ICK Company dancer Denis Bruno, who is originally from Turin, Italy, has been with ICK for three years and has performed in numerous ICK- productions, like Blasphemy Rhapsody and We Want It All. For his accomplishments in these two productions, he has now received a Danza e Danza award being for one of the best Italian dancers working abroad. In this interview, you can get to know Denis beter and read about his experiences being a dancer.
Who is Denis Bruno, if not a dancer?
Denis Bruno, when he is not a dancer, is a quite relaxed person. I love being home, watching movies, drawing, playing the Playstation and having a rest, due to the hard work I and my fellow dancers do every day. I also very much value my alone time and love to spend time with myself, cooking, baking, going on walks, shopping, but also getting together and have drinks with my friends.
Why did you start dancing?
I actually started dancing by accident, the dance-school in my area was looking for boys. I was only nine years old and one of my friends went there. That friends mother talked to my mother about needing boys at the dance-school and we decided to sign me up. I fell in love with dance there. I actually left dancing for three years while I was a teenager, trying other sports like swimming and tennis, being a bit lost during that time. But I discovered that dancing was the perfect sport for me to express myself and my body. I needed a way express what I wanted to say, because when I was younger I was quite introverted. Dancing is a way for me to express and at the same time charge myself.
What does receiving this Danza e Danza Award mean to you?
This really feels, after all these years, like a thank you for all the sacrifices that I had to make, which is something that all dancers have to do. You have to put in the work and the hours and sacrifice time with your family and friends. Also having this be a recognition from my country specifically is very valuable to me. I barely had the opportunity to dance in Italy, because there is not a lot of room for contemporary dancers there, Italian dance-companies are mainly focused on classical dance. Because of this, I always had to go abroad to dance, to Spain, to France and currently now the Netherlands. To receive this recognition, even though I was not dancing in Italy is a big honor. I feel a lot of gratitude towards Pieter and Emio for all the knowledge that they transmitted to me, which was a huge contribution to me receiving this award.
You have performed Blasphemy Rhapsody in Italy. What are you experiences working on this piece?
Blasphemy really came on the right moment for me, because of the pandemic, but also due to the political debates about the Italian parliament blocking laws to protect the LGBT+ community. I really put that emotion into the performance. I really used Blasphemy to rebel against the things that I saw happening and didn’t agree with in my country.
We want it all is a journey through the repertoire of ICK, what attracted you most.
For me, the highlight is always the ending of every piece. The ending is always the climax, which I really love. To reach this explosion you have to really build up. And with We Want It All, we have to go above, go even further, because the ending is not the end. It is infinite. I liked discovering this ending that never ends. You always preserve some energy for the ending, but in this piece there kept being a new ending and I wondered to what point I could keep going until my body caved. I really appreciate the stamina required to stay on top of it in We Want It All.
How did you end up at ICK? What inspired you to audition?
I have always known Emio’s name, but was really curious to see who Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten really were and how they worked. When they were the directors of Ballet de Marseille, I seized the moment to go and audition. I really fell in love with the material, the way it felt when it entered my body. There is a huge amount of research that goes into in their work and it involves a lot of sensibility, vulnerability and energy which really resonates with me.
Who inspired you most in your career?
I would say: women. It is not a concrete person, but because I have always been surrounded with women in the dance-world, they really inspire me. Even now when I am at work, I feel like the women are stronger than the men. In my experience, I always found myself inspired by women.
As in life, who are your biggest inspirations?
I am constantly inspired by things that I see or get confronted by in life. It can be someone who is passing by, something that happens during my day, somebody with beautiful clothes, beautiful colors that I come across. I even get inspired by the sunset. I draw inspiration from everything around me in my everyday life.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge of being a dancer?
Probably the consistancy that you need to have as a dancer. Also, the devotion and respect that you have to have for your work, you need to thoroughly believe in what you are doing.