Most fusion works to me look like con-fusion - Adriana Di Cillo

Adriana Di Cillo (Drix) is a Spanish/Brazilian director, choreographer, dramatist, coach, dancer and actor with vast international experience. Her artistic education started at the age of four and has included along a lifetime of dedication, western classical ballet, modern and contemporary dance, acting, Spanish flamenco, Latin-american dances, such as Brazilian samba, lambada, salsa, and Argentinean tango, martial arts, Indian classical dances (Bharatanatyam and Kathak) and Film directing. For the last 18 years Adriana has ventured through the routes which trace back the eastern origins of flamenco art, having worked and researched extensively in 4 of the 5 continents: Americas, Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Adriana has performed in very auspicious stages such as The House of Blues, Luna Park and Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Music Academy of Madras and the Sangeet Natak Academy of Lucknow in India. She has coached, choreographed and performed for several dance companies as well as various social projects worldwide. Adriana Di Cillo is the President and General Director of the Mundaka Arte & Cultura Org, a cross-culture NGO that promotes the interaction and exchange between different artistic manifestations.

Please tell us about your association with dancing. How did you develop an interest towards it?

I believe as Ana Pavlova says: "I danced from the moment I could stand", but started learning dance formally at the age of four. I asked my mother to take me to a ballet school and thanks God she heard me.  Actually I am forever thankful to her, who as a doctor had a clear understanding on the essential place of arts and sports in the building of a child's personality. Along the years, as I became more and more involved and dance became my path in life, the very meaning of my existence, she also continued to support me.

How did your tryst with India happen? Based on your experience, do you think that it is more difficult for a Non-Indian to learn Indian classical dance?

India to me has been from my teenage hood a homelike culture where i found such deep identification, from the arts, the food, the arquetypes, the dress codes, the myths, to the languages.. it all seem so familiar to me...  I normally say that I have European decadency and Indian ascendency.

Now dance is a language spoken throughout the world by its uncountable dialects. Learning any foreign dance demands a deep understanding on its regional cultural lexicon.  So in that way, it is not easy for a foreigner to learn Indian classical forms because we first must become familiar with the way of life of this or that community, be exposed to their daily chronicles, learn about their history and their mythological arquetypes. So, only after that one can cognize such complex and layered syllabus, and that is actually when steps will have meaning. 

In another hand I have experienced quite a few times that in this globalized world, sometimes a fresh eye can reveal aspects of a particular tradition that have long been hidden by the so many turns mankind takes on writing its own history. Like Ragini Devi for example, an American dancer who came to India in the late twenties, to some extent rediscover the greatness of Kathakali.  Even myself have come across situations here in modern India, where I struggled  to remind some art partners, both dancers and musicians, that if we are going to count on the clock the amount of money we make for our creative proccess, better to start looking for a an office 7to5 kind of job.

Nevertheless, by the grace of God I have had wonderful Gurus here who have given me genuine reference and the proper guidance towards my own research on Indian classical dance and its original sacred forms.

We're seeing considerable fusion being applied to traditional dance forms now — what are your views on this trend?

Most fusion works to me look like con-fusion

Not because I don’t believe that different styles or art forms couldn’t or shouldn’t communicate. But because things take time. If I want to interact with an Indian person in Hindi, I must learn some Hindi. Same thing the other way around. That takes time. The thing is that most con-fusionists are moved by immediatistic commercial trends, influenced by the never satisfying consumerism, from where mostly noisy non-sense art products are being produced all over the globe.

Fusion is unavoidable in today's world; it actually represents a big chunk of the world's voice in our present time. But again, communication is about talking and listening, it’s about learning, where taking is also a form of giving.

Many of the maestros have a spiritual approach towards their music/dancing. Do you believe music/dancing connects with a higher being?

I have come to realize by the practice of the anga bhedas and abhinaya in general,  its profound power of self -sculpting oneself from both inside out and outside in,  and  of how the consciousness of gesture makes living a dance of its own.  In that way, as far as I am concerned Indian Classical Dances are a very complete form of yoga practice, as a path to Divine archetypical embodiment, raising the aesthetic experience to the level of spiritual contemplation.

Nonetheless I believe that the arts in general can bring one to such place of self-rapture, where the thin line between Creator and Creation vanishes, so that the artist disappears for the Art to be revealed.

What is your advice to budding artists and dance enthusiasts?

Well, quoting from Neitzsche: ”We should consider everyday lost in which we don't dance. " 

The life of an artist is a life of devotion, a life of offering and sacrifice, where through our sadhanas we bring ourselves in the face of mystery to realize the unimaginable power of the body to transcend its own physical limitations.  So let’s make it sacred, let’s keep it sacred, let’s make our dance studios as holy grounds, knowing that in that place for dance, we bring ourselves to a place of prayer, that more than anything else, it’s about offering...

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