Celebrate the Winter Solstice

by Press Release | Nov 27, 2006
Celebrate the Winter Solstice The Southern Italian folk music and dance company, I Giullari di Piazza, led by Alessandra Belloni, will celebrate the Winter Solstice - the darkest night of the year - with a wild presentation of "Spider Dance," a blend of ancient melodies, instrumentation, and dance exorcisms with modern electronic dance beats. The unique presentation also includes audience participation (for those so inclined!), Sunday December 17, 5pm, at First Presbyterian Church in Edgewater.

Famed percussionist and singer Alessandra Belloni and her company I Giullari di Piazza (The Players of the Square) are delighted to have been invited by Reverend Wanda Lundi to be in residence at the Church, where they will also offer classes and performances of Southern Italian music and dance. The company was in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC for 15 years, and before that at the Center for Italian Studies at New York University. Ms. Belloni, called "a force of nature" by the Village Voice, also tours throughout the world with her healing drumming/dance workshop called "Rhythm is the Cure." This performance of "Spider Dance" marks the inauguration of the Company's exciting new residency.

More About Spider Dance:
The passionate ecstatic dance known as the Tarantella was originally performed on both the summer and winter solstice. Dancers, dressed as witches and devils, gathered around the famous tree, known as Benevento, to celebrate the darkest night with a musical exorcism to expel the evil spirits and welcome the rebirth of the bright light for the coming year.

This form of ecstatic dance originated in ancient Greece as a rite of devotion ot the god Dionysus (god of ecstasy and wine). The participating women were called Baccanti, and later in Italy, Tarantati. They danced in a wild frenzy to free themselves of evil spirits and of repressed sexual desires. By jumping like spiders, lying on their backs, spinning and stomping their feet to fast 12/8 beat, the dancers symbolically expelled the poison from the imaginary spider bite and thereby released themselves from their fears and repression.

Alessandra Belloni, vocals and tambourines
Joe Deninzon, violin
Wilson Montuori, guitar
Vincent Sciala, drums
Mark Mindek, stilt walker
Carol Knopf, aerial dancer
dancers: Nicola Jervasi, Jennifer Neil, Francesca Silvano, Jennifer Bowen

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Author: Press Release


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