Born: 1997, Cuneo (Italy)
Dance education: Russian Ballet College, Genoa and EKO Dance International Project, Turin
Experience: Introdans since June 2018
Federico still can’t believe that he is a professional dancer at Introdans. Immediately after his audition he heard that he had been accepted. He literally jumped for joy, he was so happy. He felt like he was flying. “I’ve realised my dream.”
It had to be, said his mother when he told her that he was going to dance at Introdans. “You were destined,” was her first reaction. He laughs when he recounts how his mother often reminds him about the musical genes he carries. She graduated from a conservatory as a guitarist. And when she played guitar, she felt in her belly how he moved along to the rhythm. “Federico, you’ve been breathing rhythm since the very beginning.” If he’s feeling a little unsure of himself, he thinks about his mother’s saying. He’s proud of her.
He misses her, too. Their bond is molto forte, very strong. He has inherited his sense of music from his mother’s side: his mother received it in turn from her mother. Nonna is a singer and a local celebrity in Cuneo, the province where he grew up. His grandmother, his mother and he are thick as thieves. Federico’s eyes grow softer. La famiglia. It might be a classic Italian trait that family is ‘molto importante’ for him and for many of his compatriots, but that’s truly the way it is.
And then there’s his sister Andrea. Eighteen months younger and just as agile as he is. He dreamed up the choreographies for family get-togethers such as Christmas or Easter and they performed them together.
Without his little sister he might never have seen a dance school from the inside. She was taking ballet lessons and he went along too, as often as he could. The grace of the movements, the magical balance between body, arms and legs: he couldn’t get enough of it. He could hardly sit still at the edge of the room, until one day Andrea’s teacher asked him if he wanted to join in. But the idea of taking ballet lessons himself: oh no. His friends were already making fun of him because he was dancing everywhere. In Italy a lot of people don’t understand that boys like dance, too. But then at the age of ten he decided to try ballet lessons after all.
Things were tough to begin with. Other children bullied him, but he kept going. His love of dance was many times stronger than the stupid remarks made by the other kids in his class. “I’m a dancer. I’ve never betrayed myself by pretending to be different to the way I am.” That made him less vulnerable.
Federico had got the taste for it. While still at the local dance school in Cuneo he took part in dance competitions, and he always ended in the top three. During one competition he saw boys from the Russian Ballet College in Genoa. “The suppleness of their movements, their expressive power and technique: “I was just so impressed. I wanted to go study there.”
His mother found the school on the Internet. Federico took and passed the audition and at the age of thirtheen he moved to Genoa. But homesickness for his family literally caused him pain. He himself calls it ‘family pain’, a gnawing feeling that gradually lessened as time passed. Persevering and pushing forward were his medicine. The Russian Ballet College was a challenge that he knew he needed to meet if he was to grow as a dancer and as a person.
With the diploma in his pocket and his experience as a classical dancer, Federico then wanted to find his own dance voice. And he discovered the EKO Dance International Project in Turin. This project, run by Pompea Santoro, a well-known Italian dancer who among other things had worked together with choreographer Mats Ek (in Cullberg Ballet for many years) for some years, opened his eyes to new possibilities. “I fell in love with the combination of neoclassical ballet and contemporary dance.”
Federico moved to Turin and developed a completely new side of himself. It still surprises him that he found it so natural to combine his technique as a classical dancer with the contemporary techniques taught to him by Pompea. Lo adoro, he loves to explore new dance languages. “In ballet I feel that I cannot express myself because the movements are so strict and they don’t allow my individual personalities. I feel the need to gain new experiences, to develop my abilities further. And now I can do this as a professional dancer at Introdans, it’s fantastico. “