Elena Martino - dancer in Rivers of Europe Project: "The power of this kind of projects is the interwining of arts."

 elena martino1        

The project “Rivers of Europe” is being completed by cultural organizations from 8 different European countries. It is financed by Culture Program 2007 – 2013 of the European Commission. The project includes the creation of a multi-genre performance in the field of contemporary dance, visual arts and music that explores the role of the European rivers in the cultural and historical development of the Old continent.

Derida Dance Center is the project partner responsible for the production of the contemporary dance part of the performance that will be presented on a ship and on dry land in 31 European cities, 11 countries in August and September 2014.

Elena Martino was born in Torino, Italy. She is currently working as a dancer and a choreographer in Cologne, Germany where studied contemporary dance in the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz. In 2013 she took part in a collaboration between circus and theater artists, called “ Der Weiße Knopf” to make a new kind of art that uses places as an inspiration to create a performance.


 elena martino

How is the work with Jivko Jeliazkov?
For now it’s very interesting to work with Jivko as we discover new ways to move. I’m coming from a release type of technique and he uses quicker movements and more power. So sometimes I’m struggling but it is good to change our habits. Also I have to improve my isolation skills. It’s helpful because I am learning how to use my body in more physically way.

How does it feel to be chosen for such a project after five auditions?
At the beginning when I understood that this is the fourth audition I thought that I would never get it. I decided I’ll just enjoy the workshop and learn something new. But when I got the confirmation I was very surprised and also very happy to be part in this project.

Are you happy to work with the musicians?
At the beginning of the project we were working in Novi Sad only by ourselves (the dancers). Then I felt the need to work also with the musicians and as soon as we got together I felt how much power we have together. It was a non-stopping creative process. In the beginning when we thought that we would be only dancers in Sofia I was sad because the creative process would be separated. Now I’m content to be together with them, because I think the power of this kind of projects is the intertwining of arts. We are taking and giving energy to each other – it’s a continuing sharing and that’s how the project grows. A great experience was the first time we were in Novi Sad, where we had with Tic Tac, one of the musician  and beat-boxer, a street performance on the street. The dancer enjoyed the performance and we had a lot of fun and we felt already  how powerful is to work together and to share our arts. It was really inspiring.

How do you perceive the notion of the river as a mediator between cultures?
After my travel to Brazil, where I lived in a small village close to a river, I start to have a strong connection with the rivers in nature, so for me the river is a symbol. The symbol of the river is water moving in one direction, water with energy, which is also traveling to reach something.
In Cologne, where I live, there is the Rhine, a big and powerful river. During daily or nightly time I spent a lot of time close to the water. It is actually a meeting point for everyone. People are sitting there, do some grill, playing music, enjoy the nature and to be in open air. The river is giving a lot of energy to the city. Water is also diving two pieces of land, but bridges unite it. It is actually a natural borderline in the city, which connect and divide. 

How is the work going so far?
The work is going very well. We are learning to work together, to find our role in this work.  We are four individuals and each of us has their own qualities and bodies languages. This gives a special touch to the dance piece. Actually our different personalities, they can be compared to for regions or lands, or even people who are starting to connect together and to share resources. Sometime the sharing is giving tension, sometimes the sharing is connecting.

What is the biggest challenge for you?
The biggest challenge for me is to use my body with new movement quality and to let my body reach new level of body language. I used to work with my own improvisation skill and to use them inside the choreography. The Jivko's work starts from different approach to create movement, unusual for me but also interesting to push my body to learn something new.

How is the project useful for you?
I am really enjoying to share so much experience and movements. Thanks to this project there are so many people and places that I would get to know. Europe becomes one land for me. You know the names of the different countries but when you never saw them, they stay abstract and incomprehensible. Suddenly everything becomes so clear and there isn’t much of a difference apart from sharing a cultural ground.

How do you find Sofia?
Living in Sofia is big experience for me, learning to share everything, respect the space of the other – here and on the boat. This way we are going to get closer and closer. At the beginning it was hard for me in Sofia with the language, but now I can live here. The way of saying “yes” and “no” is always new. It was a bit of cultural shock in the start. It is hard to find the balance between working, living and being a tourist. Sofia is a beautiful city.

Interview by Tzvetina Vesslinova


More about the Rivers of Europe Project you can find at http://www.riversofeurope.org/

The project is  supported by the "Culture 2007-2013" program of the European Comission.



 The project is co-financed by the “Culture” Program of Sofia Municipality for 2014 and is being realized in support of the candidature of Sofia and the Southwest Region for European Capital of Culture 2019.

sofia2019 logo eng rgb