The work of the Italian choreographer Mauro de Candia (Barletta, 1981) is marked by a completely individual style. His choreographies often contain dynamic group sections, but these are almost always alternated by serene and poetic fragments. Music and dance form an inseparable duo for De Candia.
Sometimes his choices of music are truly startling: in Purple Fools – receiving its Dutch premiere at Introdans Ensemble for Youth during the 2013/2014 season – he effortlessly combines a Mozart aria, an over-familiar tango and a languid pop song. But De Candia can allow himself such risks, because thanks to his great musicality even the strangest music collages sound completely logical in his work.
De Candia started dancing when he was still young. At the age of ten he was discovered at a ballet competition in Verona by Marika Besobrasova, the founder and director of the famous Académie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace in Monaco. She offered him a scholarship and from that time on De Candia took lessons every summer in Monte Carlo. Following brief periods at the school of the ballet company of La Scala in Milan and the Rudra School of Maurice Béjart in Lausanne, De Candia completed his dance studies at the academy in Monaco in 1998. On graduating he received a John Gilpin Scholarship from the hands of the Monegasque princess Antoinette (the sister of Prince Rainier). In 2001 De Candia joined the Ballett der Staatsoper Hannover as a dancer, where the artistic director Stephan Toss appointed him as soloist after just four months.
In 2003 De Candia became the regular guest choreographer of the company in Hannover and then started building an international career as a freelance choreographer. He created works for companies such as Royal Ballet Flanders, TanzTheater Braunschweig, the Italian MaggioDanza, the American Milwaukee Ballet, Augsburg Ballet, the Staatsballett Berlin, the Polish Ballet Opera Nova Bydgoszcz and the Italian Arena di Verona. Since 2012 De Candia has been the artistic director of the dance company of Theater Osnabrück in Germany.
But even though he continues to reside abroad, De Candia still feels a strong bond with his country of birth. In 1997 in his hometown Barletta he set up the non-profit organisation Arte&BallettO – his life work, as he himself says. This organisation works to support dance education and to promote and further popularise dance in Italy. De Candia has received various awards for his achievements, including the Premio Positano per la Danza, the Premio Giuliana Penzi per la Danza and, in 2009, a silver medal from Italian state, presented by President Giorgio Napolitano.