive with a lot of energy and a hard worker. As a choreographer, I try to experience, to grow. To give space to my dreams and work with my sensation, with the music and my heart.
Francesca Dario: I work hard everyday. I push my body and my mind 100%. I’m not lazy. I love this art and I have all of my life to it, but for me the important thing is that dance must make me feel happy and alive. It is not only a good technique or gymnastics. It is love, passion, art. This is how I feel like a dancer.
Read the rest of this interview on the Peridance blog