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Theater for the New City Presents TARANTELLA - SPIDER DANCE, Now thru 1/20

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Theater for the New City Presents TARANTELLA - SPIDER DANCE, Now thru 1/20

Theater for the New City will present 'TARANTELLA - SPIDER DANCE', tonight, January 18-20, 2013.

New York is bitten again by the Spider -- the mystical and sensual music/theater/dance spectacular about the history of the Tarantella, the Southern Italian myth of the bite of the tarantula, birth of the Spider Woman, and celebration of the wild ecstatic rites of Dyonisus.

The show runs tonight & Sat, January 18 & 19 at 8 PM; Sunday January 20 at 3 PM at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Streets). Tickets: $25
Reservations: 212.254-1109 or www.smarttix.com/show.aspx?showcode=TAR19. To view a portion of Tarantella - Spider Dance, click HERE.

Leading off the celebration of 2013 as the "Year of Italian Culture in America," Alessandra Belloni, international REMO artist and award-winning Southern Italian percussionist and singer, returns to Theater for the New City with her unique 16-member ensemble that includes musicians, vocalists, stilt dancer, aerial dancer, fire dancer, tarantella dancers drawn from the Martha Graham Dance Company, and guest percussionist Massimo Cusato of Calabria, in the exotic spectacle "Tarantella - Spider Dance," a sensual and mystical musical about the healing power of the Tarantella trance dance. A rich and fascinating trip into Southern Italian music, dance, history, and ancient legends.

Alessandra Belloni is known around the world as a superb percussionist specializing in Southern Italian music, dance and tradition. The Rome native has received many awards, including "Best Female Percussionist" from Drum Magazine, travels the world appearing as guest artist, performing solo concerts, and teaching workshops in ritual drumming, dance and healing. Belloni is a subject of a recent documentary by French filmmaker Manex Ibar, focusing on her gifts as a shaman/healer, and scheduled for release for PBS and the BBC.

"Tarantella - Spider Dance" - abuse, repressed sexuality, powerlessness, and the feeling of being "caught in a web that binds them" - causes many women, known as "tarantate" to suffer "tarantismo" - a lethal mixture of depression, loneliness, and oppression. Their cure is to dance the "pizzica tarantata"- The Spider Dance!

As in the film, we witness the healing journey of a "tarantata" as she is taken by Dionysus to the shaman (Alessandra Belloni), who cures her with the tarantella trance dance. Her amazing journey includes
** a powerful procession of the Black Madonna in Southern Italy
** a healing ceremony of the pizzica tarantata, the wild erotic trance dance, attended by townspeople in the
piazza. The authentic music is mainly percussion, with large tambourines playing non-stop to a 12/8 beat with
loud accents
** a celebration of the Feast of St. Rocco, where another dance form, "hip-hip," entices her and the viewers.

The show also relates the dual journeys of Athena and Arianna, who both suffer from tarantismo, transmitted from the bite of the spider Arachne. Athena's drumming induces a trance dance and reveals the age-old myth of Arachne and birth of the spider woman. Arianna gains insight of her own madness and suicidal mania and actively seeks a cure. The shaman's drumming and Dioniso's ecstatic dancing lead Arianna to New York and Brazil, where she encounters The Common threads of universal rhythms and traditional cures through music and dance. Arianna and Athena re-unite in a cross-cultural celebration of healing which allows her finally to truly love.

As with all of Belloni's presentations, the show is meticulously researched, with costumes and instrumentation as authentic as possible. The music ranges from traditional 6/8 southern Italian to 12/8 heavy-accented modern sounds, and includes tarantellas, sensual love songs, and women's work chants. Instrumentation is both traditional and modern. Traditional instruments include Renaissance folk guitar, mandolin, accordion, viella, frame drums, tambourines, frame drums and dumbeck. Electric violin and guitar, and techno beats have been added to the more modern music segments.

Featured in the cast are:

Alessandra Belloni - concept/direction, lead vocals, Southern Italian percussion, ritual dance
Guest percussionist: Massimo Cusato from Calabria, Italy
Joe Deninzon - music arranger/electric and acoustic violin
Anthony Anderson - fire dancer/acrobat/capoeira master as young Dionysus
Wilson Montuori - classical and acoustic guitar
Peter Abazia - drums/percussion
Susan Eberenz - flutes/piccolo/recorder
Giuseppe De Falco - Neapolitan singer
Mark Mindek - stilt dancer
Fran Sperling - aerial dancer
Sharon Li Vardo, dancer
Peter De Geronimo, acrobat/dancer
Lindsay Poulis, dancer
Michael Garret - dancer
Francesca Silvano - dancer
Caterina Rago - dancer
Greta Campo - dancer
Hillary Litwin - Oriental dancer

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