We evolve
from wombs to rooms
we revolve around, a space
within space where we whisper
tender tales into tight twists
in curt corners crammed
with comfort and chaos,
this shifting space whose sides
echo with movements that time
has noted but pain
has not yet processed…

Fragility unfolds
throughout space;
my space, your space, the space
that used to be our space, their space,
space now displaced, washed down
with whispers that were once wishes,
that was once laughter, light and liquid,
liquid days when you drowned
in the other’s desires that drove
toward lust, that dove toward love,
that fell, thereafter, toward tired
and toxic; tender turns
toward twisted,
tick tock.

Tick tock.
How time tolls
over hold. Hands
hold and time turns and then
time folds and hands turn
taunt through this place,
this space, once our space,
their place, now displaced, this room,
once loved, now rarely reserved.

We lay, we lie, we fall, we fight
until we leave a weight
behind us in our flight.

Whispers of loves now lost
rattle in a past still present,
not yet processed, pain permeating
into pattern, tissues soak
up solitude, torn tissue, twisting
and turning like the hands
of time as we try to find ourselves
again, trying to become a whole
within the hole, trying to clutch
hope again, however hopeless
it is to hold hope
within the hole
that houses us.

We connect and come loose,
we break (each other often,
accidentally on purpose)
and feel the noose pull tighter,
pull us further from the other.

Left are we with lines drawn
by love’s touch, like trees are we;
after each struggle more circles,
after each encounter more lies lines
spiralling us further from thoughts
thought to be central. I am anger.
You are sadness. We are over.
They are done. Who is sorry?
Is it important anymore?

We are whispers whispered
in rooms disjointed, reflections
cracking under the hunger
and heartbreak, the love and loss.

We are music in the making
until the melody meanders off,
until the cords are cut, until
the harmony is too harsh to hold.

We fall, we let go, we fall, we let go…

we continue, we are a continuum
of connection and confusion,
curious concern and self obsession.

We are whispers of the noises
and nooses we navigate in
and under, over and through.

We are particles of passion
and pain that penetrate the self,

that identify us, that mark us,
that make us who we are.

Particles so primal that we would perish
if they ever departed from our persona.

And so we persist, are persistent.

And so we beat on,
beat bruises onto our own flesh.

Beat on. Beat. Beat.

We are nothing if not beasts
with breasts bare;

beating to be broken.

All words and sketches by Damien B. Donnelly. Inspiration by Giulio D’Anna.

So, where did this poem come from:

Last Monday night, here in this city of light and shadow, I was one of the fortunate spectators at Espace Pierre Cardin, Theatre de la Ville (a single movement away from an unusually still place de la Concorde) to witness choreographer Giulio D’Anna’s post-modern dance theatre entitled OOOOOOOO. It was bare, bold and breathtaking and, with Giulio; it always is. I can call him Giulio because I knew him when that was his name. Now he is Giulio D’Anna, visionary! Quotation mark intended.

Giulio, originally an Italian student of ballet (and medicine), found favour with contemporary dance in Florence, studying with Simona Bucci, before moving to Amsterdam to study at SNDO (School for New Dance Development) and his career has not stopped since he graduated, although some of us were lucky enough to see it taking off even beforehand!
Now an award winning choreographer, he is paving this occasionally unsettling but always intriguing journey through what he calls the dramatic body. Parkin’son is possibly one of the most moving pieces of dance theatre I have ever witnessed. The truth and emotional strings that carried each movement of the duo onstage was that said duo was Giulio and his actual father who is actually living with Parkinson’s himself. A moment of blood and bone, father and son, battles and bonds, youth and all that comes after.

This piece on Monday night, was inspired by a visit Giulio made to the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb (and I though that’s were I lived, poetically at least!). A piano on a bare stage in shadow and light gradually fills with 8 characters whose loves and losses unfold through the physically and emotionally charged 1 hour and 10 minutes. We are introduced to them by a collection of truths appearing on a screen at the back of the stage; a collective CV; where they came from, what they believe in, how they love, who they love, how they have broken and if they still hold hope. At the same time as being unnerving, unsettling and uncomfortable, it is engaging, enthralling, stirring, thoughtful, compassionate and, just at the right moment, hilariously funny. D’Anna’s ensemble opens us, the viewer, to our own feelings of how we hurt, who we hurt and asks us the question to which there is no truthful answer; what we would be without that beating heart that trembles and terrifies within each one of us. What if we didn’t beat?

There is beauty and colour in the Museum of Broken Relationship, shades of light and laughter putting a pattern onto pain. In this piece too, on Monday night in the city of shadow and light, beauty resonated in all its rawness. I was already writing in my head on the metro home.

His website is simply http://www.giuliodanna.com but this choreographer, creator, questioner, philosopher, dancer, carer, and friend, is far from simple. You can find him online, on YouTube and certainly, one day soon, in your local theatre. Book early!

OOOOOOOO will have its final performance on the 29th May 2017 at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb. A fitting completion of a circle for a piece of post modern contemporary dance/comedy musical whose inventor is only just beginning.

Watch the trailer for OOOOOOOO here: https://vimeo.com/76032170

Audio version available on Soundcloud:




    • And so was the dance piece! I forgot to breath at times. It’s interesting with time how we travel through it, back and forth and all it’s folding, to be in one moment and then a memory unfolds and we slip through time, back to laughter, back to hurt, forward to hope. Big hugs

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