International Conference 
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

December 17 - 21, 2015


Ballet in The Intimate, Interactive Performance Space

Interactive talk/lecture/discussion with live dance performance by Thomas Vacanti - dancer, choreographer, Assistant Professor in Dance at UMass Amherst (USA)

Thomas Vacanti (BS in Dance, Skidmore College ‘02. MFA in Dance, Smith College ’04) is Assistant Professor in Dance at UMass Amherst. During his professional dancing career he toured extensively throughout the United States, Central America and Russia performing contemporary and classic repertory. He danced professionally with The Florida Ballet, Tampa Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Mississippi, Ballet Michigan and Ballet de Panama. He was one of ten dancers chosen nationally, by the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow, to represent the USA in their Russian/American Exchange Program. He worked with internationally renowned choreographers and teachers while performing extensively throughout Russia. Thomas is also Co-Artistic Director of the Pioneer Valley Ballet in Northampton, Massachusetts and his own touring repertory company Vacanti Ballets. As a choreographer, Tom has presented works at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, the North Carolina and Massachusetts Dance Festivals, the Youth American Grand Prix in NYC, and the Peridance APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) Showcase in NYC. Tom has also set work on the Pioneer Valley Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, North Atlantic Ballet, City Ballet in Raleigh NC, and most recently at Harvard University for the Harvard Ballet Company. In 2012, Tom received one of UMass Amherst’s highest honors, The Distinguished Teaching Award.


Classical ballet began to assume its current form in the Renaissance. The first ballet performances were not presented on the proscenium stage, but were performed in public spaces. 
One of ballet’s originators, Catherine De Medici, held spectacular dance performances in ballrooms and gardens. The dancers and performers were observed from around the room. 
It was only later, in the time of Louis XIV, that the performers were placed on the proscenium stage and ballet developed as a more two-dimensional viewing experience. As such, the
ballet technique adapted and “flattened” to be observed from one vantage point. 

The purpose of this lecture is to re-­introduce the ballet dancer to the three-­dimensional performance space, which creates a more intimate experience between viewer and performer. The
change in venue necessitates that the ballet technique adapt to be viewed from many vantage points. Through live performance and discussion, the audience discovers the unique ways 
the ballet technique can be re-imagined and the unlimited choreographic potential of ballet performed in the intimate, interactive performance space.

This interactive lecture will consist of a brief introduction about Renaissance and Baroque dance, a lecture demonstration with dancers, a live 12-­minute performance, and finishing with
an audience discussion.    

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"