"White, Black, Red. Three colors, three moods, a tripartite flow of changing relations between moving bodies and installations that crystallize beauty. Still images that stand out on stage, space pierced by harmonies where swollen asymmetrical pulse quivers under the skin. Primo Toccare...an Italian project of unquestionable breath...a research on body and art that Levaggi and Corpicrudi have fed indipendently, but strongly in coincidence...ambiguity between the sacred and the profane, where death and beauty reign powerfully."
Seductive twist of bodies in an evanescent scene, Francesca Pedroni, ll Manifesto, July 25, 2010
“It is a rare choreographer who makes you feel you are not waiting for anything to happen, because it already is happening – every moment "a visible action of life", as Merce Cunningham once put it. For PRIMO TOCCARE (First Touch) he hedges his bets, allowing himself and his collaborators to stuff the dance with accessory meanings. Art-fashion team Corpicrudi lays the vanitas on thick with a coffin-shaped vitrine that displays first a skull and lilies, then two motionless models standing while staring blankly out at us. The sound score denatures the heavy breathing of lovemaking so it turns into white noise; on the other hand, it blasts churchy organ...Levaggi demonstrates an unerring sense of how long to sustain a pattern or gesture before intervening with another. He knows when to narrow our focus to a single dancer and when eclectic clusters would excite; when to assemble a still line of bodies down the centre and when to have them flicker along the margins.”
Balletto Teatro di Torino, Joyce Theater, New York... sublime gentleness... 4-star review, Apollinaire Scherr, Financial Times, October 14, 2009
“(Act I - White) As the dancers move in and out of time with each other, we are offered visions of a seductive dystopia: a future in which we exist, but don’t live, don’t feel...The jumps and turns that typically indicate joy are exchanged for the detached anti-drama of Cunningham...(Act II - Black) Their movements are now more decadent, voluptuous; their touch softens, lingering on each others’ bodies, no longer just the palm of a hard hand, but the entire length of the tender inner arm....Italian artists Corpicrudi use installation to structure the performance space not only within the context of art history, but within that institution that has funded so much of art history, particularly Italian art history: the Catholic church. Subtly, we are confronted by the aesthetic of that religion. In Act II, the models stand as if at a communion rail, placing the dancers before them in the space of the clergy, and the audience in the space of the crucifix, the representation of God. In Act I, the vitrine showcasing Vanitas, the skull and lilies as symbols of our mortality and vain folly, is an altar, which structures the theatre in the same way...Rarely does a piece manage to offer concept without sacrificing movement, or vice-versa. PRIMO TOCCARE investigates aesthetics as coyly as it investigates the human form, without getting caught in a conceptualist ouroborus that stymies generous movement. Here, through collaboration, Levaggi is able to focus on generating deeply physical explorations of the body, while corpicrudi’s installation provides a frame of reference, embedding that body in an aesthetic history.”
High Concept; Deep Impact: Balletto Teatro Di Torino's Primo Toccare, Dalia Ratnikas, The Brooklyn Rail, November 2009
"Primo toccare, the title of the new ballet by Matteo Levaggi....is a dance quite purified, in white costumes, eager for space in a garden of light behind a glass sarcophagus showing inside a silver skull and candid lilies. This essential decor is conceived by corpicrudi - i.e. raw bodies - the name chosen by artists Samantha Stella and Sergio Frazzingaro, in order to leave full transparency to the movement bursting on stage.... Clearly Levaggi loves to work on the formal side of dance in a post-classic aestethics, looking for every new way of stressing arms and limbs while making waist sway in a soft-sexy taste and asking the dancers to "eat" the air surrounding them in order to communicate the emotion of every single frame of touching piece, for bodies and souls."
Primo Toccare, Elisa Guzzo Vaccarino, BalletTanz Magazine, October 2008
"In a futuristic scene that leads us far from the real reminding of some elements from the art of the past ..... Space, as the light, is milky, white on white .... In the central box there are a few items, a silver skull and some cut flowers: a vital image that is reminiscent of the Seventeenth century Vanitas paintings. Two models will enter in the other two boxes keeping themselves frozen, similar to the women of Vanessa Beecroft...... The amazing dancers of the Balletto Teatro di Torino are eight well alerted to dance in the space of torsions and stretching conceived by Levaggi. A set of muscle contractions in which the focus of the mouvement bounces from one point to the other of the body, strong legs which refer to a solid academic technique vigorously shaked in a post-modern language....The deliberately painted beauty of the vision also has a voice in the composition which is set out with a sort of indifference to the frozen and, at the same time, vigorous relations between the bodies."
Primo Toccare, Bodies Dancing On Tip Of Gender, Francesca Pedroni, Il Manifesto, March 8, 2009
“The Biennial of Lyon (600 artists, 54 pieces, 85 thousands spectators in 25 days to tell about today’s and tomorrow’s contemporary dance. The theme is “Past forward”) invites Matteo Levaggi, the only Italian young choreographer with the Balletto Teatro di Torino…In this way Primo Toccare is created, its theme is the -fleeting of the aesthetic gesture-. It is necessary to leave aside declarations of intents and follow the hypnotic flow of a type of dance which flows on a musical carpet that approaches Autechre, Mika Vainio to Ligeti. In a bare décor (corpicrudi) the whiteness of the costumes, the cold and beautiful lights (by Marco Policastro) emerge and cover the environment....A dance gets under way, a dance made of drives and shakes that flow through the body of dancers….”
The Biennal Of Lyon Crowns Levaggi, The Hypnotic Choreographer From Turin, Sergio Trombetta, La Stampa, September 21, 2008
“In the last and best piece of the young artist from Piedmont, space, light designs projected on the stage, varied music, simplicity and good taste of pure leotards, worn by the dancer, create a mental and physical place where three museum windows crown”. “In Primo Toccare the music sinks in a techno sound or loud vibrations which can disturb, however constant to the violent monochrome where everything “is held”.
Warm Obsession of a Tactile Dance”, Marinella Guatterini, Il Sole 24 Ore, September 21, 2008
Petrushka 2008 “Moving from a post-classical shape of bodies, Levaggi designs a fluent game of beautiful forms, taking energy for each step and each impulse only from the music, which dictates to him a stop and go treatment between aerial portés, with original points of support, and elegant work on the ground”.
Elisa Guzzo Vaccarino, BalletTanz
"Working with the essential components of dance time, space, weight, dynamic and with their multiple relations, MatteoLevaggi follows the course of those choreographers, little numerous, who believe that pure movement is the first matter of reflection."
Sonia Schoonejans, Ballet 2000
"The choreographer of the Balletto Teatro di Torino directed by Loredana Furno, has experiences with Aterballetto. He differs from the other Italian colleagues for a specific interest towards figurative arts: he dealt with Caravaggio, Andy Warhol, he chose music of living authors as Giovanni Sollima for "Caravaggio" Levaggi has shaker our ballet world which finds difficulties in setting free from cumbersome teachers, even if genial: just think about the orphans of Carolyn Carlson and Pina Bausch. In the specific case we are talking about talking bodies , strong relationships in space, light, and time: many times Levaggi declared not to be interested in the traditional narration, he loves sensations that can come to facts, people, art objects and sounding recalls.
Mario Pasi, Corriere delle Sera
Canto bianco in un momento di orizzonte verticale - Biennale di Venezia 2006 "...the Balletto Teatro di Torino already appears mature directed by Matteo Levaggi, in Canto bianco in un momento di orizzonte verticale. Pure dance piece, capable of breaking its energetic fullness with duets and solos that create poetic contrasts for the eleven performers (including the choreographer). An excellent production which honours Italian choices."
Marinella Guatterini, Il Sole 24Ore