Many images by Herbert List show the authors taste for the theatrical. His preference for dramatic light, symbolic placements of objects and careful observation of people create compositions with seductive sensuality. These enigmatic earlier works of 1930s inspired Choreographer Damiano Artale to envision a dance performance celebrating these photographs.

Together with producer Camilla Colella of the Alamia Dance Project Artale created ‘Esprit List’- a myriad play of reflections and exchanges between music, dance and images. “For Esprit List we wanted to have a constant dialogue among images, music and the dancers on stage. These three elements are inseparable and constitute the backbone of our creation. The music created by Octavio de la Roza acts as a narrator; his instruments generating the thrust that makes the images dance.”

Colella recalls, “When Damiano Artale showed me Herbert List’s pictures, I wondered immediately why a choreographer hadn’t been earlier inspired by this unique artist’s sensual and dreamlike universe: a still atmosphere of time frozen in an infinite moment. Photographers are often labeled as thieves, stealing for themselves a part of the subject’s soul with their pictures… We asked ourselves what we could do with this stolen treasure and decided, in total freedom, to turn it into a show.

List who himself was very fond of the performing arts, photographed many dancers and choreographers in his lifetime and even played a choreographer in the short film “Die Pause” of 1952, would certainly see a dialogue of his photos with modern dance with much enthusiasm. After a catastrophic year as 2020 for the performing arts and independent artist especially, the Herbert List Estate applauds the verve, vision and courage of the Almamia Dance Project to premier their production in Lausanne this month.


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