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The Cagli Media Project
Institute for Education
in International Media
Andrew Ciofalo, Director

Story by Lauren Pappas

Tiny dancers float across a glazed golden stage. They move gracefully, each step perfectly synchronized, each motion fluid as if their bodies were born for dancing. They are as delicate as glass figurines. The spotlights shine on their porcelain skin, revealing their expressions of intent focus. The bodies move weightlessly from one end of the stage to another.

“Get out of sight; get in the wings!” The director yells furiously, echoes ringing through the theatre. Her voice is powerful. The ballerinas scurry to the wings, following her command. The director has great control of her dancers. The dancers have great respect for their director.

The Movimento e Fantasia dance company is rehearsing for its production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The dancers have been practicing for the past eight months. The performance lasts only one night so it must be flawless. There are 90 people in the production, ranging in age from 3 to 23 years old.

Benilde Marini, the director and founder of the dance school, believed Cagli was “lacking a rich life in dance” so in 1991 she opened her school. She currently has 140 dance students. None have the ambition to become professional dancers although “four or five could,” she says.

Her younger students attend classes two days a week for 90 minutes. Her older students practice every weekday for three hours. “It’s quite rigorous,” Marini says. Besides dance, she hopes to teach her students “passion for art…here we don’t just dance.”

In the wings of the stage the dancers crowd together. They watch their friends, nervously waiting for their turn to shine, dressed in satin pink slippers, tights white as snow and magenta pink leotards, their hair tightly wrapped in buns. They fidget as they wait for their scene, nervous giggles breaking the silence throughout the wings. This is their second-to-last rehearsal before the performance.

Linda Sarga, 7, has been dancing for two years. She has a minor role in the production. When asked if she was nervous, she replied, “No.”

The students perform at Teatro Comunale di Cagli, a lavishly decorated opera house built in the 1870s during the height of Italian opera.

During the dress rehearsal, proud mothers gather outside the theatre, waiting to buy tickets from the box office. They talk and laugh with one another. They all share one thing: their daughters love to dance.

“I’m very moved when I see them perform,” says Stefania Tofani of Acqualagna. Tofani is the mother of two girls, Maria Rosa, 6, and Margherita, 7. She gets particularly emotional because when she was younger, she danced. She remembers how nervous she was.

“Margherita was born for dance,” Tofani says. “It’s her passion and she’s particularly good at. Whenever there’s ballet or dance on TV she wants to watch it.”

Beatrice Marinelli, 11, has been dancing with the school for six years. Her mother, Doris Orlandi, says she gets emotional about her daughter’s performance but less than she did in the first years. Her daughter performs in a least one production a year.

The girls dance because it’s their passion, their love. They are not interested in money or fame.

Valentina Trufelli, 21, has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She studies language and business at University of Urbino. She acknowledges she’ll never be a professional dancer. When asked why she continues to dance, she says, “I love it.”

Video by Katrina Hickman
Photos by Reid Johnson
Web design by Stephanie Meros